EFSA Confirms Neonicotinoids are Hazardous to Bees

Posted By: Selerant RSA


Bees play a crucial role in agriculture. How to preserve bee health and protect the population of bees is a growing concern for European legislators, especially since a sharp increase in honeybee deaths over the past few years has become evident.

EFSA was requested to perform a further assessment on risk to bees related to the use of a number of neonicotinoid pesticides in the form of foliar sprays. EFSA has confirmed previous hazard findings.  

Two years ago, clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam were already proven to be hazardous to bees.

Consequently, their use has been prohibited under certain circumstances: namely for seed or soil treatments on crops attractive to bees and on cereals (seed or soil treatments and foliar use). Special derogation was granted for greenhouses.

The present follow up peer review has considered all uses other than seed treatments and granules. It has highlighted the following risk identifications:

-          Clothianidin

  • high risk to honeybees for potatoes and ornamentals as treated crop, in case of orchards for succeeding crops and in case kohlrabi and cabbage (use as ‘pour plant) insufficient information available to perform any risk assessment
  • high risks also for bumble bees and solitary bees

-          Imidacloprid

  • high risk to honeybees on  treated crop for uses before flowering, or to flowering crops/plants, while low risk for uses to post-flowering crops
  • high risk to honeybees and bumble bees remains on  succeeding crop/plant, however mitigation measures are effective risk from residues in surface water, could not be assessed for lack of available information

-          Thiamethoxam

  • low acute risk to honeybees on  treated crop for potatoes, fruiting vegetables 2 and lettuce
  • for several authorised uses, it is possible to mitigate the acute risk to honeybees and bumble bees from foraging in the field margin and adjacent crop
  • numerous other aspects unfinalised due to lack of data

As part of on-going scientific evidence-based legislation review, European Commission foresees a reconsideration of any new scientific information:  a process particularly important and urgent for risks posed to bees, especially in the light of the above said assessment.

EFSA is about to start an assessment review with the new information. A call to interested parties, including national competent authorities, organizations, research institutions and industry, has just been launched to collect new data.

Deadline for data submission is September 30, 2015.