#Efsa4Bees

Parasites, pathogens and pesticides: making sense of multiple stressors

Latest posts

26.09.16
And now… into the field!
In previous posts, my colleagues have described the first phase of the activity of the MUST-B...
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14.09.16
Tracking toxicity
Wild bees and managed honeybees are important pollinators in agricultural and natural ecosystems...
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23.08.16
Modellers wanted
Today we launch a call for tenders to develop the model designed by the MUST-B working group for...
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Latest News

Bee Stressors

Biological stressors
Chemical stressors
  • Insecticides, including pyrethroids and systemic neonicotinoids such as imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and clothianidin. Insects can be poisoned by spray, dust and through consumption of pollen and nectar.
  • Fungicides such as chlorothalonil, which is used widely in the US on peanuts, potatoes, tomatoes and other crops.
  • Antibiotics including oxytetracycline, which are used to combat diseases such as American Foulbrood.
  • Industrial pollutants can also have effects on the behaviour and health of bees. For example, manganese – a heavy metal commonly used in the production of steel and batteries – can accumulate in the nectar of plants where it is consumed by bees. One study suggests that manganese consumption has a negative impact on bees’ foraging abilities.
Environmental pressure
  • Changes in agricultural methods – particularly the prevalence of monocultures, the practice of growing genetically similar, or identical, plants over a large area, year after year – have destroyed bees’ habitats and floral diversity, thus reducing the food supply.
  • Beekeeping practices such as long-distance transporting for seasonal pollination. 
  • Climate change is also affecting the availability of food and suitable habitats. Global warming is thought to be reducing the range of some species, and extreme events and seasons may be contributing to high mortality rates in hives.
Biological stressors
MORE
Chemical stressors
  • Insecticides, including pyrethroids and systemic neonicotinoids such as imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and clothianidin. Insects can be poisoned by spray, dust and through consumption of pollen and nectar.
  • Fungicides such as chlorothalonil, which is used widely in the US on peanuts, potatoes, tomatoes and other crops.
  • Antibiotics including oxytetracycline, which are used to combat diseases such as American Foulbrood.
  • Industrial pollutants can also have effects on the behaviour and health of bees. For example, manganese – a heavy metal commonly used in the production of steel and batteries – can accumulate in the nectar of plants where it is consumed by bees. One study suggests that manganese consumption has a negative impact on bees’ foraging abilities.
MORE
Environmental pressure
  • Changes in agricultural methods – particularly the prevalence of monocultures, the practice of growing genetically similar, or identical, plants over a large area, year after year – have destroyed bees’ habitats and floral diversity, thus reducing the food supply.
  • Beekeeping practices such as long-distance transporting for seasonal pollination. 
  • Climate change is also affecting the availability of food and suitable habitats. Global warming is thought to be reducing the range of some species, and extreme events and seasons may be contributing to high mortality rates in hives.
MORE

Bees in decline

About the MUST-B Project

The way that biological and chemical stressors and environmental factors interact to affect bees and contribute to population decline is still not well understood. The mechanisms are complex and the potential number of different combinations and interactions is hard to estimate. It is a scientific puzzle.

EFSA has set itself the task of trying to understand how some of the pieces of the puzzle fit together. With every new insight and connection we hope to improve our understanding the complex issue of bee decline.

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