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Volume 32, Number 5, September-October 2001
Page(s) 399 - 406
DOI: 10.1051/apido:2001139

Apidologie 32 (2001) 399-406

Review of the methods to determine the hazard and toxicity of pesticides to bumblebees

Jozef J.M. van der Steen

Applied Plant Research section Bees, Ambrosiusweg 1, 5081 NV Hilvarenbeek, The Netherlands

(Received 20 September 2000; revised 4 April 2001; accepted 21 June 2001)

Methods to determine the impact of pesticides on bumblebees are described. They are classified into laboratory tests to determine the acute toxicity and the hazard to bumblebees, (semi) field tests, and brood tests. The reproducibility and the significance of the data for practical purpose are discussed. Standardized laboratory toxicity tests supply reproducible data. In hazard tests, both in the laboratory and semi field tests, the exposure is not proportionate to the number of adult insects and the brood. Field tests provide realistic data on the hazard of a pesticide to bumblebee colonies but when the results are interpreted it must be taken in account that the test plot is only a portion of the total foraging area of a bumblebee colony. In a brood nest, due to the disorderly structure, only major effects can be recognized. Laboratory rearing of bumblebee brood should be developed to produce a standardized brood test that supplies reproducible data.

Key words: Bombus terrestris / pesticides / toxicity / LD50 tests / laboratory test / semi field tests / brood test / sublethal effect

Correspondence and reprints: Jozef J.M. van der Steen

© INRA, EDP Sciences, DIB, AGIB 2001