SSC Groups

Commercial Bumblebee Policy Statement

The IUCN BBSG issues the following statement addressing the serious risks posed by transport of bumblebees for commercial pollination


The global trade in bumblebee colonies for crop pollination, most notably of the European species Bombus terrestris, has resulted in the establishment of this bumblebee species far from its native range, for example in Japan, Chile and Argentina. Invasive, non-native bumblebee species pose multiple risks to native species, including: competition, hybridization resulting in loss of locally adapted ecotypes, and introduction of nonnative bee diseases. There is evidence that parasites from commercial bumblebees may have been irreversibly introduced to Japan, North America and South America, with potentially profound impacts on native bumblebees.

The IUCN BBSG considers that the commercial movement and deployment of bumblebees for pollination should be governed by the precautionary principle to prevent unintended harm. Local bumblebee species and subspecies should be targeted for commercial development and produced within their native ranges. All commercial bumblebees should be thoroughly screened for parasites by both producers and independent regulators. All use of commercial bumblebees should be controlled to eliminate the risk of escape from greenhouses.


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