QuEChERS Adaptability for the Analysis of Pesticide Residues in Beehive Products Seeking the Development of an Agroecosystem Sustainability Monitor

Beehive products could be powerful monitors of pesticide residues originating in agroecosystems during production cycles. Their ready availability provides enough samples to perform analytical determinations, but their chemical complexity makes residue analysis a real challenge. Taking advantage of the plasticity of QuEChERS coupled to LC-MS/MS, validated methodologies were developed for bees, honey, beeswax, and pollen and applied to real samples for the simultaneous determination of 19 of the most employed pesticides in intensive cropping fields. Beehives placed in Uruguayan agroecosystems accumulated the pesticides thiacloprid, imidacloprid, methomyl, carbaryl, hexythiazox, azoxystrobin, pyraclostrobin, tebuconazole, and haloxyfop-methyl at 0.0001–0.01 mg/kg levels. The oscillations on the amount and occurrence of residue findings for specific apiaries were correlated statistically with the sampling season and the agroecosystem where the beehives were located, showing the potential of bees and bee products to record relevant information to survey the chemicals applied in their surroundings.