Every few years, the Bee Protection Group of the International Commission for Plant-Pollinator Relationships (ICPPR) organizes a symposium on the important topic of bee safety and pesticides. This year, the event was held in Bern, Switzerland where some 150 participants from authorities, contract laboratories, crop protection industry and research institutes from around the world gathered to discuss the latest status and research. Opening the meeting, Jens Pistorius, as Chairman of the organizing committee welcomed everyone and asked them all to merit the science and to focus discussions on the research being presented and not on the organization from which it came.
Christian Maus, Global Lead Scientist Bee Care at Bayer Crop Science explains “In recent years, regulatory authorities, scientists and environmentalists have been calling for expanded bee safety testing of crop protection products to cover wild bee species and not just honey bees”. So, for Bayer researchers who participate in the Bee Protection Group, this was a perfect opportunity to share some of the latest results from the innovative work they have been doing to develop and implement new standardized testing systems for non-Apis bee species, as well as work on other pollinator-related projects. This included updates on toxicity studies being developed using the Red Mason Bee, a project looking at the mechanism of how honey bees break down certain pesticides into harmless substances in their bodies and another ongoing study which investigates if digital technology can provide useful and informative data from the beehive to indicate early signs of poor honey bee health. “Our initial test system development results look promising and our work was well received at the meeting. It is important to share information and discuss with other researchers working in similar fields around the world,” said Dr. Nina Exeler, who leads the Experimental Unit Bees at the Ecotoxicology Department of Bayer Crop Science in Monheim, Germany and who is responsible for the bumble bee subgroup within the ICPPR non-Apis working group, after the event.
Sustainable agriculture involves working with farmers and strives to ensure they have access to effective, efficient crop protection products and solutions and the latest, state-of the art digital technologies. In this way, they can produce the most and the best quality products from the land they are farming, with the minimum environmental impact.
In addition, horticultural crop growers also rely on the support of insects, most notably bees, for the pollination of their fruit and vegetable crops. Honey bees do a great job of providing pollination services around the world, but unmanaged wild bees also provide pollination services, playing a significant role for certain crops and landscapes and in specific regions.
At Bayer, we believe every investment we make in innovation should also be an investment in sustainability. Through collaborations and participation on the Bee Protection Group, our scientists are helping to turn today’s impossibilities into tomorrow’s breakthroughs for the benefit of farmers, consumers and the environment.