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Archived Latest News April 2013



Photograph: Michael Kooren/Reuters

Bee-harming pesticides banned in Europe

EU member states vote ushers in continent-wide suspension of neonicotinoid pesticides

Damian Carrington

The Guardian, Monday 29 April 2013 11.05 EDT

Europe will enforce the world's first continent-wide ban on widely used insecticides alleged to cause serious harm to bees, after a European commission vote on Monday.

The suspension is a landmark victory for millions of environmental campaigners, backed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), concerned about a dramatic decline in the bee population. The vote also represents a serious setback for the chemical producers who make billions each year from the products and also UK ministers, who voted against the ban. Both had argued the ban would harm food production. Read More




EU Votes To Ban Neonics, but Barely

Alan Harman

A deeply divided European Union will go ahead with a ban on the use of three neonicotinoid insecticides – clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam – blamed by critics for the decline in honey bee number.

The EU Commission will proceed with the suspension of their use from next Dec, 1 after 15 EU countries supported the restriction, eight voted against and 4 abstained.

The halt will be for at least two years.

"Although a majority of Member States now supports our proposal, the necessary qualified majority was not reached,” Health and Consumer Commissioner Tonio Borg said in a statement. "The decision now lies with the Commission. Since our proposal is based on a number of risks to bee health identified by the European Food Safety Authority, the Commission will go ahead with its text in the coming weeks. Read More




 Bee Informed Partnership
Take The Survey...Deadline Extended

Due to an overwhelming request from northern and western beekeepers who have not had adequate good weather opportunities to inspect all their colonies, the Bee Informed Partnership is extending the National Online Winter Loss and Management Survey until April 30th.It is hoped this allows many more beekeepers to participate and join the thousands who have already participated.All beekeepers are encouraged to take the survey and Bee Culture and Bee Informed thanks those who have already taken the time to join the team!

Click the link and take the survey!




National Pollinator Defense Fund 

Hires Program Director  

April 11, 2013   


The National Pollinator Defense Fund (NPDF) has hired Michele Colopy as their Program Director.  This new nonprofit, begun by members of the America Honey Producers Association, will defend managed and native pollinators vital to a sustainable and affordable food supply from the adverse impacts of pesticides. 

Ms. Colopy has more than seventeen years of experience in a variety of nonprofit organizations, and holds a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from The University of Akron.  Her nonprofit experience includes work in the performing arts, housing and homelessness, foreclosure prevention, community development, and health and wellness. 

Michele has experience with bees as well, as her father was a beekeeper in Ohio, and she helped him during the honey harvest. 

For more information about the National Pollinator Defense Fund contact,, or call 832-727-9492.





The bee hero: Fighting the largest die-off of bees in U.S. history


By John M. Glionna April 10, 2013

This being Utah, the self-proclaimed Beehive State, Darren Cox is an expert in -- what else -- bees.

Civic fathers use the term for the population’s strong work ethic, but Cox deals with the stinging, honey-producing real McCoy.

Now the fourth-generation bee farmer is trying to use his recognition as this year's national beekeeper of the year to focus attention on a major threat to the industry: colony collapse disorder.

Cox, 48, who lives in Logan but has 5,000 hives in Utah, California’s Central Valley and Wyoming, received the award from the American Honey Producers Assn. earlier this year.

This year, the die-off at Cox’s hives topped 70%, part of a nationwide trend he calls the largest die-off of bees in U.S. history. So what’s killing all those insects?

Read More




Pesticide blamed for declining bee population

April 9, 2013 7:18 PM

CAMARILLO, Calif. - For the food we it, we depend on something else most of us don't think about -- bees. Without them, the agriculture industry estimates that one-third of the food we eat would disappear. But right now, it's the bees that are disappearing.

Overall this winter time we lost close to 3,000 beehives," said commercial beekeeper Larry Pender. He has just 1,800 hives now and hires them out to pollinate fruits, vegetables and nuts on 70 farms across the west, like this blueberry farm near L.A

 Read More



 Bee Industry Hosts US EPA for Tour of Almond Pollination Sites

Dead Bees and Empty Hives Show the Extent of the Losses

Oakdale, CA — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Administrator, Jim Jones spent a day with beekeepers and almond growers to learn more about this year’s massive colony losses, and beekeepers’ concerns about the role of pesticides in the decline. The National Pollinator Defense Fund (NPDF) Board provided Jones with a view of the disaster from inside the hive. It was not a pretty picture. Dead hives littered the landscape at one bee yard, and even the hives with bees in them were not at full strength.

"I started out last spring in the Midwest with 3,150 healthy bee colonies; of which 992 still survive, and most of those are very weak. More than 2,150 of my valuable bee colonies are now just gone,” said Jeff Anderson, third generation beekeeper, and owner of California-Minnesota Honey Farms where the tour began.

Escalating colony losses are making replacement difficult. In the meantime, without bees, they are unable to fulfill pollination contracts or make honey. Beekeepers are not alone—growers of almonds, cherries, apples, pears, berries, melons, and other fruits, vegetables, and field crops stand to lose as well, since their yields will be lower without good pollination. Almond growers are paying a premium price this year for bees. The supply isn’t enough to ensure good pollination and fruit set. "The industry’s ability to pollinate almonds this year is severely compromised because of colony failures. I expect that next year may be worse,” said Bret Adee, NPDF President, and owner of Adee Honey Farms. "Many beekeepers will just not be able to recover from these losses.”

This is EPA’s second visit this year to the almond orchards. In early March, Anita Pease, Associate Director of Environmental Fate and Effects Division with the Office of Pesticide Programs, spent the day touring beekeeping operations with NPDF board members Bret Adee, Jeff Anderson, Darren Cox, and Zac Browning. They were joined by U.S. Department of Agriculture bee researchers Jeff Pettis and Dennis Van Englesdorp; American Honey Producers President, Randy Verhoek, and American Beekeeping Federation President, George Hansen, and Board member, Gene Brandi.

The National Honey Bee Advisory Board (NHBAB) and the Almond Board helped the NPDF coordinate Jim Jones’ visit. Jones is head of the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) at U.S. EPA in Washington, D.C., one of the 12 main offices under the head of the EPA. OCSPP is the part of EPA that oversees the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) that is responsible for registering pesticides, and ensuring that "no unreasonable adverse effects” will result from pesticide use.

In spite of OPP’s mandate, pesticides continue to kill bees. Acute kills from illegal sprays on blooming crops or weeds are part of the problem. Jeremy Anderson, fourth-generation beekeeper, noted "Many insecticide labels disallow spraying blooming crops; but if it happens, penalties for violating the rules are few and far between. Just an acute exposure is enough to kill honey bees.”

After opening many of the hives and viewing sick honey bees, Jones was able to discern the difference between healthy honey bees, and a sick hive. He also heard from beekeepers there is a serious need for better enforcement of label restrictions. "There are no consequences for applying pesticides near beehives—state lead agencies responsible for enforcement usually do not investigate honey bee kills,” Anderson said.

"We’re pleased to see Jim Jones visit the almond orchards, growers, and beekeepers. He understands the need for sustainable pollinators. The EPA understands that the bee industry is in extreme critical condition at a tipping point. He is evaluating the way EPA enforces pesticide laws. Pollinators and beekeepers can’t continue to be on the receiving end of the losses, or the U.S. won’t have a beekeeping industry,” said Darren Cox, a fourth-generation beekeeper from Utah who brings bees to California for almond pollination. Jim Jones stated he wants to bring all of the stakeholders together to work on this issue.

Beekeepers are also concerned about pesticide exposures that don’t kill the bees outright, but may affect their ability to thrive. The bee industry is concerned several classes of insecticides, including systemic neonicotinoids and pyrethroids, and some fungicides and growth regulators may impair the immune system, causing queen or brood failure, compromising homing abilities of forager bees, and/or disrupting communications within the hive, all of which contribute to colony loss. We strongly urge the EPA to re-evaluate these compounds long term using tier testing protocols that can give us the answers we need to mitigate losses.

Some pesticides are long-lived and persistent in the environment. The pyrethroid pesticides are found in the wax of most hives that have spent time in agricultural areas. Neonicotinoids are more frequently found in the nectar and pollen stores in the hive. A recent study of more than 800 hives from Pennsylvania State University found an average of six different pesticides, and as many as 39 in a single hive. In the paper, the authors noted: "We concluded that the 98 pesticides and metabolites detected in mixtures up to 214 ppm in bee pollen alone represented a remarkably high level for toxicants in the food of brood and adults. While exposure to many of these neurotoxicants elicits acute and sublethal reductions in honey bee fitness, the effects of these materials in combinations, and their direct involvement in Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) remain to be determined.”

The National Pollinator Defense Fund’s mission is to defend managed and native pollinators vital to a sustainable and affordable food supply from the adverse impacts of pesticides. For more information contact us at



Calamity for Our Most Beneficent Insect

Published: April 6, 2013

Every beekeeper, small or large, hobbyist or commercial, knows that honeybees are in trouble. Over the past decade, bee colonies have been dying in increasing numbers. Last year was especially bad. Perhaps as many as half the hives kept by commercial beekeepers died in 2012. The loss has created a crisis among fruit and vegetable growers, who depend on bees to pollinate their crops.

Last year, researchers identified a virus as a major cause of the die-off; the latest suspect is a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids, which are used to protect common agricultural seeds, including corn. The insecticides are systemic, which means they persist throughout the life of the plant. Scientists have demonstrated that exposure to these chemicals damages bees’ brain function, including their ability to home in on the hive.

Read More



Deepening honey bee crisis creates worry over food supply

Honey bees have been dying in large numbers in recent years, and there's new evidence of a drastic increase in the death rate. Some experts say the latest population drop poses a threat to our nation's food supply.

According to commercial beekeeper James Doan, "A third of all our food is pollinated by honey bees."

Doan makes a living renting out thousands of hives to farmers up and down the East Coast. His bees are part of a crucial lifeblood to U.S. agriculture. Doan said, "I think people just need to really be aware that bees are so important, not just for honey production, but for pollination in the United States."

 View Video




Bee die-off a threat to U.S. food supply

By Rick Wills

Beekeepers say a mysterious years-long die-off of honeybees reached crisis levels this winter, and scientists warn the phenomenon could begin to cut the nation's food supply.

"This is not just a problem for us beekeepers. It eventually could be a problem for anyone who eats,” said beekeeper Dale Bauer of Fertile, Minn., who estimates that half of his 15,000 bee colonies died during the winter.

It's an increasing concern for them and those who grow dozens of agricultural products that bees pollinate: asparagus, broccoli, celery, squash, citrus fruits, peaches, blueberries, strawberries and melons.

Read More


Visalia Times-Delta



 Bee colony decline stings Tulare County almond growers

written by David Castellon

Charlie Pitigliano and his family may own their almond grove, but the Pixley-area farmer knows that without millions of helpers, those trees wouldn’t produce any nuts.

"The bee is our backbone of the almond industry — besides water, of course,” he said. The insects spread pollen from almond bloom to almond bloom in their hunt for nectar, and that pollen allows those blooms to become nuts.

But for Pitigliano and some of his fellow almond growers in Tulare County and other parts of California, the honey bees they need have been in short supply.

 Read More




 AAPCO-Association of American Pesticide Control Officials Inc.

AHPA President Randy Verhoek was invited to give a presentation to APPCO March 20, 2013.  

Steve Bradbury, Director for EPA’s  Office of Pesticide Programs gave an accurate synopsis of the condition of this year’s honey bees for the 2013 almond pollination season.  EPA is well aware of what is going on in the bee industry as a direct result of the two EPA almond tours this past month.

I give credit to Tom Steeger, a Senior Scientist from EPA’s Environmental Fate and Effects Division for the communication to the group for the need for investigators to take honeybee kills seriously and to do prompt and  thorough investigations when they are reported. He advised the group that he has been having beekeepers reporting directly with him on account of fear or retaliation. Therefore, he advised the State Lead Agents to do proper investigations as well as file reports with the National Pesticide Information Center.

If you have a pesticide related bee kill please report it to the NPIC by going to the following link.





April 2, 2013

Is California’s largest cash export crop threatened? Honeybees are being trucked in to pollinate thousands of almond trees but the bees are  dying. And the almond crop is just the beginning. Bees are supposed to  be pollinating fruit crops all over the country, but this year, some  experts are saying, there may not be enough bees left. 

 Read More



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Cassie Cox
Executive Secretary
PO Box 435
Mendon, UT 84325