Our research expertise and scientific resources can help you to test your plant-protection products for their effects on bee survival, development and behaviour – helping you to develop products that are safe for bees and other pollinators. We work closely with the National Bee Unit, giving us access to a huge range of resources to support your risk assessments, including more than 150 colonies of honey bees and a highly skilled beekeeping team. Read our latest case study on Radio Frequency IDentification tagging - field experiment on bees.
Chemical companies developing plant protection products for growers need to ensure their pesticides provide effective protection against pests and diseases, at the same time as safeguarding essential pollinators, such as bees. As more compounds are withdrawn from the market due to their effect on pollinator and human health, chemical producers need expert support in developing safe and effective new products that meet the demands of growers, food retailers and consumers.
The tests detailed below demonstrate some of our capabilities. We will work with you to select the appropriate tests to meet the specific needs of your project. We can perform all of the necessary residue analysis for these studies, from testing dosing solutions to analysing complex hive matrices. If you have a specific testing requirement or problem that needs addressing, we can adapt our methods or design bespoke tests to provide the data, analysis and reports you need.
Short-term tests designed to look at the worst-case scenario for the two main routes of exposure to risk for bees. For honey bees, we follow OECD Guidelines 213 & 214: Honey Bees Acute Oral & Contact Toxicity Tests. Bumblebee tests are run in accordance with the latest Draft OECD Guidelines for acute oral and contact dosing of bumblebees 2016.
These tests assess the effects of PPPs on honey bee larvae. Larvae are grafted from healthy colonies into artificial cells where they are fed an artificial diet (royal jelly and sugars) reared in the laboratory. The test item is combined with the feed and fed directly to the larvae. These tests can be run as a single dose test according to OECD Test Guideline 237: Honey bee larval toxicity test - Single exposure or repeat dosing according to OECD Guidance Document 239 Honey bee larval toxicity test - Repeated exposure.
Extended laboratory test to assess the toxicity of plant-protection product residues on plants post application to bees. Tests performed according to EPA OCSPP 850.3030: Honey Bee Toxicity of Residues on Foliage.
Studies to examine the metabolism of plant-protection products and the toxicity of the metabolites when ingested or absorbed by adult bees.
Using photographic methods and bee brood monitoring software, it is possible to monitor the effects of PPPs on the development of different brood stages. Tests performed according to OECD 75: Honey Bee Brood Test Under Semi-Field Conditions (tunnel test).
Similar to above, but the test item can be fed directly to free-flying honey bee colonies in sugar syrup. Test undertaken to Oomen, de Ruijter & van der Steen method (1992).
Conducted under open-field conditions to give realistic exposure scenarios (EPPO 170). Can be designed to assess various aspects, including spray applications, seed treatments (e.g. dust) and risks from guttation. We are experienced in the use of Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) technology under open-field situations to assess the potential effects of plant-protection products on the foraging behaviour and mortality of worker bees.
Bespoke semi-field and field studies under tunnel and open-field conditions. Studies are run in collaboration with Atlantic Pollination Ltd.
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Case Study - Radio Frequency IDentification tagging – Field Experiment
Open Field Studies
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