In March 2019, the European Commission mandated EFSA for a review of its guidance on the Risk Assessment of Plant Protection Products on Bees (EFSA Journal 2013;11(7):3295). In this context, EFSA released two reports this summer.
The first report is the outcome of the EFSA collection of evidence on background bee mortality rates and in particular considering realistic beekeeping management and natural background mortality. A systematic literature review was supplemented with a survey sent to European bee keepers. The collection, which covers the tree bee groups (honey bees, bumble bees and solitary bees), provides solid grounds on background mortalities and will serve as a base for the revision of the EFSA guidance (2013).
The EFSA working group also published a supporting document addressed to risk managers about possible approaches to defining the specific protection goals (SPGs) that will be used in the EFSA guidance (2013) review. The document proposes 4 alternative approaches:
- Establish acceptable effect based on long-term colony survival, or,
- Derive threshold of acceptable effect on colony size based on their natural variability, or,
- Define acceptable levels on colony/population size (approach currently considered in the EFSA guidance 2013), or,
- Define levels of acceptable impact on the provision of the ecosystem services.
More details on approaches and associated pros and cons are available in the report (see the link below).
For the next step, risk managers will have to decide which of the approaches EFSA should use for the revision of the guidance. It is noted that the initial schedule is slightly delayed as this step was initially expected to be done by end of May 2020.
As a reminder, the publication of the revised EFSA guidance on bees is scheduled for Q1 2021.
EFSA’s review of the evidence on bee background mortality – EFSA Supporting publication 2020:EN-1880.
Supporting document for risk managers on specific protection goals for bees – 22 June 2020.
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