Pesticides and bees: EFSA finalizes new guidance
Data on mortality rates of bumble bees and solitary bees are scarce, so the schemes for these species are based on the data used for honey bees, but apply an additional safety factor to allow for differences in sensitivity to pesticides and factors such as feeding and breeding behaviour.
The EFSA guidance includes a new procedure for calculating if the potential level of harm is acceptable. This method – which gives a more precise assessment of acceptable loss of foragers than the existing approach – should afford greater protection to honey bee colonies situated on the edge of fields treated with pesticides.
EFSA’s experts also developed a model for a risk assessment scheme which addresses the risk from exposure to sub-lethal doses of pesticides. However, more work needs to be done as there are differences between laboratory test findings and what actually happens in a bee colony. Therefore, before this risk evaluation scheme can be completed it is necessary to design a method that accurately quantifies the extent to which sub-lethal effects observed in a laboratory are relevant for real-life effects on bee colonies.
- EFSA Guidance Document on the risk assessment of plant protection products on bees (Apis mellifera, Bombus spp. and solitary bees)
- Communication from the European Commission on honeybee health