BASF expressed its disagreement with the European Commission’s latest decision to apply a two-year restriction on selected seed treatment uses of the insecticide fipronil. This will limit growers’ access to valuable and approved technologies. Along with the majority of experts, the company remains convinced that the decline in bee populations is caused by multiple and complex factors and that the restriction of fipronil will not contribute to protecting bees.

“The decision regarding fipronil was derived from an assessment that focused heavily on new technical areas for which no established regulatory evaluation criteria are yet available. Moreover, sound data from field studies that underpin the safe use of our product for bees were not considered sufficiently,” said Jürgen Oldeweme, Senior Vice President Global Product Safety and Regulatory Affairs, BASF Crop Protection. “We are certain that Europe can achieve both – the protection of pollinators and the support of European agriculture – but for that all stakeholders must engage in a comprehensive action plan to address the real root causes of the decline in bee health.”

Over the last years, BASF has gained a broad understanding of the factors that impact bee health by working together with scientists, farmers and beekeepers. Using this knowledge, the company has delivered practical, tested solutions to improve bee health, such as recommending the introduction of flowering strips to support proper bee nutrition within farmland. Another proactive step is BASF’s partnership with the Canadian company NOD Apiary Products to offer European beekeepers Mite Away Quick Strips (MAQS), an innovative solution to control the Varroa destructor mite in beehives, a serious mite that impairs bee health. These initiatives illustrate how bees and agriculture can co-exist.

“We will support the European Commission in the development of extensive measures that can benefit bees while securing food production in Europe. We do not believe that the planned restriction of fipronil uses will accomplish that,” added Oldeweme.