Glyphosate Facts

Transparency on safety aspects and use of glyphosate-containing herbicides in Europe


Bees at risk?

Honeybees and other insects play a pivotal role in agriculture because many crops are not wind-pollinated but depend on pollinating insects. In addition, spiders and insects such as beetles and wasps feed on small herbivorous insects, which make them important biological pest control agents.

(© Angelika Wolter /

There has been much discussion about whether herbicides could harm important pollinators and other beneficial arthropods. Glyphosate and glyphosate-based formulations have been extensively tested in the laboratory and in the field to study their potential impact on insects.  The overall conclusion from these studies is that glyphosate-based formulations will not harm beneficial insect populations at field exposure levels.

Scientists found that honeybees and their brood were not affected by glyphosate or by glyphosate-based formulations. Nor were these products found to have any impact on beneficial arthropods such as ground predators (spiders and beetles). Several laboratory tests have suggested that glyphosate formulations could be harmful to some plant-dwelling species (e.g. parasitic wasps and predatory mites). However, these effects were only observed on artificial substrates such as glass and are not observed under more realistic conditions.

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Last update: 19 August 2013