Honeybees are facing a number of challenges. These are a combination of climate change, pesticide exposure, poor nutrition, and, specifically, poor hive management by beekeepers and exposure to Varroa mite infestation.
Some, however, claim that exposure to glyphosate concentrations found in agro-ecosystems can impact negatively on honeybees.
While these claims have been widely covered in the media, the scientific facts tell a different story. When approving pesticides such as glyphosate-based weedkillers for use, the US Environmental Protection Agency carefully considers the effects these might have on non-pest organisms, including honeybees.
Their risk assessments concluded that glyphosate is not toxic for honeybees. Their findings are backed by a 2014 study carried out by US scientists entitled ‘Evaluating exposure and potential effects on honeybee brood development using glyphosate as an example’.
The study found that: “No adverse effects on adult bees or bee brood development were observed in any of the glyphosate-treated colonies.” Similarly, an Australian brood study has also demonstrated that glyphosate has no impact on honeybees.
These results have been further confirmed by a bee brood study conducted to meet the current EU testing requirements for the glyphosate authorisation renewal. In fact, no large-scale study has found any link between glyphosate and the decline of the honeybee population.