Deltamethrin impairs honeybees (Apis mellifera) dancing communication.
As a commonly used pyrethroid insecticide, deltamethrin is very toxic to honeybees, which seriously threatens the managed and feral honeybee population. Because deltamethrin is a nerve agent, it may interfere with the nervous system of honeybees, such as dance behavior and memory-related characteristics. We found that the waggle dances were less precise in honeybees that consumed syrup containing deltamethrin (pesticide group) than those that consumed normal sucrose syrup (control group). Compared with the control group, honeybees of the pesticide group significantly increased number of circuits per 15 s, the divergence angle, return phases in waggle dances, as well as the crop content of the dance followers. Furthermore, six learning and memory-related genes were significantly interfered with the gene expression levels. Our data suggest that the sublethal dose of deltamethrin impaired the honeybees' learning and memory and resulted in cognitive disorder. The novel results assist in establishing guidelines for the risk assessment of pesticide to honeybee safety and prevention of nontarget biological agriculture pesticide poisoning.