Crop Biotech Update

Bt Toxin Has No Effects on Survival, Pollen Consumption, or Learning of Honey Bees

May 4, 2016

Scientists from Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) reported in Journal of Economic Entomology that Cry1Ie toxin has no effect on the survival, pollen consumption, and olfactory learning of honey bees, a non-target insect of Bt crops.

CAAS scientist Ping-Li Dai and colleagues conducted the study in controlled laboratory conditions wherein the worker bees were exposed to different concentrations of Cry1Ie toxin (20, 200, or 20,000 ng/ml). As positive control, some bees were exposed to a sublethal concentration of imidacloprid, an insect neurotoxin.

Results showed that Cry1Ie toxin carries no risk to survival, pollen consumption, or learning capabilities of young adult honey bees. On the other hand, honey bees exposed to imidacloprid exhibited changes in learning behavior as well as in pollen consumption compared with the Cry1Ie groups.

Read the research article in Journal of Economic Entomology.