Acute oral toxicity test (honeybees)

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Term Acute oral toxicity test (honeybees)
Definition This toxicity test is a laboratory method, designed to assess the oral acute toxicity of plant protection products and other chemicals, to adult worker honeybees. In the assessment and evaluation of toxic characteristics of substances, determination of acute oral toxicity in honeybees may be required, e.g. when exposure of bees to a given chemical is likely. The acute oral toxicity test is carried out to determine the inherent toxicity of pesticides and other chemicals to bees. The results of this test should be used to define the need for further evaluation. In particular, this method can be used in stepwise programmes for evaluating the hazards of pesticides to bees, based on sequential progression from laboratory toxicity tests to semi-field and field experiments. Pesticides can be tested as active substances or as formulated products. A toxic standard should be used to verify the sensitivity of the bees and the precision of the test procedure.

Adult worker honeybees (Apis mellifera) are exposed to a range of doses of the test substance dispersed in sucrose solution. The bees are then fed the same diet, free of the test substance. Mortality is recorded daily during at least 48 h and compared with control values. If the mortality rate is increasing between 24 h and 48 h whilst control mortality remains at an accepted level, i.e.< 10 %, it is appropriate to extend the duration of the test to a maximum of 96 h. The results are analysed in order to calculate the LD50 at 24 h and 48 h and, in case the study is prolonged, at 72 h and 96 h.

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