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Bee Ecotoxicology

Bee, Pollen

Fera has many years of experience in running GLP compliant tests to assess the risks posed by plant protection products to bees. We are active participants in many testing method working groups and ring tests (e.g. ICPPR non-apis working groups). This means that we are at the forefront of current bee testing. We also work closely with the National Bee Unit which gives us instant access to a range of resources to support our studies, including 150+ colonies of honey bees and a highly skilled beekeeping team. Please see below a selection of our capabilities – this is not an exhaustive list and we can adapt current test methods or use bespoke test design to meet your specific data requirements.

Our Tests

Laboratory tests

  • Adult bees acute toxicity
    These short term tests are designed to look at the worst case scenario via the two main routes of exposure to which bees are at risk. For honey bees the OECD Guidelines 213 & 214: Honey bees Acute Oral & Contact Toxicity Tests are followed.
  • Adult bees chronic toxicity
    This test is designed to assess the possible longer term feeding effects of PPPs on honey bees.
  • In vitro honey bee larval toxicity
    These tests assess the toxic effects of PPPs on honey bee larvae. This can be run as either a single or multiple dose test.
  • Aged residue tests (extended laboratory test)
    This test is designed to assess the toxicity of residues of PPPs on plant residues post application to bees. This test is performed according to EPA OCSPP 850.3030: Honey Bee Toxicity of Residues on Foliage.
  • Bee metabolism studies
    These metabolism studies look at the metabolism of PPPs and toxicity of the metabolites when ingested or absorbed by adult bees.

Field tests

  • Bee brood tests
    Using photographic methods and bee brood monitoring software Fera can monitor the development of different brood stages. This test is performed according to OECD 75: Honey bee brood test under semi-field conditions (tunnel test).
  • Honey bee brood feeding test
    This test is simliar to above but the test item can be fed directly to free-flying honey bee colonies in sugar syrup. The test is undertaken to Oomen, de Ruijter & van der Steen method (1992).
  • Honey bee effects tests
    These are conducted under open field conditions, to give realistic exposure scenarios (EPPO 170) and can be designed to look at a number of aspects including: spray applications, seed treatments (e.g. dust) and risks from guttation. We are also experienced with the use of Radio Frequency Identification studies (RFID) in open field situations to assess potential effects of PPPs on the foraging behaviour and mortality of worker bees
  • Bumble bee effects tests
    Although there are no recognised guidelines for bumble bee field studies we also have a great deal of experience working with bumble bees under field conditions.
  • Solitary bee effects tests
    Bespoke semi-field and field studies under tunnel and open field conditions; for example studies run to Draft Ring Test Protocols. These studies will be offered in 2017 and run jointly in collaboration with Atlantic Pollination Ltd.

Fera's state of the art laboratories, with 350 scientists covering a multitude of disciplines provides the high quality support and backup needed to achieve our customers' specific and varied requirements.

Fera's analytical capability means access to more than 100 trained analysts and 50 LC-MS/MS instruments allowing both targeted and non-targeted analysis. We can perform all of the required residue analysis required for all of the above studies – from testing dosing solutions to the analysis of complex hive matrices. Whether your requirements are the generation of safety data or you have a more specific problem which needs addressing please contact us to see how the bee team can help you.

Safeguarding pollinators

Fera has the research expertise and scientific resources to help companies test their plant protection for their effects on pollinator survival, development and behaviour, supporting the development of products that are safe for bees and other pollinators.

Find out more at FutureHive by Fera

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  • Forefront of regulatory exposure modelling
  • Unparalleled experience in environmental modelling & risk assessment
  • Close working relationships with EU Member State Competent Authorities, EFSA, DWI & CRD

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