Location
Cropping systems

Cropping systems

Pages

PE 026 - A study to review the scientific literature on the environmental risks of releasing non-native species of bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) for crop pollination

Start Date: 
01/05/2015

Commercially reared bumblebees of the species Bombus terrestris are used for pollination of a number of UK crops. These commercial supplies of bumblebees are all produced outside of the UK. The sub-species used for commercial pollination include the British native subspecies B t audax, and two non-native subspecies: B t terrestris and Bt dalmatinus.
A recent change in policy from Natural England has resulted in withdrawal of permission to release the non-native sub-species for crop pollination. This has been driven by new evidence from the scientific literature reporting to show risks to wild bumblebees from diseases transmitted by commercial bumblebees.
However, these findings have been disputed by the UK Tomato Growers Association.
The aim of this proposal is to provide an independent review of the scientific literature relevant to the effects of releasing non-native sub-species of bumblebees as pollinators in the UK. This will provide the industry with a “second opinion” on the environmental risks associated with the release of non-native bumblebees. Any new information identified, gaps in knowledge, or concerns about the quality of scientific evidence could be fed into government policy making, helping to ensure that any decisions made by government regulators on the licencing of non-native bumblebees is done on the basis of the best available evidence.

Pages