Clothianidin seed-treatment has no detectable negative impact on honeybee colonies and their pathogens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Interactions between multiple stressors have been implicated in elevated honeybee colony losses. Here, we extend our landscape-scale study on the effects of placement at clothianidin seed-treated oilseed rape fields on honeybees with an additional year and new data on honeybee colony development, swarming, mortality, pathogens and immune gene expression. Clothianidin residues in pollen, nectar and honeybees were consistently higher at clothianidin-treated fields, with large differences between fields and years. We found large variations in colony development and microbial composition and no observable negative impact of placement at clothianidin-treated fields. Clothianidin treatment was associated with an increase in brood, adult bees and Gilliamella apicola (beneficial gut symbiont) and a decrease in Aphid lethal paralysis virus and Black queen cell virus - particularly in the second year. The results suggest that at colony level, honeybees are relatively robust to the effects of clothianidin in real-world agricultural landscapes, with moderate, natural disease pressure.


  • Julia Osterman
  • Dimitry Wintermantel
  • Barbara Locke
  • Ove Jonsson
  • Emilia Semberg
  • Piero Onorati
  • Eva Forsgren
  • Peter Rosenkranz
  • Thorsten Rahbek-Pedersen
  • Riccardo Bommarco
  • Henrik G. Smith
  • Maj Rundlöf
  • Joachim R. de Miranda
External organisations
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
  • Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ)
  • INRA National Institute of Agricultural Research
  • Chizé Centre for Biological Studies
  • Uppsala University
  • University of California, Davis
  • University of Hohenheim
  • Swedish Board of Agriculture
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
Original languageEnglish
Article number692
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch