2. Common terms and abbreviations

Here are some abbreviations and definition of terms used in this manuscript listed in alphabetical order.

Acute oral toxicity: the adverse effects occurring within a maximum period of 96 h of an oral administration of a single dose of test substance.

Acute contact toxicity: the adverse effects occurring within a maximum period of 96 h of a topical application of a single dose of test substance.

AI: active ingredient - the substance composing a commercial formulation of a pesticide which has the desired effects on target organisms.

BFD: Brood area Fixing Day (see sections 5.2.2. and 5.2.3.)

CEB: Biological Tests Commission (Commission des Essais Biologiques), of the French Plant Protection Association (AFPP - Association Française de Protection des Plantes)

Dose (contact): the amount of test substance applied. Dose is expressed as mass (µg) of test substance per test animal (honey bee) or per mg body weight (in non-Apis bees).

Dose (oral): the amount of test substance consumed. Dose is expressed as mass (µg) of test substance per test animal (honey bee), or per mg body weight (in non-Apis bees). In tests with bulk administration the real dose for each bee cannot be calculated as the bees are fed collectively, but an average dose can be estimated (total test substance consumed/number of test bees in one cage).

EEC: European Economic Community.

ED50: median effective dose - term extending LD50 (see below in this section) to the effects other than mortality, e.g. behaviour (see Table 1 and Scheiner et al., 2013)

EFSA: European Food Safety Authority - an agency of European Union (EU) risk assessment regarding food and feed safety. In close collaboration with national authorities and in open consultation with its stakeholders, EFSA provides independent scientific and clear communication on existing and emerging risks. (from: EFSA)

EPPO: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation - an intergovernmental organisation responsible for European cooperation in plant protection in the European and Mediterranean region. EPPO’s objectives are to: (1) protect plants; (2) develop international strategies against the introduction and spread of dangerous pests; and (3) promote safe and effective control methods. EPPO has developed international standards and recommendations on phytosanitary measures, good plant protection practices and on the assessment of PPPs. (from: Wikipedia)

GAP: Good Agricultural Practices - specific methods which, when applied to agriculture, create food for consumers or further processing that is safe and wholesome. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) uses GAP as a collection of principles to apply for on-farm production and post-production processes, resulting in safe and healthy food and non-food agricultural products, while taking into account economic, social and environmental sustainability.

GLP: Good Laboratory Practices - a set of principles that provides a framework within which laboratory studies are planned, performed, monitored, recorded, reported and archived. These studies are undertaken to generate data by which the hazards and risks to users, consumers and third parties, including the environment, can be assessed for pharmaceuticals (only preclinical studies), agrochemicals, cosmetics, food additives, feed additives and contaminants, novel foods, biocides, detergents etc. GLP helps assure regulatory authorities that the data submitted are a true reflection of the results obtained during the study and can therefore be relied upon when making risk/safety assessments. (from: Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency-UK)

HQ: Hazard Quotient. See section

ICPPR: International Commission for Plant-Pollinator Relationships (formerly ICPBR: International Commission for Plant-Bee Relationships) - an international commission aimed to: (1) promote and coordinate research on the relationships between plants and pollinators of all types. (insect-pollinated plants, bee foraging behaviour, effects of pollinator visits on plants, management and protection of insect pollinators, bee collected materials from plants, products derived from plants and modified by bees); (2) organise meetings, colloquia or symposia related to the above topics and to publish and distribute the proceedings; and (3) collaborate closely with national and international institutions interested in the relationships between plants and bees, particularly those whose objectives are to expand scientific knowledge of animal and plant ecology and fauna protection.

IGR: Insect Growth Regulator - a chemical substance used as an insecticide that inhibits the life cycle of an insect. Normally the IGRs target juvenile harmful insect populations while cause less detrimental effects to beneficial insects.

LD50 / LC50: median lethal dose / concentration - a statistically derived single dose /concentration of a substance that can cause death in 50% of animals when administered by the contact or oral route (according to the test), or combined (like in brood test). The LD50 value is expressed in µg of test substance per test animal (honey bee), or per mg body weight (in non-Apis bees). The LC50 value is expressed in concentration units, like mg of test substance / kg or L of the diet (pollen, syrup, honey). For pesticides, the test substance may be either an AI or a formulated product containing one or more than one AI. See section

Moribund bee: a bee is considered moribund when it is not dead (it still moves) but is not able to deambulate actively and in an apparently “normal” way.

Mortality: an animal is recorded as dead when it is completely immobile upon prodding (Ffrench-Constant and Rouch, 1992).

NOAEC: Non Observable Adverse Effect Concentration. See section 8.4.3.

NOAEL/NOAED: Non Observable Adverse Effect Level/Dose (these are two synonyms). See section 8.4.3.

OECD: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development - an international economic organisation of 34 countries aimed to stimulate economic progress and world trade.

PER test: Proboscis Extension Reflex (see Scheiner et al., 2013)

PPP: Plant Protection Product - active ingredient of a chemical or biological nature and preparation containing one or more active ingredients, or formulated preparation of microorganisms, put up in the form in which it is supplied to the user, intended to: (1) protect plants or plant products against all harmful organisms or prevent the action of such organisms; (2) influence the life processes of plants, other than as a nutrient, (e.g. growth regulators); (3) preserve plant products; (4) destroy undesired plants; or (5) destroy parts of plants, check or prevent undesired growth of plants.

PPPs include: fungicides, bactericides, insecticides, acaricides, nematicides, rodenticides, herbicides, molluscicides, virucides, soil fumigants, insect attractants (e.g. pheromones used in control strategies), repellents (bird, wild life, rodent, insect repellents), stored product protectants, plant growth regulators, products to improve plant resistance to pests, products to inhibit germination, products to eliminate aquatic plants and algae, desiccants and defoliants to destroy parts of plants, products to assist wound healing, products to preserve plants or plant parts after harvest, timber preservatives (for fresh wood), additives to sprays to improve the action of any other PPP, additives to reduce the phytotoxicity of any other PPP. They do not include: fertilizers, timber preservatives (for dried wood). (from: EEC and EPPO)

RQ: Risk Quotient. See section

SSST: Systemic product as Seed and Soil Treatment

Sub-lethal dose/concentration: the dose/concentration inducing no statistically significant mortality.

Sub-lethal effects: the effects of a factor (e.g. intoxication) which was administered at such a low level that the mortality was not significantly higher than in negative reference. These (generally negative) effects can have either behavioural (disorientation, problems with memory, etc.) or physiological nature (pharyngeal gland development impairment, thermoregulation problems, etc.).

TER: Toxicity Exposure Ratio – the ratio between a toxicity index (LD50, LC50, NOAEL…) and the predicted bee exposure in field conditions following a treatment.

Table 1. Possible honey bee behavioural effects due to exposure to pesticides in individual tests. Note: “freeze” and “paralysis” bees may be recorded as dead bees at a certain point and later as living bees.


Looks like

To be recorded as:


Immobile, no reaction to stimuli such as touching with forceps

Mortality, number of bees

No effect

Bees having normal behaviour

NE, number of bees observed


Motionless bees caught in action and looking active such as attached to feeder, standing on the floor but actually completely inactive.

F, number of bees observed


Motionless on the floor of the test cage, responding to stimuli by moving leg, antenna etc.

P, number of bees observed


Crawling bees, movement uncoordinated

S, number of bees observed