Science Magazine Study on Pesticides and Pollinator Colony Health
March 30, 2012
Pollinators, such as honey bees, are crucial to agriculture and food production. Bayer CropScience is committed to bee health and has been actively involved in finding solutions to improve honey bee health for more than 25 years. Bayer has reviewed a paper published today in Science Magazine regarding the potential interaction of imidacloprid insecticide and bees.
All new research involving bee health is to be welcomed, but care must be taken in drawing conclusions based on relatively artificially generated results, particularly when compared to the weight of evidence from previous studies. In this study bees were unrealistically exposed to imidacloprid and then allowed to continue to develop in semi-field conditions.
The study involving bumblebee colonies in the UK, provides useful information as part of the growing body of research regarding this important pollinator. Although the doses are higher than what would typically be found in the environment, the authors noted a decrease in queen production when compared to the untreated colonies. These results are not consistent with previous studies, which showed no adverse effects on bees at field-relevant concentrations.
Insights into recent research studies
Recently, several studies – from Purdue University and Jeff Pettis, et al. – have underscored the complex interactions between crop protection products and honey bee health. The level of exposure to these products is critically important in determining the impact on foraging honey bees. Modern seed treatment applications of these products minimize the potential for accidental exposure, to ensure the impact on bees is minimal.
Bayer’s commitment to research
Imidacloprid is one of the most heavily researched insecticides in the world in terms of bee safety assessment. Bayer CropScience and independent researchers have conducted dozens of intensive laboratory and field trials on imidacloprid over the past 10 years and have confirmed that it may be used without impacting honey bee populations. These studies have investigated the effects on bee mortality, weight gain, worker longevity, brood development, honey yield and overwintering survival.
Bayer’s commitment to Bee Health
Bayer is committed to bee health and has been actively involved in finding solutions to improve honey bee health for more than 25 years. As a company dedicated to crop protection, Bayer is committed to environmental stewardship and sustainable agricultural practices, including the protection of beneficial insects such as honey bees.
About Bayer CropScience
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. Bayer CropScience, a subgroup of Bayer AG with annual sales of EUR 6.830 billion (2010), is one of the world’s leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of crop protection, non-agricultural pest control, seeds and traits. The company offers an outstanding range of products and extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture and for non-agricultural applications. Bayer CropScience has a global workforce of 20,700 and is represented in more than 120 countries.