The abundance of pollinators is influenced by multiple factors, including biotic factors such as diseases, parasites, availability of food sources (and possible decline of food sources due to habitat fragmentation or habitat loss), and by abiotic factors such as climate change and pollutants. Although the alleged causes of honeybee mortality are still being examined, the widespread use of pesticides, including neonicotinoids to control insect pests, has contributed to the loss of these pollinators.
Bees@wur conducts research on behalf of the Dutch government into the side effects of plant protection products; the results of this research are used primarily to support government policy.
For example, refer to the article:
Blacquière et al (2012) Neonicotinoids in bees: a review on concentrations, side-effects and risk assessment. Ecotoxicology 21, 973-992.
Also as part of the policy support research project BIJ1 (In Dutch), a study was conducted in 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 into the side effects of plant protection products. Publications on this study are still in preparation.
The policy support research project into the side effects of plant protection products will be continued beginning in 2013 as part of the new policy support research programme Bees and Pollination (In Dutch).