25 July 2013
antibiotic resistance drives expansion of Tetracyclines testing
amongst regulatory bodies about human resistance to common antibiotics is
driving expansion for veterinary residue testing. Amongst its findings the
recent joint European Food Safety Authority / European Centre for Disease
Prevention and Control Report on antimicrobial resistance data among zoonotic
and indicator bacteria in 2011 indicated high resistance to Tetracycline’s in Salmonella
isolates from humans.
In the wake of the
report Randox Food Diagnostics
will launch a generic Tetracyclines ELISA screening kit at the end of July to complement
their established multiplex arrays, based on innovative Biochip Array
used globally to reduce bacterial infections across all food producing animals,
but the firm will be releasing the ELISA firstly onto the honey market, with
validations for Meat, Seafood and Dairy products to follow closely.
Tetracyclines are used in major markets such as China, India & Mexico so
initial demand is expected to come from these key regions.
Diagnostics Business Manager Aaron Tohill said, "Trends show over the last few
years, that regulators have been increasingly concerned about developing human
antibiotic resistance via the food chain. For example in 2010 the US FDA
advised producers that antibiotics should be used solely for disease control,
phasing out growth promotion. Following that, in 2011 the EU embarked on a
major data study, and now with those findings published it is clear that industry
can expect further action.
"Although Biochip Array
Technology is trusted as a leading screening test for Tetracyclines within the
honey sector, we are aware that this market, as well as others demands a lower
volume solution. Reacting to that dynamic this new Immunoassay-based kit
provides a cost-effective screening solution for a wide variety of laboratories
and we are pleased to add it to our growing array of products.”
more info visit www.randoxfooddiagnostics.com
American Bee Journal
Honey Bee Gene
Targeting Offers System to Understand Food-related Behavior
On July 25th JoVE, the Journal of Visualized
Experiments will publish a new technique that will help scientists better
understand the genes that govern food-related behavior in honey bees. The
impact of this study could take scientists one-step closer toward understanding
— and perhaps changing — undesirable food-related behavior in humans via gene
technique has already helped to unravel [the] complex gene networks behind
biological processes and behavior, such as gustatory perception," said Dr.
Ying Wang of Arizona State University. She and a team of scientists are behind
the experiment, titled RNAi-mediated Double Gene Knockdown and Gustatory
Perception Measurement in Honey Bees. "Honey bees are much less complex
than mammals and humans, but [we] share many major genes," said Wang,
"therefore, honey bees have become an emerging system for us to understand
food related behavior in humans."
previous study, she found that carbohydrate metabolism and insulin pathway
genes were involved in honey bee gustatory perception. Her new article
introduces two strategies for targeting and simultaneously down-regulating
multiple genes in honey bees via RNA interference. This allows for further
research in examining the role of insulin metabolism in gustatory perception.
The team believes it will be important to understanding how insulin pathways
play a role in food-related behavior.
multiple gene knockdown method is a first in entomology, and it overcomes the
many shortfalls associated with typical single-gene targeting methods. A common
problem associated with single gene suppression is that it is not sufficient to
show the interrelationship of a gene network.
article published today, Wang's team has also provided a technique to measure
the resulting changes in honey bee behavior, and this has led them to
interesting observations. "Gustatory perception is a behavioral predictor
for honey bee social behavior," said Wang. A honey bee's sensitivity to
sugar predicts the food-choices and timing of foraging.
experiment opens the door for researchers to build upon her lab's techniques.
"We believe our double knockdown approach will be more recognized and
shared in the field when it is published in the video journal JoVE,"
luck, the impact will result in more than just high-tech pest control. It could
instead provide insight into human insulin pathways, potentially giving us an
opportunity to learn how to control human dietary behavior.
American Bee Journal
Chemicals Shown to Impair Honey Bees' Health
First study of real world conditions for crop-pollinating honey bees
In a study of real-world conditions encountered by
honey bees as they pollinate crops, researchers gathered pollen from commercial
beehives placed in farm fields in the Northeastern US. Here the scientists take
pollen samples from bees pollinating Maine blueberries. Credit:
COLLEGE PARK, MD - Commercial honey bees used to
pollinate crops are exposed to a wide variety of agricultural chemicals,
including common fungicides which impair the bees' ability to fight off a
potentially lethal parasite, according to a new study by researchers at the
University of Maryland and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The study, published July 24 in the online journal PLOS
ONE, is the first analysis of real-world conditions encountered by honey
bees as their hives pollinate a wide range of crops, from apples to
The researchers collected pollen from honey bee
hives in fields from Delaware to Maine. They analyzed the samples to find out
which flowering plants were the bees' main pollen sources and what agricultural
chemicals were commingled with the pollen. The researchers fed the
pesticide-laden pollen samples to healthy bees, which were then tested for
their ability to resist infection with Nosema ceranae – a parasite of
adult honey bees that has been linked to a lethal phenomenon known as colony
On average, the pollen samples contained 9 different
agricultural chemicals, including fungicides, insecticides, herbicides and
miticides. Sublethal levels of multiple agricultural chemicals were present in
every sample, with one sample containing 21 different pesticides. Pesticides
found most frequently in the bees' pollen were the fungicide chlorothalonil,
used on apples and other crops, and the insecticide fluvalinate, used by
beekeepers to control Varroa mites, common honey bee pests.
In the study's most surprising result, bees that
were fed the collected pollen samples containing chlorothonatil were nearly
three times more likely to be infected by Nosema than bees that were not
exposed to these chemicals, said Jeff Pettis, research leader of the USDA's Bee
Research Laboratory and the study's lead author. The miticides used to control Varroa
mites also harmed the bees' ability to withstand parasitic infection.
Beekeepers know they are making a trade-off when
they use miticides. The chemicals compromise bees' immune systems, but the
damage is less than it would be if mites were left unchecked, said University
of Maryland researcher Dennis vanEngelsdorp, the study's senior author. But the
study's finding that common fungicides can be harmful at real world dosages is
new, and points to a gap in existing regulations, he said.
"We don't think of fungicides as having a
negative effect on bees, because they're not designed to kill insects,"
vanEngelsdorp said. Federal regulations restrict the use of insecticides while
pollinating insects are foraging, he said, "but there are no such
restrictions on fungicides, so you'll often see fungicide applications going on
while bees are foraging on the crop. This finding suggests that we have to
reconsider that policy."
In an unexpected finding, most of the crops that the
bees were pollinating appeared to provide their hives with little nourishment.
Honey bees gather pollen to take to their hives and feed their young. But when
the researchers collected pollen from bees foraging on native North American
crops such as blueberries and watermelon, they found the pollen came from other
flowering plants in the area, not from the crops. This is probably because
honey bees, which evolved in the Old World, are not efficient at collecting
pollen from New World crops, even though they can pollinate these crops.
The study's findings are not directly related to
colony collapse disorder, the still-unexplained phenomenon in which entire
honey bee colonies suddenly die. However, the researchers said the results shed
light on the many factors that are interacting to stress honey bee populations.
Fidelity Out The Window When Species Decline
By Kim Flottum
trend suggests global declines in pollinators could have a bigger impact
on food crops than previously realized
Remove even one bumblebee
species from an ecosystem and the impact is swift and clear: Their floral
"sweethearts" produce significantly fewer seeds, a new study finds.
The study, to be
published by theProceedings of theNational
Academyof Sciences, focused on the interactions between
bumblebees and larkspur wildflowers in Colorado's Rocky Mountains. The results
show how reduced competition among pollinators disrupts floral fidelity, or
specialization, among the remaining bees in the system, leading to less successful
"We found that these
wildflowers produce one-third fewer seeds in the absence of just one bumblebee
species," says EmoryUniversityecologist
Berry Brosi, who led the study. "That's alarming, and suggests that global
declines in pollinators could have a bigger impact on flowering plants and food
crops than was previously realized."
The National Science
Foundation (NSF) funded the study, co-authored by ecologist Heather Briggs of
About 90 percent of
plants need animals, mostly insects, to transfer pollen between them so that
they can fertilize and reproduce. Bees are by far the most important
pollinators worldwide and have co-evolved with the floral resources they need
During the past decade,
however, scientists have reported dramatic declines in populations of some bee
species, sparking research into the potential impact of such declines.
Some studies have
indicated that plants can tolerate losing most pollinator species in an ecosystem
as long as other pollinators remain to take up the slack. Those studies,
however, were based on theoretical computer modeling.
Brosi and Briggs were
curious whether this theoretical resilience would hold up in real-life
scenarios. Their team conducted field experiments to learn how the removal of a
single pollinator species would affect the plant-pollinator relationship.
visit several plant species over their lifetime, but often they will display
what we call floral fidelity over shorter time periods," Brosi explains.
"They'll tend to focus on one plant while it's in bloom, then a few weeks
later move on to the next species in bloom. You might think of them as serial
Floral fidelity clearly
benefits plants, because a pollinator visit will only lead to plant
reproduction when the pollinator is carrying pollen from the same plant
species. "When bees are promiscuous, visiting plants of more than one
species during a single foraging session, they are much less effective as
pollinators," Briggs says.
The researchers conducted
their experiments at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory near Crested
Butte, Colorado. Located at 9,500 feet, the facility's subalpine meadows are
too high for honeybees, but they are buzzing during the summer months with
bumblebees. The experiments focused on the interactions of the insects with
larkspurs, dark-purple wildflowers that are visited by 10 of the of the 11
bumblebee species there.
The researchers studied a
series of 20-meter square wildflower plots, evaluating each one in both a
control state, left in its natural condition, and in a manipulated state, in
which they used nets to remove the bumblebees of just one species.
The researchers then
observed the bumblebee behavior in both the controlled plots and the
manipulated plots. "We'd literally follow around the bumblebees as they
foraged," Briggs says. "It's challenging because the bees can fly
Sometimes the researchers
could only record between five and 10 movements, while in other cases they
could follow the bees to 100 or more flowers.
after bumblebees in these beautiful wildflower meadows was one of the most fun
parts of the research," Brosi says. Much of this "bee team" was
made up of Emory undergraduate students, funded by the college's Scholarly
Inquiry and Research at Emory (SIRE)grantsand
NSF support via the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program.
The Rocky Mountain
Biological Laboratory is exacting about using non-destructive methodologies so
that researchers don't have a negative impact on the bumblebee populations.
"When we caught bees to remove target species from the system, or to swab
their bodies for pollen, we released them unharmed when our experiments were
over," Brosi says. "They're very robust little creatures."
No researchers were
harmed either, he adds. "Stings were very uncommon during the experiments.
Bumblebees are quite gentle on the whole."
Across the steps of the
pollination process, from patterns of bumblebee visits to plants, to picking up
pollen, to seed production, the researchers saw a cascading effect of removing
one bee species. While about 78 percent of the bumblebees in the control groups
were faithful to a single species of flower, only 66 percent of the bumblebees
in the manipulated groups showed such floral fidelity. The reduced fidelity in
manipulated plots meant that bees in the manipulated groups carried more
different types of pollen on their bodies than those in the control groups.
These changes had direct
implications for plant reproduction: Larkspurs produced about one-third fewer
seeds when one of the bumblebee species was removed, compared to the larkspurs
in the control groups.
"The small change in
the level of competition made the remaining bees more likely to 'cheat' on the
larkspur," Briggs says.
While previous research
has shown how competition drives specialization within a species, the bumblebee
study is one of the first to link this mechanism back to the broader
functioning of an ecosystem.
"Our work shows why
biodiversity may be key to conservation of an entire ecosystem," Brosi
says. "It has the potential to open a whole new set of studies into the
functional implications of interspecies interactions."
EU bans yet
another pesticide harmful to bees
The European Union on Tuesday
restricted the use of the insecticide Fipronil, the latest move to protect
honey bees after a May ban on three other insecticides.
The ban on the insecticide
produced by Germany's BASF was agreed by 23 of the 28 EU states, with only
Spain and Romania voting against, EU sources said.
A scientific risk assessment
carried out by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in May said seeds
treated with pesticides containing Fipronil pose an acute risk to Europe's honey
The restrictions, to apply
from December 31, will ban the use of Fipronil on maize and sunflower seeds but
may allow its use for the treatment of seeds that will only be sown in
That exception will not apply
to leeks, shallots, onions and vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, cauliflower
BASF criticised the decision,
saying the EU executive, the European Commission, would do better to study the
real reasons behind the decline in bees rather than limit the use of new
technologies in farming.
In May the Commission banned
for two years beginning in December three insecticides made by chemicals giants
Bayer and Syngenta. Read More
American Bee Journal
Widely Used Pesticides Toxic to Honey Bees
PENSACOLA, Fla. - Forthcoming research in the
journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry analyzes the
physiological effects of three separate pesticides on honey bee (Apis
mellifera). An international research team - Drs. Stephan Caravalho, Luc
Belzunces and colleagues from Universidade Federal de Lavras in Brazil and
Institut Nationale de la Recherche Agronomique in France - conclude that the
absence of mortality does not always indicate fuctional integrity.
Deltamethrin, fipronil and spinosad, widely used pesticides in agriculture and
home pest control, were applied to healthy honey bees and proved toxic to some
degree irrespective of dosage. At sublethal doses, the pesticide modulated key
enzymes that regulate physiological processes, cognitive capacities and immune
responses, such as homing flight, associative learning, foraging behavior and
brood development. Sensitivity to these insecticides and foraging range (as far
as 1.5 to 3 km) make A. mellifera an optimal candidate for monitoring
the environmental impacts of pesticides.
Great Sunflower Project Expands Scope to Determine Best Plants for Supporting Pollinators
San Francisco State University News Release
The Great Sunflower Project is moving
beyond the backyard this summer.
Professor of Biology Gretchen LeBuhn.
The popular project is encouraging its
corps of more than 100,000 volunteers to observe bees and any other pollinators
they see, on all kinds of plants and in all kinds of places. Participants can
now report their bee counts from a walk on a nature trail, a thorough search of
a local park or even a casual encounter with a bumblebee flying by.
"We’ve opened up the project to new ways of sampling pollination,” said San
Francisco State Professor of Biology Gretchen LeBuhn, who started the project
six years ago. She said the new sampling methods were driven in part by the
data already collected, and in part by requests from the citizen scientists.
The project’s data are beginning to reveal how pollination happens in gardens,
and people can check to see how well backyards in their state stack up against
others, when it comes to bee visits per hour. "But one of the things we
realized as we've been analyzing our data is that we can't speak to what's
happening in natural areas,” LeBuhn said. The new sampling can help fill in the
blanks, she explained, in wild environments such as desert, chaparral and
"If people can tell us where they were when they observed the bees, we can
convert that into latitude and longitude information and start to build up some
information about which natural habitats are doing well and poorly” in terms of
pollination, LeBuhn said.
The new sampling also moves beyond sunflower observations to help the
scientists determine how well certain plants do at supporting pollinators.
LeBuhn says there is a lot of anecdotal evidence about this, but surprisingly
"A lot of people came to us and said, ‘now I know that I have three bees per
hour in my garden, so what should I do next?’” LeBuhn said. To answer
this question, her team began a habitat assessment project this year to
discover what kinds of plants and other garden features—from water to mulching—could
improve the habitat for pollinators. "Once we started doing this,” she
explained, "we realized how little data we have on what the key plants are.”
LeBuhn hopes to have a set of habitat assessment tools online next year, but
she suggests that people collect data on their backyard pollinators and plants
now, so that they can be ready to make changes that bring in more bees.
The Great Sunflower Project will hold its annual Great Bee Count on August 17
to encourage users to upload their observations. The project’s data has been
requested by federal agencies, classrooms, and the Weather Underground forecast
website. "My biggest dream is to have the data used as many times and in
as many ways as possible," LeBuhn said.
Through the participation of over 100,000
citizen scientists the Great Sunflower Project aims to collect information
about the whereabouts and activities of pollinating bees, and to provide those
bees with more pollen resources. To join The Great Sunflower Project, visit the
website at http://www.greatsunflower.org
or follow the project on Twitter or Facebook.
Beekeeping Industry Files
Appeal Against EPA For Full Registration Of Sulfoxaflor
Sulfoxaflor is a new chemistry, and the first of a newly
assigned sub-class of pesticides in the neonicotinoid class of pesticides.
July 8, 2013
organizations along with the National Honey Bee Advisory Board have come
together in an attempt to protect the bee industry by an appeal
against EPA for its approval of the pesticide sulfoxaflor, shown to be "highly toxic” to honey bees, and
other insect pollinators.
Sulfoxaflor is a new
chemistry, and the first of a newly assigned sub-class of pesticides in the
neonicotinoid class of pesticides, which scientists across the globe have
linked as a potential factor to widespread and massive bee colony collapse. The
case is filed as the beekeeping industry across the country struggles for
survival, and faces the costly effects of pesticides upon their businesses.
The National Pollinator Defense Fund, American Honey Producers Association,
National Honey Bee Advisory Board, the American Beekeeping Federation, and
beekeepers Bret Adee, Jeff Anderson and Thomas R. Smith have filed an appeal
against the EPA in the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, requesting changes
needed in the sulfoxaflor label, the Biological Economic Assessment Division
(BEAD) assessment of the value of pollinators and their established habits and
the EPA’s Risk Assessment Process. These changes would acknowledge pollinator’s
critical role in the U.S. food supply, and ensure that decisions regarding new
pesticides comply with applicable laws. Read More
Oregon Temporarily Restricts Pesticide Use Following Bee
is banning the use of more than a dozen pesticide products, after
Portland witnessed a staggering 50,000 bumblebee deaths in one month.
Jul 08 2013
Kelly, LA Times
State officials in Oregon are
temporarily restricting the use of more than a dozen pesticide products
following the deaths of an estimated 50,000 bumblebees in the Portland area
The measure, effective
immediately, will last for 180 days while the Oregon State Agricultural
Department investigates incidents of a mass bee die-off in the Portland suburb
of Wilsonville, and a much smaller die-off in neighboring Hillsboro.
Eighteen pesticide products
containing the active ingredient dinotefuran and used for ornamental, turf and
agricultural applications have been banned for now.
"I have directed the agency
to take this step in an effort to minimize any potential for additional
incidents involving bee deaths connected to pesticide products with this active
ingredient until such time as our investigation is completed and we have more
information,” the agency’s director, Katy Coba, said in a statement released
"Conclusions from the
investigation will help us and our partners evaluate whether additional steps
need to be considered.” Read More
CATCH THE BUZZ
Honey Bee Genes Changed By Pesticide? Seems so.
By Alan Harman
New research by UK scientists finds exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides causes changes in honeybee genes.
The University of Nottingham study, published in the scientific journal Plos One,
was conducted under field realistic conditions and showed that a very
low exposure of just two parts per billion has an impact on the activity
of some of the honeybee genes.
The research, led by Reinhard Stöger, associate professor in epigenetics in the university's School of Biosciences,
is the first comprehensive study to look at changes in the activity of
honeybee genes linked to one of the recently banned neonicotinoids,
The researchers found that cells of honeybee larvae had to work harder
and increase the activity of genes involved in breaking down toxins,
most likely to cope with the insecticide. Genes involved in regulating
energy to run cells were also affected.
Such changes are known to reduce the lifespan of the most widely
studied insect, the common fruit fly, and lower a larva's probability of
surviving to adulthood.
"Although larvae can still grow and develop in the presence of
imidacloprid, the stability of the developmental process appears to be
compromised,” Stöger says. "Should the bees be exposed to additional
stresses such as pests, disease and bad weather then it is likely to
increase the rate of development failure.”
The study was funded by The Co-operative Group, as part of its Plan Bee campaign.
"This is a very significant piece of research, which clearly shows
clear changes in honeybee gene activity as a result of exposure to a
pesticide, which is currently in common use across the UK,” coop
sustainable development manager Chris Shearlock says.
"As part of our Plan Bee campaign launched in 2009 we have adopted a
precautionary approach and prohibited the use of six neonicotinoid
pesticides, including imidacloprid, on our own-brand fresh and frozen
produce and have welcomed the recent approach by the European Commission
to temporarily ban three neonicotinoid pesticides as this will allow
for research into the impact on both pollinators and agricultural
By Kim Flottum
Two FREE Events All About Honeybees on Wednesday, August 7,
2013, 7 to 9 pm
Well Bee-ing: Your Move and Kids ‘n’
Bees at West Chester University Sykes Theater
Free Kids’ Activities • Learn How Honeybees Make Many Foods
Possible & How to Help Them!
West Chester, PA – What does the price of an apple,
your backyard, and children’s health have in common? Honey bees!
Everyone’s invited to two free family events, Wednesday, August 7, 2013 from 7 – 9 pm,
at West Chester University’s Sykes Student Union to learn about honey and
honeybees, when the Eastern Apicultural Society (EAS) presents Well-Bee-ing:
Your Move as well as Kids ’n’ Bees. Hear from experts about how you
can help honeybees stay happy and healthy, just as they do the same for us.
Families can choose either simultaneous event, or kids can enjoy the
supervised Kids ’n’ Bees activities while adults attend Well-Bee-ing:
Without honeybees, many of your favorite foods would cost a lot more – or
disappear altogether. Honeybees are vital to our economy and food supply. By
pollinating, they make everything from apples to pumpkins possible; the
multi-billion dollar almond industry alone is totally dependent upon
honeybees. Jim Bobb, Chairman of the EAS, notes that these honeybee
happenings are a great way to enjoy a summer evening out while learning a
little, "People ask me all the time, ‘How are the honeybees doing?’ These
two events on August 7th are a fun way for everyone to find the
answer and learn a few simple things anyone can do to help the honeybees stay
Well-Bee-ing: Your Move is a program and conversation to
update us all on the progress of solving the mystery of Colony Collapse
Disorder, responsible for a worldwide decline in the honeybee population. The
panel for this event includes: Brian Snyder, Executive Director of the PA Association for
Sustainable Agriculture; Douglas Tallamy,professor and author
Nature Home which helps us understand how simply adding native plants
to our yard welcomes so many more birds, butterflies and bee s;and
Dennis vanEngelsdorp, world-renowned honey bee
expert. All three will be in town for the EAS Annual Conference on
being held August
5 – 9, 2013.
Free Baby Sitting? Sort of! Kids
’n’ Bees: Also from 7 to 9 pm, hands-on fun for kids aged 5 to 13 to learn:
How does a bee make honey? Why do bees buzz? What does a beekeeper
wear so she doesn’t get stung? Grown-ups take part or check in their children
to enjoy these activities (while adults attend Well Bee-ing: Your Move).
Outstanding young women selected as Honey Queens by the Pennsylvania
Honey Queen program will supervise children through activities they’ve designed
to share their knowledge about beloved honeybees. All this fun is free of
charge, thanks to the generous sponsorship of Brushy Mountain Bee Farm, Dutch Gold Honey, Giant and the Pennsylvania
Honey Queen Program. Contact Rachel Bryson, at firstname.lastname@example.org
for more information about the Kids’n’Bees event.
Eastern Apicultural Society www.easternapiculture.org
is the largest noncommercial beekeeping organization in North America, with 26
member states/provinces in the eastern U.S. and Canada. Founded in 1955, EAS is
an international nonprofit educational organization for the education of
beekeepers, Master Beekeeper certification, and excellence in bee research.
ADDRESS FOR BOTH EVENTS: West Chester University, Sykes
Student Union Theater, 110 West Rosedale Avenue, West Chester, PA 19383