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Risk assessment for honey bees and pesticides—recent developments and ‘new issues’



In 2008, major areas of discussion at the ICPBR Bee Protection Group meeting were the development of a honey bee risk assessment scheme for systemic pesticides and revision of the test guidelines for semi-field and field studies. The risk assessment scheme for systemic pesticides is based on analysis of conditions for exposure of bees to residues. These are based on a stepwise approach, starting with simple calculations based on existing data in dossiers and progressing to higher-tier semi-field and field studies (the guidelines for these have been modified in line with this). The proposed scheme has been tested with data packages of high- and low-risk PPPs. A future area of interest for the group may be the risks posed by guttation fluid containing systemic pesticides. A recent paper on ‘Translocation of neonicotinoid insecticides from coated seeds to seedling guttation drops: a novel way of intoxication for bees’ has focused significant interest on the possible risks posed by the presence of residues of systemic pesticides in guttation fluid to water-collecting honey bees. The occurrence of guttation and the presence of pesticide residues in the fluid are discussed, together with remaining questions that will need to be addressed in answering whether such a route of exposure may pose a risk to honey bees. © Crown copyright 2010. Reproduced with permission of Her Majesty's Stationery Office. Published by JohnWiley & Sons, Ltd.