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Assessment of the risk posed to honeybees by systemic pesticides - PS2322

There has been increasing concern over the last few years over the risk posed to honeybees by systemic seed treatments used on flowering crops, e.g. imidacloprid, fipronil. Such use of pesticides with systemic properties has advantages through reducing spray applications of pesticides to growing crops but provides a concern over the exposure of non-target species feeding on pollen and nectar. There is therefore an urgent need to review the possible approaches to risk assessment for systemic pesticides. This has been raised as an issue and is likely to be the main focus of an ICPBR working group on the hazards of pesticides to bees at a meeting to be held in October 2005. This project aims to provide a UK perspective on the issue and a review of changes proposed, including an assessment of the recommendations resulting from the meeting. This study aims to identify possible approaches to risk assessment for systemic pesticides to honeybees by reviewing available data on systemic pesticides and approaches taken by other countries to risk assessment for these types of compounds; assessing the applicability of current toxicity testing methodology and data gaps and identifying risk assessment methodology that is suitable for these types of compounds. This is of direct relevance to Defra as it will provide direct input into discussions on the development of European guidelines through ICPBR and evaluation of their implementation for PSD.
1. Review current data available and approaches to systemic risk assessment for honeybees, e.g. for imidacloprid, fipronil
2. Identify possible indicators of longer-term toxicity due to chronic low-level exposure scenarios and identify suitable test systems to address these
3. Assess the feasibility of risk assessment for systemic pesticides and honeybees based on chronic low-level exposure.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Assessment of the risk posed to honeybees by systemic pesticides   (2263k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2005

To: 2007

Cost: £46,104
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Central Science Laboratory
Bee Health              
Environmental Effects              
Pest and Weed Control              
Pesticide use              
Plants and Animals              
Fields of Study
Pesticide Safety