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Bee Health and Pesticides

BRUSSELS, Belgium, June 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

Industry supports EFSA conclusion on recent bee health studies

ECPA supports scientific research into the field of bee health, but recent research findings of Whitehorn and Henry(1) fails to account for the many factors that impact bee and colony health in real life(2). These researchers have applied unrealistic pesticide dose levels in many cases and have dosed continuously bees in unrealistic environments over a long period of time that is not representative of actual field situations in agriculture.

"Although interesting measures, like the tracking of bees with Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) devices have been introduced in the studies, EFSA is right to argue that it is necessary to repeat the experiments with other exposure levels and in other situations before being able to draw definitive conclusions" - commented Friedhelm Schmider, Director General of European Crop Protection Association (ECPA).

"The current risk assessment scheme has proven to be effective and it is always considered good practice to regularly review and adapt in line with the latest science available"- he continued. ECPA looks forward to seeing the in-depth review, due to be published in December 2012, on the effects of neonicotinoids.

A clear distinction should also be made between individual incidents of honey bee losses and general honey bee population decline. Individual incidences have occurred due to inappropriate use of insecticides and the plant protection industry is conducting a number of stewardship campaigns to prevent such accidents in the future. However it needs to stressed that there is no scientifically proven causal link between pesticide use and a general honey bee population decline.

We need to remember that the cause of honeybee colony losses in Europe is multi-factorial. "It includes harmful parasites, climate change, habitat loss, pollution, pesticides, disease, insufficient food and Invasive Alien Species. But it is the parasitic Varroa mite that has been identified as the biggest specific threat to honey bee populations. Further problems are caused by a lack of appropriate foraging habitat in the modern agricultural landscape during some summer periods. It is also important to note that colony losses do not occur simultaneously across all regions of Europe, but are often prevalent in specific regions only"- he said.

"The sustainability of modern agriculture, and indirectly, the crop protection industry depends on the pollinating services provided by bees. We will continue to work with all relevant stakeholders to understand and develop solutions to the bee health problem"- Friedhelm Schmider concluded.

For the download link of the press release:

Further points:

  • ECPA, the ambassador for the crop protection industry, recognises the importance of bees and other pollinators as important components of healthy ecosystems and as valuable contributors to the pollination of crops such as fruits, vegetables and nuts, and therefore supports the need for appropriate risk assessment.
  • ECPA would like to support the need for addressing the health and welfare of pollinators as important contributors to a productive and sustainable agriculture which is facing the challenges of feeding an increasing global population while preserving natural resources and enhancing biodiversity.

(1)Whitehorn et al 2012; Henry et al 2012


(3) See also: James E. Creswell 2010

    The European Crop Protection Association (ECPA) represents the crop protection industry interests at European level. Its members include all major companies and national associations across Europe.

    Anna Seretny, Communications Coordinator,
    Angel Martin, Governmental Affairs Manager,
    Switchboard : +32-(0)2-663-1550

    For more general information: - - -

SOURCE The European Crop Protection Association

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