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Environmental Safety >> Terrestrial Laboratory >> Honey Bees, Bumble Bees and Solitary Bees

Honey Bees, Bumble Bees and Solitary Bees

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Eurofins Agroscience Services are world leading experts in testing the effects of plant protection products (PPPs) on honey bees (Apis mellifera) and bumble bees (Bombus terrestris)

Our team has been actively involved in several international ring test groups which led to several OECD guidelines and guidance documents on Apis and non-Apis laboratory testing methods such as OECD 237 (2013), OECD 239 (2016), OECD 245 (2017), OECD 246 (2017) and OECD 247 (2017).

Honey Bee (Apis mellifera)

  • Laboratory Acute Toxicity Test - OECD 213 / OECD 214
    Test sites globally allow acute toxicity testing all year round. In these tests bees are exposed by feeding or individual contact application to a range of doses in order to determine the LD50.

  • Laboratory Chronic Toxicity Test - OECD 245
    Test sites globally allow chronic toxicity testing all year round. Newly hatched honey bees are exposed to treated sucrose solution at different concentrations by continuous and ad libitum feeding over a period of 10 days. Mortality, behaviour and the food consumption is determined daily throughout the test period. The main endpoints are the determination of the LC50 (lethal concentration) and LDD50 (lethal dietary dose) as well as the NOEC (No Observed Effect Concentration) and the NOEDD (No Observed Effect Dietary Dose) at the end of the test, where possible.

  • Larval Toxicity Test - OECD 237 and OECD guidance document 239
    Test sites globally allow larval toxicity testing all year round. Effects to larvae of the honey bee (Apis mellifera) from single and repeated exposure of PPP can be assessed by our in vitro larvae tests. Honey bee larvae from own colonies are grafted and transferred into cellular culture plates and exposed to untreated and treated diet containing the test item in a range of increasing dose. During the test, larval and pupal mortalities and the number of successfully emerged bees and signs of active food consumption can be assessed.

  • Extended Laboratory Test - OPPTS 850.3030
    The extended laboratory bee trials are conducted either in the Northern or the Southern climatic zone depending on the crop selected (experiences in vegetables, orchards, alfalfa and citrus). Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are exposed in the laboratory to residues of PPPs on leaves aged under semi-field or field conditions. Through an exposure phase in the laboratory, different time intervals between the application date and start of bee exposure to the treated plant material can be evaluated. Along with the assessments of mortality, special attention is drawn to possible behavioural abnormalities of the bees compared to the control group.

Bumble bee (Bombus terrestris)

  • Laboratory Acute Toxicity Test - OECD 246 / OECD 247
    Due to the absence of trophallaxis, group feeding is not possible and acute oral toxicity has to be determined by the individual feeding of single bumble bees in Nicot queen breeding cages. For the assessment phase of oral and contact toxicity tests, bumble bees are kept under single housing conditions. The seasonal-independent breeding of bumble bee colonies, allow acute toxicity testing all year round.

  • Laboratory Chronic Toxicity Test - based on OECD 245 and OECD 247
    Chronic toxicity tests are performed according to the latest ring test protocol (2019) based on OECD guidelines No. 245 (2017) and No. 247 (2017). Bumble bees are individually exposed to treated sucrose solution at different concentrations by continuous and ad libitum feeding over a period of 10 days. Mortality, behaviour and the food consumption is determined daily throughout the test period. The main endpoints are the determination of the LC50 (lethal concentration) and LDD50 (lethal dietary dose) as well as the NOEC (No Observed Effect Concentration) and the NOEDD (No Observed Effect Dietary Dose) at the end of the test, where possible. The seasonal-independent breeding of bumble bee colonies, allow chronic toxicity testing all year round.

Solitary bee (Osmia bicornis)

  • Laboratory Acute Toxicity Test
    Acute oral and contact toxicity tests of PPPs on the solitary bee (Osmia bicornis) are performed according to the latest ring test protocol (2019) based on OECD 213, OECD 214, OECD 246 and OECD. 247. In these tests bees are exposed by individual feeding or contact application to a range of doses in order to determine the LD50 and NOED.

Honey Bee Stomach and Pollen Residue Studies

To determine the amount of residues carried into the hive by forager bees after PPP application, honey stomach preparations are performed. Deep frozen samples of honey bees collected at intervals after application are sent to our laboratory where the bees are dissected for the manual extraction of their honey stomach contents. The pollen loads can also be collected for analysis. The obtained samples can be either analysed at our facility or stored until shipment to the selected analytical laboratory.

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