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Safety & Efficacy Testing

Commercial Studies

Over the past twenty years the NBU laboratory team have developed and conducted a wide range of ecotoxicological tests designed to assess the safety of both active ingredients and formulated products in relation to honeybees.  Many of these tests are run in accordance with internationally recognised guidelines.  In addition to safety testing the NBU is also experienced in the design and running of efficacy testing for Veterinary products for use in honeybees (for example potential new varroacides). The data generated from these tests can be used to support registration packages for new Plant Protection Products  (Regulation 91/414/EC) or Veterinary Medicines.

Our Quality Standards

The NBU laboratory has full IS09001 and Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) compliance, a quality accreditation system regulated by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), part of the Department of Health (DOH). All work undertaken in the NBU is carried out to GLP standards, whether regulatory or non-regulatory, ensuring that our customers benefit from a consistent, tightly manged and well documented approach to work.

Testing Available

Testing Available

The NBU is able to offer a range of tests to evaluate safety and efficacy, from the more routine laboratory studies, to more advanced Semi-Field (Cage) studies right up to full scale field tests.  The state of the art facilities at the Fera site in Sand Hutton give us access to not only laboratories but to controlled environment rooms, poly tunnels and climate controlled glasshouses.  Our network of Appointed Bee Inspectors gives us a wide range of access to field sites throughout the UK.  All of the honeybee work is supported by our professionally managed 150+ colonies of bees giving a large capacity for work.
Examples of some of the available tests:

1. Honey Bee Acute Contact and Oral Laboratory Toxicity test
LD­50 test with the active substance or product conducted in the laboratory according to the methods described in:    

  • EPPO guideline 170: "Guideline for evaluating the hazards of pesticides to honeybees, Apis mellifera"
  • OECD 213: Guidelines for the testing of chemicals; Honeybees, Acute Oral Toxicity Test.
  • OECD 214: Guidelines for the testing of chemicals; Honeybees, Acute Contact Toxicity Test.

2. Honey Bee Brood Study
There are no official guidelines for these tests  but there is a guidance document and  internationally accepted protocols for the assessment, used for honeybee brood testing.

  • OECD (2007): Guidance document on the honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) brood test under semi-field conditions. OECD Environment, Health and Safety Publications, Series on Testing and Assessment No. 75, ENV/JM/MONO (2007) 22
  • Oomen, P.A., De Ruijter, A. & van der Steen, J. (1992) Method for honeybee brood feeding tests with insect growth-regulating insecticides. Bulletin OEPP/EPPO Bulletin 22, 613-616. (Oomen et al., 1992).
  • Schur A, Tornier I, Brasse D, Mühlen W, Von der Ohe W, Wallner K and Wehling M, Honey bee brood ring-test in 2002: method fort the assessment of side effects of plant protection products on the honey bee brood under semi-field conditions. Bull Insectol 56(1): 91-96 (2003).

3. Acute contact Laboratory test to adult female Varroa destructor mites
LD­50 test with the active substance or product conducted in the laboratory according to established NBU test methods (No recognised Guidelines).

4. Varroa Field Efficacy Study
Field efficacy study, using formulated product in full honey bee colonies in field conditions. Based on the guidelines Veterinary Medicinal Products Controlling Varroa jacobsoni and Acarapis woodii parasitosis in Bees. (This  document has been reviewed and been issued for consultation a new version will be available soon). We also have the ability to conduct residue testing as part of this including in-house testing within the Fera laboratories.

This is just an outline of some of the tests available, there is a great deal of expertise throughout the team and we have experience in designing customer specific studies both within the UK and overseas.  Testing is not only resrricted to honeybees and varroa mites, we also have experience with bumble bees and other colleagues within the Environmental Risk Assessment Team work in many areas including ecotoxicological testing on a number of other non-target arthropod species.  If you are interested in any of the above services or would like to discuss specific requirements then please

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for further details.

Useful Contacts/Information