Risk Mitigation

 

Mitigating Exposure and Risk to Insect Pollinators

Mitigation measures can be an integral component of regulatory decisions, as they are used to balance the benefits of a pesticide with the risks that it may pose. Therefore, where it is identified that pesticide use may pose a potential risk to pollinators, mitigation options typically focus on the need to remove or reduce the potential for exposure to the pesticide.

 

Those who play a role in developing and implementing risk mitigation include regulatory agencies, agrochemical producers, distributors, field advisors, beekeepers and pesticide users, including growers and applicators. For risk mitigation to be effective, it must not only be well designed to address the target route of exposure, it must also be clearly articulated (for example, on the pesticide label or through training programs) so that it is equally and consistently understood and enforced.

 

With respect to bees and other insect pollinators, avoiding risk often means reducing the co-occurrence of the pesticide at a foraging source in bloom. Mitigating exposure and risk to an acceptable level can involve one or more of many variables associated with the nature of the pesticide product that is being considered, such as:

    • The chemical properties and environmental fate of a pesticide product;
    • The product formulation and application method;
    • The target pest(s) and therefore the crop(s) for which a product is intended for use; 
    • Application parameters of the pesticide (e.g. application rate, or number of applications);
    • The specificity of the pesticide to act on its target, related to its mode of action;
    • Whether the pesticide product is inherently toxic to a particular species (e.g., managed or non-managed species) or to a particular colony cast, (e.g., to the queen, or larvae).

 

Depending upon the nature of the risk, the exposure route, severity, or the frequency of exposure and risk that is expected, mitigating risk may include considerations that are beyond the nature of the pesticide product and consider the practices of the applicator, such as:

    • Timing restrictions for application (e.g., at night, or not during the blooming period of the target plant/crop);
    • Environmental conditions for exposure, (e.g., below a certain temperature, or below a certain wind speed);
    • Conditions for application, e.g. notification requirements.

 

When determining the appropriate level of risk mitigation, regulatory authorities must also consider the different means by which mitigation measures are communicated or conveyed to the pesticide user and can include label mitigation, non-label mitigation, and education programs including training, and/or stewardship efforts. 

 

Label mitigation

Non-label mitigation Education and Training