Measures for the protection of honey bees and other pollinating species in plant protection

Monday, June 18, 2018

Authors: Géza Ripka, Anna Rónai


1. Summary

The Hungarian pesticide authorization authority, the Directorate of Plant Protection, Soil Conservation and Agri-environment of the National Food Chain Safety Office (NÉBIH NTAI) strives to ensure with new measures that the risk to bees and other pollinating organisms is minimized during the proper use of pesticides. This article provides an overview of the causes of recent bee deaths and of the authorization changes intended for the protection of pollinators. Bee protection measures serve not only the economic interests of beekeepers, but they also deal with food chain safety issues due to the appearance of pesticide residues in honey. For example, limiting the use of dimethoate has considerably reduced the dimethoate residue contamination of honey.

2. Introduction

Cultivated plants are endangered by a large number of harmful organisms, for example, disease-causing bacteria and fungi, pests and various weeds. Of course, the plant protection agents applied for the protection of commercial crops affect not only harmful species, but also useful and indifferent, so-called non-target organisms. Ever since pesticides has been used to control pests, it has been a cause for concern that chemicals applied to plants may have health-damaging effects on honey bees and wild bees. The pollinating activity of bees is indispensable for the economical and sustainable cultivation of many crops. In agriculture, the honey bee is undoubtedly the most important pollinating species. The importance of honey bees is increasing continuously, since the growing area of oilseed rape and sunflower in Hungary has been increasing over the last decade and bees play an important role in their pollination. In contrast, the growing area of fruit species important to bees has been decreasing [1].


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