In previous posts, my colleagues have described the first phase of the activity of the MUST-B working group: a) designing the conceptual model for the risk assessment of pesticides in honeybee colonies under different environmental scenarios and b) launching a call for tenders to develop the model. The group is now starting the second phase of its activity, aimed at defining the specifications of the field data collection to calibrate and validate the model.
The group has already discussed sampling design (spatial/temporal scales), site selection and the data to be collected. They should include parameters relevant to the protection goals, in particular colony size and forager mortality, both as absolute values and compared to background values. These data will also need to cover the three geographical zones defined in EU pesticide regulations, areas with different levels of pesticide usage and landscape characteristics.
Besides the relevance for protection goals, the data to be collected can be found in the Scientific Opinion developed by the Healthy-B working group, supporting a holistic survey of bee health in field conditions.
To facilitate the efficient use of precise and accurate data that are collected in the field, the EU Reference Laboratory will also participate in the activities of the MUST-B working group.
Angelo Maggiore is a scientific officer at EFSA.