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Impact Of Crop Protection Products On Honeybees

Our position.

  • Both honeybees and plant protection products play a crucial role in the production of agricultural goods. It is in BASF‘s own interests to ensure that the responsible and correct use of its products - within the broader framework of sustainable agriculture - is compatible with beekeeping.

  • BASF understands concerns about declines in pollinators and possible connections to modern agriculture practices. It is scientific consensus that pollinator health is affected by multiple and complex interlinked factors, including pests and diseases, hive management practices, nutrition, weather, agricultural practices, and the availability of adequate habitats for wild pollinators. We are working with many groups to better understand the complex interplay of factors which contribute to declining populations of bees and other insects, and to seek solutions that balance safety, effectiveness and biodiversity goals.

  • As BASF is committed to bee health, we:
    • actively contribute to international scientific working groups (e.g., International Commission for Plant-Pollinator Relationships -ICPPR) to support general research on pollinators, specifically the development of new test methodologies to address the risk of plant protection products to bees.
    • support biodiversity projects, designed to improve the habitat’s quality and bee health by facilitating nutritional resources for bees, insects, and other wildlife species (e.g., the BASF Farm Network or research projects like the German BienABest).
  • Our crop protection products undergo many years of extensive and stringent testing to ensure that there are no adverse impacts to the environment, including honeybees. Tests meet or exceed regulatory standards. Regulatory authorities carefully evaluate such studies before they approve a product to be marketed. Also, for Genetically Modified Plants, the protection of bees is part of the development, testing and approval system.

  • Obligatory risk mitigation measures are applied for the safe use of pesticides. Depending on the product, these measures can be for instance:
    • buffer zones between treated and natural areas
    • use of specific nozzles to minimize spray drift to adjacent areas
    • use of special machinery for treated seeds to minimize product abrasion and dust drift
    • application only allowed during certain times (e.g., only at night when no bees are flying any more)

  • In addition to regulatory requirements, BASF has also defined and implemented product stewardship measures, which contribute to the protection of honeybees (i.e., appropriate labeling, training, correct application technology and quality charters). Additional measures taken by the farmer on his land can enhance insect biodiversity without decreasing crop yield. For example, flowering strips provide habitat and food sources for pollinators and other insects.

  • As a key partner, BASF supports several joint initiatives to support bee health, involving beekeeper associations, research institutes, and governmental authorities. BASF remains committed to continuing dialogue with and support to stakeholders in these areas.