Evaluation of the effects of different solubilizing, wetting, and dispersing agents used in honeybee lab tests

Honey bee tests conducted in the laboratory often utilize solubilizing, wetting, and dispersing agents. For example, a wetting agent is used in testing contact toxicity to adult bees so that the applied droplet covers the bee “skin” rather than just remaining perched on the tips of the hairs that cover the bee thorax. Solubilizing and dispersing agents are used to enhance homogeneity of the test substance in the honey bee diets.

A common agent used in testing is acetone but acetone can cause bee mortality, especially at higher concentrations and with honey bee larvae. Alternatives to acetone are being evaluated. Desirable characteristics include adequate dispersion, enhanced solubility of the test substance in testing solutions, no feeding inhibition or aversion, and no honey bee mortality.