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Field Studies >> Pollinators >> Honey Bee Semi-Field Tests

Honey Bee Semi-Field Tests

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Eurofins Agroscience Services offers a wide range of field studies following standard or special designs

We offer a wide range of honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) semi-field (Tunnel) studies following standard or special designs. All studies are planned and performed by a highly experienced team of scientists and technical personnel. The studies are conducted according to current OEPP/EPPO, and OECD recommendations throughout Europe (e. g. Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Denmark and Greece) as well as in China, USA and Brazil.

Our experience ranges from standard studies where we evaluate the acute toxicity of a test item applied to an attractive crop through to special studies where we can evaluate, for example, possible risk to the honey bee brood, sublethal effects on bees and residues in bees and their products.

Our flexible tunnel tent system, allows us to erect tunnles covering a crop area up to 200 m².

In accordance with OEPP/EPPO Guideline No. 170 and EFSA Guidance recommendations, Phacelia or rape is used as the test plant in standard semi-field tests. But we also have experience in tunnel studies in other crops (e.g. Apple, citrus, nectarine, peach, strawberry, melon, sunflower, maize etc.) where the product comes into its use

In one trial, several parameters such as flight activity in the crop, mortality of the bees in the crop and in front of the hives, and the conditions of the colonies and brood development before and at the end of the exposure period are recorded.

The test design at least includes three treatments (test item, control and reference item) with at least 4 replicates per treatment. With our team it is possible to conduct studies with up to 30 tunnels within one study.

Honey Bee Semi-Field Tests – EPPO 170, EFSA Guideline

Standard studies according to EPPO No. 170 and EFSA Guideline (each tunnel contains a minimal crop area of 80 m² and several replicates per treatment). The parameters assessed are: flight activity in the crop, behaviour of the bees, mortality of the bees in the crop and in front of the hives and the conditions of the colonies and brood development before and at the end of the exposure period.  The test item can be applied as spray application before flowering, during flowering (after and during bee flight), coated seeds, dust application or via drip irrigation.

Observations are performed for at least 28 days after start of exposure of the colonies to the treated crop, but can be extended up to spring of the following year, if requested.

Honey Bee Semi-Field Tests – OECD 75, EFSA Guideline

Besides the parameters assessed in standard studies (mortality, behaviour, flight activity in the crop and colony development) additional assessments are included in brood semi-field studies performed according to the OECD guidance 75. Special attention is drawn to the evaluation of the condition of the colonies and the bee brood development. For this purpose, cells containing eggs, young and old larvae are marked and their consecutive development is assessed via photo documentation. The evaluation of data is performed using Hive Analyzer®. The assessments are carried out frequently over one or two brood cycles (approx. one or two month) in order to evaluate acute and possible delayed adverse effects of a test item on the honey bee colony. The observation can be extended up to spring of the following year, if requested.

Sampling for Residue Analysis and Additional Information 

The following samplings can be included in both study types:

  • sampling of forager bees in front of the hives
  • Preparation of pollen loads and nectar stomachs from collected forager bees
  • Sampling of bee products from within the hive: (nectar/honey, pollen, larval food, wax and royal jelly)
  • Sampling of pollen from pollen traps (for residue analysis and / or pollen source identification)
  • Sampling of plants and flowers
  • Soil sampling for residue analysis
  • Sampling of honey and bees from the hive for analysis of bee diseases and viruses in specialised laboratories
  • Further samplings on special request

Industry partnerships

  • LAVES Institut für Bienenkunde, Celle
  • Länderinstitut für Bienenkunde, Hohen-Neuendorf
  • Long-term cooperation with local farmers

Participations, Memberships: AG Bienenschutz, ICPPR working groups, international ringtest groups to work on OECD guideline proposals.

For further information, please contact us