Current Pesticide Risk Assessment Protocols Do Not Adequately Address Differences between Honey Bees (Apis mellifera) and Bumble Bees (Bombus spp.)

This article outlines key differences between honey bees and bumble bees demonstrating the importance of creating bumble bee specific pesticide risk assessment protocols. More specifically, colony level analysis, appropriate for analyzing sublethal effects to honey bees, is not appropriate for assessing impacts to bumble bees and in fact evaluates the least sensitive lifestage of bumble bee colonies. Among other things, the article recommends that risk assessment should evaluate impacts to the queen bee during and after nest establishment in the spring when queens are solitary. Not only is this a critical time for colony establishment it is also a time when the queen is most likely to be exposed to pesticides, as she must forage.

The article also summarizes research to date on neonicotinoid effects on bumble bees and lists knowledge gaps that if filled could help achieve the bumble bee protection goal “to maintain pollinator services and the biodiversity and abundance of bumble bees in a specific area.”

Stoner, K.
Frontiers in Environmental Science
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