The cultivation of melon (Cucumis melo L.) is of great importance to the Brazilian economy, especially the semiarid regions of the Northeast region. Damage caused by pests have hindered the production, requiring that control measures be adopted, among them applications of chemical insecticides, including neonicotinoids. Studies have shown collateral damage to beneficial insects such as bees, important pollinators for 90% of angiosperms, especially melon. The objective of this study was to evaluate the toxicity on melon crops of neonicotinoids used to control pests related to honeybee, Apis mellifera L. Bioassays were performed in the laboratory. The mortality of specimens over time when contaminated with the products thiamethoxam, midaclopride and acetamiprid (two commercial products by different companies) was evaluated. The exposure of bees to the compounds was performed by food ingestion (sugar candy) contaminated with the lowest and highest doses recommended by the manufacturers. Regardless of the dose, all insecticides were toxic, decreasing up to 11 days the useful life of bees as compared to the control (water + sugar candy), which survived 18 days on average.
Key words: Contamination, pollinators, bees, Cucumis melo L.