Final Abstract for URS Program
Pesticides are widely used to protect against unwanted insects, but risk assessments of the effects on pollinators have traditionally only been applied on an individual level, not a population level. This has allowed many pesticides to be approved without the knowledge of sub-lethal effects, such as life history characteristics and population structure to name a few. The biopesticide BotaniGard, containing the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana, has previously been thought to be safe for non-targeted insects, but recent studies have found it to have significant negative effects on pollinators. Such negative effects can include decrease in longevity and odorant responsiveness with an increase in sucrose sensitivity and mortality rates.
Most of the current literature of the effects of BotaniGard on pollinators is limited to honeybees. However, it is important to explore this question in other native pollinators as well, such as the bumblebee Bombus impatiens. This species is an important pollinator because it is essential for both greenhouse pollination and agricultural pollination. An important factor in bumblebee survivability is body size as its variability allows them to be less susceptible to environmental changes, with smaller bees tending to be less impacted by starvation.