Leverkusen, September 25, 2018 – No large-scale study has ever found a link between glyphosate and honey bee health issues. A new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences does not change that. This paper links the use of glyphosate to gut microbe problems in honey bees. The paper does not provide any evidence that the purported effects could have a negative impact on bee health under realistic field conditions. It is also questionable whether the concentrations of the substance tested could at all be absorbed by bee populations in the open over a relevant period of time. At the same time, this research team did not discuss these new findings in light of their previous work, according to which antibiotics that beekeepers use in their hives are the cause of altered gut microbe communities in honey bees.
Furthermore, the paper relied on a relatively small number of individual bees which were tested. However, it is only possible to provide a realistic assessment of the extent to which the observed effects might play a role in a real-life scenario by conducting studies with entire bee colonies in the field. Furthermore, regulatory studies on pesticides have to follow strict international guidelines developed by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and other international organizations and include endpoints that are relevant to the protection of honey bees. The published paper does not meet the criteria stipulated in these guidelines.
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