Biopesticides and insect pollinators: what can happen in the near future


Biopesticides and insect pollinators: what can happen in the near future

In 2009, the European Union issued Directive 128 establishing a framework for achieving sustainable use of pesticides by reducing their risks and impacts on human health and the environment and promoting the use of integrated pest management and alternative approaches or techniques.

, such as non-chemical alternatives to pesticides. Only plant protection products have been taken into consideration, they leave the sustainable use of biocides to other specific measures as well. National action plans have been envisaged through which each member state must define its own quantitative objectives, objectives, measures and times for reducing the risks and impacts of the use of pesticides on human health and the environment and for encourage the development and introduction of integrated pest management and alternative approaches or techniques in order to reduce dependence on the use of pesticides.

The objectives may relate to different areas of interest, such as worker protection, environmental protection, residues, the use of specific techniques or use in specific crops. The research Biopesticides and insect pollinators: Detrimental effects, outdated guidelines, and future directions, published on the The Science of the total environment, explained: "As synthetic pesticides play a major role in pollinator decline worldwide, biopesticides have been gaining increased attention to develop more sustainable methods for pest management in agriculture.

These biocontrol agents are usually considered as safe for non-target species, such as pollinators. Unfortunately, when it comes to non-target insects, only the acute or chronic effects on survival following exposure to biopesticides are tested.

Although international boards have highlighted the need to include also behavioral and morphophysiological traits when assessing risks of plant protection products on pollinators, no substantial concerns have been raised about the risks associated with sublethal exposure to these substances.

Here, we provide a comprehensive review of the studies investigating the potenti al adverse effects of biopesticides on different taxa of pollinators (bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, and wasps). We highlight the fragmentary knowledge on this topic and the lack of a systematic investigation of these negative effects of biopesticides on insect pollinators.

We show that all the major classes of biopesticides, besides their direct toxicity, can also cause a plethora of more subtle detrimental effects in both solitary and social species of pollinators. Although research in this field is growing, the current risk assesment approach does not suffice to properly assess all the potential side-effects that these agents of control may have on pollinating insects.

Given the urgent need for a sustainable agriculture and wildlife protection, it appears compelling that these so far neglected detrimental effects should be thoroughly assessed before allegedly safe biopesticides can be used in the field and, in this view, we provide a perspective for future directions."