The global decline of pollinators (honey bees, bumble bees, solitary bees) has been a research topic for the last couple of years, as these insects play a pivotal role in crop and food production as well as for maintenance of plant biodiversity.
Scientists discuss several factors involved in this decline, among them habitat loss, diseases, parasites, beekeeping techniques, and for agricultural areas plant protection products. Especially plant protection products have received considerable public attention and regulatory agencies all over the world have indroduced new testing requirements for the environmental risk assessment of these substances.
For bumble bees (Bombus spp.) there have been only few guidelines available so far. To fill this gap, ibacon is currently developing testing designs and GLP-protocols for several additional bumble bee studies.
One of these study designs is the “Bumble bee study in tunnels under semi-field conditions”. The protocol was adapted from the existing protocols for honey bee semi-field and field studies. Our intention was to develop suitable methodologies and to define appropriate endpoints for statistical evaluation.