This question touches on an important issue that is considered for all new GMO crop plants when they are reviewed by regulatory agencies in the United States and around the world. For plants modified to be protected against certain insect pests, assessments are conducted to determine whether nonpest species, such as bees and other beneficial organisms (earthworms, ladybugs, etc.), could suffer adverse effects. In the United States, data from these studies are submitted to EPA. In addition to the data submitted to EPA, developers of GMO crop plants submit field study data to USDA. These field studies examine whether the number and variety of grasshoppers, aphids, spiders, etc., differs between plots planted with the GMO crop and plots planted with the conventional crop. Data are also collected from these field studies to determine whether GMO crops are more or less susceptible to diseases and stresses, such as drought, heat or cold. Taken together, the data allow reviewers at regulatory agencies to assess the potential for adverse environmental impacts associated with the GMO crop. USDA posts all of the data GMO crop developers submit on its website (http://www.aphis.usda.gov/biotechnology/petitions_table_pending.shtml) and solicits public review and comment before making a final decision.
Insect-protected GMO crops have been cultivated commercially since 1997. According to the latest report from the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (www.isaaa.org), over 185 million acres of insect-protected GMO crops were planted around the world in 2013. The specificity of insect-protection traits and the extensive evaluations and reviews performed for each new GMO crop provide a high level of confidence that insect-protected GMO crops are not likely to cause adverse environmental impacts.