The pollination is a key service for the global agricultural production and, at the same time, it symbolizes the perfect symbiosis between plants and insects. The transfer of pollen from one flower to another one involves an extraordinary variety of pollinators as honeybees, bumblebees, butterflies, hoverflies which ensures the quality of the crops and increases the yield production. On the other hand, the landscape provides different habitats and its crops are feeding sources for the pollinator species, in particular the orchards, the sunflowers and the oilseed rape.
The decline in pollinators is due to several factors as pollution, habitat loss, pesticides and inadequate farming practices. This framework brings into focus mainly honeybees for their fascinating social living and their important role, that they play for the beekeeping industry. The high level concern led the European Commission to develop, through the EFSA, a guidance document providing the procedure to carry out the risk assessment of plant protection products on bees. The new tiered approach is based on further laboratory tests, in addition to the traditional acute toxicity studies, to set the effects of the pesticides on the larval honeybee life stage and it takes into account many potential routes of exposure.
BioTecnologie B.T. attended the Setac Europe 8th Special Science Symposium focused on the key issues of the EFSA guidance document as the lack of validating test methods, the strict criteria that make hardly performing field trials and the need to consider the Non-Apis species too. The CROs, performing the new tests, support the high level of protection required to avoid the risk in causing unacceptable harm to this non target arthropods. BioTecnologie B.T. routinely carries out honey bee brood toxicity tests according the OECD 237 Guideline. The staff was trained at the CRA-API Agency by Mr. Medrzycki, the first person who brought this test in Italy in 2005 and this collaboration is going on. Moreover, the Study Director of these studies, Mrs. Monica Colli, joined the OECD Expert Group on Honey Bee Toxicity Test.