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ECHA’s new guidance paves way for better protection of bees from biocides


The guidance helps companies and authorities assess the risks to bees from biocidal active substances and products. It is part of wider EU initiatives that aim to reverse pollinator decline by 2030 and preserve biodiversity.

Helsinki, 14 February 2024 – ECHA’s guidance document presents an approach to assess the risks of biocides to honey bees, bumble bees and solitary bees, based on the latest scientific knowledge. It addresses uses of products such as insecticides and acaricides (product-type 18). Substances in these products may, for example, harm the bees’ nervous system and weaken their immune system, so that they are more susceptible to diseases.

The guidance will assist companies applying for active substance approvals or product authorisations under the EU’s Biocidal Products Regulation to conduct the risk assessment for their applications. It also explains the guiding principles for authorities to evaluate applications and to conclude on a biocidal product’s compliance with the authorisation conditions.

Peter van der Zandt, ECHA’s Director for Risk Management said:

“Certain chemicals used in products such as insecticides have been identified as a cause for decline in pollinator populations alongside climate change and habitat loss. This guidance will take companies and authorities one step closer to better protecting bees, that are essential for people and the planet.”

ECHA will host a webinar on the guidance on 5 March from 11:00 to 13:00 Helsinki time. During the event, experts involved in preparing the document will give an overview of its content and respond to questions from participants.

The European Commission and EU Member States will decide at a later stage when the guidance needs to be applied in the assessment of biocides.


In 2019, the European Commission requested ECHA to develop a guidance for assessing how biocides exposure affects arthropod pollinators, including bees. This has been done as part of actions under the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 and the Pollinators Initiative. The current guidance focuses only on bees due to the lack of data on non-bee pollinators.

The guidance was developed together with a group of experts from different Member States, and with support from stakeholder organisations. It is aligned with the guidance from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on the risk assessment of plant protection products on bees, published in May 2023.

Press contact: Hanna-Kaisa Torkkeli,, +358 50 416 8585