ICPBR-Working Group Risks posed by dusts: overview of the area and recommendations

  • Rolf Forster
  • Hervé Giffard
  • Udo Heimbach
  • Jean-Michel Laporte
  • Johannes Lückmann
  • Alexander Nikolakis
  • Jens Pistorius
  • Christine Vergnet


Background: In 2008 the poisoning of about 12000 bee colonies was reported from Germany. These poisonings were caused by the drift of dust particles containing the insecticidal substance clothianidin following the seeding of maize seeds, inadequately treated with the insecticide Poncho Pro.

Results: Investigations were done on the dust load contained in seed packages of different crops, on the experimental abrasion of dust from treated seeds using the Heubach-Dustmeter as well as on the actual dust drift during the sowing operation of treated seeds with different machinery under field conditions. Resistance to abrasion of treated seeds and subsequent dust drift during sowing operations differ significantly between crops, coating recipes and facilities. Furthermore dust drift depends on particle size, sowing technology as well as on environmental conditions (e.g. wind speed, soil humidity).

Conclusions: The drift of dust from treated seeds may pose a risk to honeybees, which needs to be appropriately considered within the authorization process of pesticides. The total quantity of abraded dust as well as the actual emission of dust during the sowing operation can be significantly reduced by technical means (e.g. coating recipe and facility equipment, deflector technology) and by additional mitigation measures (e.g. maximum wind speed).

Keywords: honeybee, poisoning, risk, seed treatment, dust, drift

VII. Plenary discussion on regulatory issues and ICPBR working groups