Sublethal neonicotinoid exposure attenuates the effects of electromagnetic fields on honey bee flight and learning

" Ultimately ELF EMFs have been shown to impact honey bee learning, memory and flight, even when bees are treated with clothianidin, although the magnitude of the EMF effect is reduced. Clothianidin on the other hand had dramatic effects on honey bee behaviour and health, which are likely to cause large scale ecological damage. Clothianidin susceptibility may have a part to play in terms of this compound's interactions with ELF EMFs. If the impacts of ELF EMFs on important cognitive and locomotory behaviours in pollinators translate to field scenarios, then where the effects of neonicotinoids are reduced, ELF EMFs may become a greater factor as an environmental stressor of pollinators." {Credits 1}

This study finds that extremely low frequencies (50 Hz) from 100 µT affect bees in particular the speed at which they flap their wings and also some measured parameters of their learning ability (for the flapping speed test of At the minimum intensity used, and which is the one that already produces changes, is 100 µT).

It is curious because this other study [1] by the same authors, also published this month, finds frequency variations in the beating of wings in this case the desert lobster and, although they also use several higher intensities, it can be said that with the lower than the intensities used, 100 µT (as in the current experiment), the rate of flapping of the wings is already significantly modified.

It's actually finer work and they find that it all depends on the applied frequency and whether the wingbeat is coupled to the frequency directly or through a multiple:

" The mean wingbeat frequency of tethered locusts was 18.92?±?0.27?Hz. We found that acute exposure to 50?Hz EMFs significantly increased absolute change in wingbeat frequency in a field strength-dependent manner, with greater field strengths causing greater changes in wingbeat frequency. The effect of EMFs on wingbeat frequency depended on the initial wingbeat frequency of a locust, with locusts flying at a frequency lower than 20?Hz increasing their wingbeat frequency, while locusts flying with a wingbeat frequency higher than 20?Hz decreasing their wingbeat frequency. During the application of 50?Hz EMF, the wingbeat frequency was entrained to a 2:5 ratio (two wingbeat cycles to five EMF cycles) of the applied EMF. We then applied a range of ELF EMFs that were close to normal wingbeat frequency and found that locusts entrained to the exact frequency of the applied EMF." [1]

[1] Shepherd, S., Jackson, C. W., Sharkh, S. M., Aonuma, H., Oliveira, E. E., & Newland, P. L. (2021). Extremely Low‐Frequency Electromagnetic Fields Entrain Locust Wingbeats. Bioelectromagnetics.

{Credits 1} 🎪 Shepherd, S., Lima, M. A. P., Oliveira, E. E., Sharkh, S. M., Aonuma, H., Jackson, C. W., & Newland, P. L. (2021). Sublethal neonicotinoid exposure attenuates the effects of electromagnetic fields on honey bee flight and learning. Environmental Advances, 100051. © 2021 the author(s). This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Common Attribution 4.0 International license.

Last modified on 25-Apr-21

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