Risk mitigation measures for seed treatments using neonicotinoids


  • Rolf Forster




Background: In 2008 the poisoning of about 12000 bee colonies was reported in Germany. These poisonings were caused by the drift of dust particles containing the insecticidal substance clothianidin following the seeding of maize, treated with the insecticide Poncho Pro. Dust abrasion from coated seeds occurred because of inadequate seed dressing quality, resulting in high quantities of dust emitted into the environment. In order to cover this specific risk, Regulation (EC) No. 1107/2009 provides for special arrangements for the placing on the market of treated seeds. In addition, the Commission Directive 2010/21/EU lays down specific provisions relating to certain neonicotinoids and fipronil for seed coating and seeding.

Results: According to these provisions the German authorities applied risk mitigation measures in the form of specific labels for certain products and seed bags of treated seeds.

Conclusions: Dust within seed bags and drift from seeding actions is a common phenomenon for a number of crops. However, the quantity within the seed bags and the emission of dust can be reduced significantly by technical means (e.g. treatment recipe, facility equipment, deflector technique) and by additional mitigation measures (e.g. max. wind speed). These can be established within the authorization procedure by the Member States.

Keywords: honeybee, poisoning, seed treatment, dust, guttation, risk mitigation






I. Regulatory issues: honey bee risk for pesticides in Europe