Pesticide exposure and bee colony health

Bees provide vital pollination services in both natural and agricultural ecosystems. In addition to impacting biodiversity, declines in pollinator populations pose a direct threat to food security and human nutrition. I'm interested in developing tools behavioral tracking tools in bees that can both help us understand the precise mechanisms by which pesticide-exposure impacts the behavior of bees,  as well as providing more efficient and cost-effective screening for the environmental safety of pesticides. 

Recently, I've developed an automated, robotic platform for monitoring behavior in multiple bee colonies around the clock, and used this system to show the low-level, chronic exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides disrupts an array of behaviors in bumblebee colonies, including activity, spatial dynamics, and social interactions

Robotic data collection with the BEECH platform

Automated tracking of nest behavior in pesticide-exposed bumblebees

Automated tracking of feeding behavior in bumblebees

© 2018 by James Crall