Pesticides and bees: evidence on mortality rates reviewed

28 July 2020

EFSA has completed a comprehensive analysis of the available scientific evidence on bee mortality, as part of its ongoing review of the guidance for assessing risks to bees from pesticides.

The report published today is based on the largest systematic collection of evidence on mortality rates ever carried out, and covers the three bee groups – honey bees, bumble bees and solitary bees.

Establishing reliable figures on bee mortality rates is a crucial component of the guidance review.

The report aims to strengthen existing knowledge by adopting a more systematic approach than used previously, and widening the scope of the analysis beyond mortality of forager bees.

The main sources of information were a systematic literature review and a survey of beekeepers from several EU countries.

Following consultations and workshops involving risk managers from Member States and the European Commission, EFSA’s working group has also proposed four possible approaches to defining the specific protection goals (SPGs) that will be used in the guidance review.

Risk managers will now decide which approach EFSA should use i.e. specify what needs to be protected and to what extent. To assist them, the document  illustrates the scientific method as well as the advantages and limitations associated with each approach.