Risk mitigation measures (RMM) are part of the regulatory process (Regulation (EC) 1107/2009). They help to reduce adverse effects of agricultural practices on non-target organisms like bees. The demand of insect pollination in agriculture is increasing worldwide. On the other hand, pollinators are declining and their ecosystem service is at risk. Risk mitigation usually addresses honey bees, while efforts for non-managed bees were neglegible. In recent years, their contribution to crop pollination has been recognized as well as their individual needs on habitat. Bumblebees and solitary bees display a huge variety in life-history. Therefore, risk mitigation for honey bees cannot be transferred to other bee pollinators.
Risk mitigation for managed and non-managed bees
Some crops like fruit orchards or oilseed rape are especially attractive to bee pollinators. However, intense agriculture reduces pollinator diversity by habitat loss and fragmentation or pesticide applications. RMM like flowering strips, hedgerows and similar structures provide valuable habitat for pollinators, with both foraging and nesting resources. For implementing the most effective measures, BeeSafe analyses the crop system with regard to the existing pollinator fauna, their life-history and habitat needs. In addition, BeeSafe develops stewardship programs tailored for single groups (e.g. fruit growers in a specific region) or given as general recommendations.
An example: in early flowering fruit orchards like apples, solitary bees like Andrena sp. are main pollinators. These mining bees need nesting habitat near the foraging places, i.e. the crop. Ground cover connects natural habitat with the orchard. Depending on the management practices, it may be useful to create additional nesting opportunities to guarantee flower visitation all over the orchard. BeeSafe gives recommendations for a pollinator-friendly application regime to maintain the pollinator communities in the crop.