Cross-fertilizing our 3rd Call for Requests  back to the theme

Pollination ( Archived)

Member: Gill Ainsworth

Date: 06.07.2018



1. To determine the kind of and how to cultivate hedgerows most beneficial to indigenous pollinator populations. 

This request was submitted by a representative of an NGO. 


Pollinator decline is a major issue in agriculture: not only causing a decrease in outputs, but also quality and nutritional value. Particularly, there is a mutual and beneficial relationship between hedgerows and wild pollinators. If there is a decline of wild pollinators there will be a decline hedgerows. Therefore agricultural practices should evolve in line with protecting pollinators, as well as to create an environnement to meet their needs (i.e. through food and habitat). Hedgerows and grasslands presents numerous interests for pollinators. There exists, however, few information about how to manage or cultivate them in order to effectively increase pollinator population. There requires a study to investigate the importance of the hedgerows and its relationship to the wild pollinators.


Relevant to this issue is the common agriculture policy, one of the EU’s oldest policies (1962) supporting farmers in pollinator friendly practices and ensuring Europe’s food security, where the budget for European agriculture originates. More recently, on 1 June 2018, the European Commission adopted an initiative which sets strategic objectives and a set of actions to be taken by the EU and its Member States address the decline of wild pollinators in the EU. In fact, POLLINIS has actively participated in the process of identifying priorities and writing recommendations in stakeholder and public consultations. POLLINIS was also active in the workshop (15&16 March 2018) where it offered recommendations on pollinators generally.


2. Testing the toxicity of Plant Protection Products (PPP) on pollinators: are honey bees (Apis mellifera spp.) a useful indicator (proxy) for pollinators in general?

This request was submitted by a representative of an NGO

There are multiple anthropogenic pressures negatively affecting wild and domesticated insect pollinators, which are threatening their survival as well as the ecosystemic and agricultural services they provide. One important driver is exposure to chemicals, especially pesticides. In Europe, present risk assessment schemes concerning pesticides are focused on honey bees (Apis mellifera spp.), which are considered a good proxy for other types of eusocial and solitary bees. Other risk assessment schemes, focusing on bumble bees (Bombus) and solitary bees are available, but not officially adopted in Europe yet. No risk assessment is foreseen for other wild pollinators (species belonging either to the Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera, or Coleoptera orders). Wild pollinators, including wild bees species such as bumble bees and solitary bees, have different ecological properties, including sociality, life cycle, behaviour. Because of species differences in autoecology and sensitivity to various stressors, we would like to conduct a study to determine whether the honey bee represents a good indicator to evaluate the toxicity of plant protection products on other pollinators.


The EU legislation requires to test the toxicity of plant protection products on bees (Regulation EC 1107/2009, EC 283/2013, EC 284/2013) before an active substance or a plant protection product is allowed to enter the market. The term bees covers honeybees, bumblebees and solitary bees. But the tests mentioned to assess the toxicity only use honeybees. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) also identified a lack of information on the sensitivity of bumble bees and solitary bees.

Last edited: 18.07.2018 14:43 (GMT) - by Gill Ainsworth
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