, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 8–11 | Cite as

Large-scale monitoring of effects of clothianidin-dressed oilseed rape seeds on pollinating insects in Northern Germany: justification of study design and statistical analysis

  • Fred Heimbach
  • Zhenglei Gao
  • Wolfgang Blenau
  • Hans-Toni Ratte
Letter to the Editor

The commentary by Bailey and Greenwood makes several strong criticisms of the monitoring study of Heimbach et al. (2016), which are not applicable or misleading. These misrepresentations include the claim that the experimental design of this study was inappropriate and that the statistical analysis in the way it was conducted was senseless. Methods have been described in detail by Heimbach et al. (2016); Peters et al. (2016); Rolke et al. (2016a; b); Sterk et al. (2016) and the aspect of “pseudoreplication” has been discussed in Heimbach et al. (2016) and in detail in Rolke et al. (2016a). Therefore the criticism of Bailey and Greenwood does not add new facts to the scientific audience, overall. With this letter, we respond to the points of criticism discussing basic aspects of the study.

Project area

To confirm findings of various field studies on the effects of clothianidin on pollinators performed under different agricultural conditions, a monitoring study was conducted in...



Funding of all expenses for the original monitoring study was through Bayer CropScience AG (Monheim, Germany). However, this response letter has not been funded by Bayer.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

In the meantime, ZG got employed by Bayer AG that sells products containing clothianidin. The other authors declare that they have no competing interests. Although the design of the original monitoring study was discussed with the sponsor (Bayer CropScience), they had no role in the implementation, data collection and interpretation of results. The content of this letter was also discussed with statistics experts of Bayer AG.

Ethical approval

This letter does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.tier3 solutions GmbHLeverkusenGermany
  2. 2.tier3 solutions GmbHLeverkusenGermany
  3. 3.Institut für Bienenkunde (Polytechnische Gesellschaft)Goethe University FrankfurtOberurselGermany
  4. 4.Aachen University of Technology (RWTH)Institute for Environmental ResearchAachenGermany

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