Neonicotinoids: risks to bees confirmed

06 March 2018

Article: 52/906

According to assessments published on 28 February 2018 by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), most uses of neonicotinoid pesticides represent a risk to wild bees and honeybees. The agency has updated its risk assessments of three neonicotinoids, clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, that are currently subject to restrictions in the EU because of the threat they pose to bees.

These new conclusions update those published in 2013, after which the European Commission imposed controls on use of the substances.

For the new assessments, which this time cover wild bees, bumblebees and solitary bees, as well as honeybees, EFSA’s Pesticides Unit carried out an extensive data collection exercise, including a systematic literature review, to gather all the scientific evidence published since the previous evaluations. The team also applied the guidance document developed by EFSA specifically for the risk assessment of pesticides and bees.

EFSA finalised its conclusions following two separate consultations with pesticide experts in the EU member states. The experts have supported the conclusions.

As with the previous assessments, exposure of bees to the substances was assessed via three routes: residues in bee pollen and nectar; dust drift during the sowing/application of the treated seeds; and water consumption.

EFSA’s conclusions will be shared with risk managers from the European Commission and member states, who will consider potential amendments to the current restrictions on the use of these pesticides.

Source: EFSA News Release, 28 February 2018