Photograph: Michael Kooren/Reuters
pesticides banned in Europe
member states vote ushers in continent-wide suspension of neonicotinoid
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
CATCH THE BUZZ
EU Votes To Ban Neonics, but Barely
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
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
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
Michele has experience with bees as well, as her father was a
beekeeper in Ohio, and she helped him during the honey harvest.
information about the National Pollinator Defense Fund contact www.pollinatordefense.org, email@example.com, or call 832-727-9492.
hero: Fighting the largest die-off of bees in U.S. history
John M. Glionna
being Utah, the self-proclaimed Beehive State, Darren Cox is an expert in --
what else -- bees.
fathers use the term for the population’s strong work ethic, but Cox deals with
the stinging, honey-producing real McCoy.
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.
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
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
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
Bee Industry Hosts US EPA for Tour of Almond
Dead Bees and Empty Hives Show the Extent of the
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 www.pollinatordefense.org.
Calamity for Our Most Beneficent Insect
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
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
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."
a threat to U.S. food supply
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.
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.
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.
Bee colony decline stings Tulare County almond growers
written by David Castellon
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.
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.
AAPCO-Association of American Pesticide Control Officials Inc.
AHPA President Randy Verhoek was invited to give a
presentation to APPCO March 20, 2013.
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. http://npic.orst.edu/reportprob.html#app
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