Imperial College London

Dr Richard J. Gill

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences (Silwood Park)

Senior Lecturer



+44 (0)20 7594 2215r.gill Website




N2.13MunroSilwood Park






BibTex format

author = {Kenna, D and Cooley, H and Pretelli, I and Rodrigues, AR and Gill, SD and Gill, RJ},
doi = {10.1101/449280},
publisher = {Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory},
title = {Pesticide exposure affects flight dynamics and reduces flight endurance in bumblebees},
url = {},
year = {2018}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - <jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>The emergence of agricultural land use change creates a number of challenges that insect pollinators, such as eusocial bees, must overcome. Resultant fragmentation and loss of suitable foraging habitats, combined with pesticide exposure, may increase demands on foraging, specifically the ability to reach resources under such stress. Understanding the effect that pesticides have on flight performance is therefore vital if we are to assess colony success in these changing landscapes. Neonicotinoids are one of the most widely used classes of pesticide across the globe, and exposure to bees has been associated with reduced foraging efficiency and homing ability. One explanation for these effects could be that elements of flight are being affected, but apart from a couple of studies on the honeybee, this has scarcely been tested. Here we used flight mills to investigate how exposure to a field realistic (10ppb) acute dose of imidacloprid affected flight performance of a wild insect pollinator - the bumblebee, <jats:italic>Bombus terrestris audax</jats:italic>. Intriguingly, intial observations showed exposed workers flew at a significantly higher velocity over the first ¾ km of flight. This apparent hyperactivity, however, may have a cost as exposed workers showed reduced flight distance and duration to around a third of what control workers were capable of achieving. Given that bumblebees are central place foragers, impairment to flight endurance could translate to a decline in potential forage area, decreasing the abundance, diversity and nutritional quality of available food, whilst potentially diminishing pollination service capabilities.</jats:p><jats:sec><jats:title>Summary Statement</jats:title><jats:p>Acute neonicotinoid exposure impaired flight endurance and affected velocity of <jats:italic>Bombus terrestris</jats:italic> workers, which may dr
AU - Kenna,D
AU - Cooley,H
AU - Pretelli,I
AU - Rodrigues,AR
AU - Gill,SD
AU - Gill,RJ
DO - 10.1101/449280
PB - Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
PY - 2018///
TI - Pesticide exposure affects flight dynamics and reduces flight endurance in bumblebees
UR -
ER -