The neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid disrupts bumblebee foraging rhythms and sleep

Kiah Tasman, Sean A Rands*, James J L Hodge*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
229 Downloads (Pure)


Neonicotinoids have been implicated in the large declines observed in insects such as bumblebees, an important group of pollinators. Neonicotinoids are agonists of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors that are found throughout the insect central nervous system and are the main mediators of synaptic neurotransmission. These receptors are important for the function of the insect central clock and circadian rhythms. The clock allows pollinators to coincide their activity with the availability of floral resources and favorable flight temperatures, as well as impact learning, navigation, and communication. Here we show that exposure to the field-relevant concentration of 10 μg/L imidacloprid caused a reduction in bumblebee foraging activity, locomotion, and foraging rhythmicity. Foragers showed an increase in daytime sleep and an increase in the proportion of activity occurring at night. This could reduce foraging and pollination opportunities, reducing the ability of the colony to grow and reproduce, endangering bee populations and crop yields.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101827
Number of pages17
Issue number12
Early online date20 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2020


  • Bumblebee
  • Bombus terrestris
  • circadian rhythms
  • sleep
  • neonicotinoids
  • insecticides
  • imidacloprid
  • nicotinic acetylcholine receptors
  • pollinators
  • foraging rhythms


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