This study developed a validated multi-residue method for pesticides/agrochemicals detection in honeybee hive products, using GC-ECD and LC-MSMS which simultaneously controlled for 36 pesticides. Various traces of insecticides and fungicides in bees and bee products were found from three agro-ecological zones in Uganda (West-Nile, Mid-Northern, Eastern), and the common chemical classes of insecticides detected included neonicotinoids, carbamates, tetrazines and diacylhydrazines. Almost all detected chemicals were found in the beeswax and in the samples derived from neighbouring citrus (Eastern) and tobacco (West-Nile) cropping systems, but the detected levels were below the MRL set by the EU as well as the lethal acute doses for honeybees. The presence of neonicotinoids and systemic fungicides suggests that whilst MRLs are low, possible sub-lethal impacts of several substances may present a threat to honeybees in the region. This suggests the need for a robust risk assessment of pesticides or chemical contaminants for our understanding of the resilience of Ugandan honeybee genotypes in a contaminated environment. Interestingly, the “zero” detection rate of pesticides in the honey from the Mid-Northern zone indicates substantial potential for marketing Ugandan organic honey in international markets.

Source: NCBI