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Archived Latest News May 2013


New Guidelines for Reporting Pesticide Incidents


SUBJECT: Transmittal of Guidance for Inspecting Alleged Cases of Pesticide-Related Bee Incidents

FROM: Lisa Lund, Director
             Office of Compliance

I am pleased to distribute the attached guidance for inspecting alleged cases of pesticide-related bee incidents in time for spring and summer incident investigations. This guidance is a supplement to the national Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Inspection Manual. It presents unique considerations that federal, state and tribal inspectors should examine when investigating bee deaths that may be related to pesticide use. I request that you distribute this guidance to your state lead agencies and tribal pesticide programs and encourage you to discuss implementation of this guidance with them . We hope that using this guidance will make federal, state and tribal investigations of pesticide-related bee incidents more effective and efficient and help beekeepers , growers, and other stakeholders better understand the inspection process and the challenges associated with these complex investigations.

Strengthening our investigation of bee incidents through the implementation of this guidance is an important element of the U.S . Environmental Protection Agency's Pollinator Protection Strategic Plan. This plan includes working collaboratively with beekeepers, growers, pesticide manufacturers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, states and tribes to enhance pollinator protection.

The development of the guidance was led by Region 5 Land and Chemicals Division with staff from Region 5 Regional Counsel , Headquarters' Offices of Pesticide Program s and Enforcement and Compliance Assurance and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

In addition, the State FIFRA Issues Research and Evaluation Group (SFIREG) and the Tribal Pesticide Program Council (TPPC) reviewed a draft of the guidance and provided comments.

If you have any questions or comments on the guidance, please contact Ed Messina, Director of the Monitoring, Assistance and Media Programs Division at (202) 564-2300, or have staff contact Carol Galloway, OC at (913) 551-5092, or Margaret Jones, Region 5, at (3 12) 353-5790.

  Download Guide Here




Wild vs. domesticated bees
It could cost more to get food on your table if farmers let wild bees go extinct




Senator Boxer Introduces Pollinator Protection Amendment to the Senate Farm Bill

By Larissa Walker, Policy and Campaign Coordinator at Center for Food Safety

May 31st, 2013

Next week Congress comes back from recess and the Senate will resume debates on the Farm Bill. While there are a number of possible amendments we have our eye on this year, especially those pertaining to the labeling of genetically engineered food, support for organic farmers, and a repeal of the "Monsanto Protection Act,” there’s one amendment in particular that we’re expecting to receive a ton of buzz: Senator Boxer’s pollinator protection amendment.

Over the past decade, honey bees and other pollinators have been suffering record-high population losses. Given that one in every three bites of food is reliant on bees and other species for pollination, the decline of pollinators demands swift action; our agricultural economy, food supply and environment depend on their well-being. Thankfully, Senator Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) introduction of amendment (S. 1027) to the Farm Bill would be a step in the right direction towards protecting honey bees and other pollinators if passed.

What exactly would this amendment require the government to do?

Read more


Benefits of Propolis to Honey Bees: Does Propolis Reduce Levels of Viruses in Larvae?

Marla Spivak
University of Minnesota

We proposed two research objectives: 1) to test if there is a correlation between colony health and propolis collection in European-derived honey bees, and 2) to compare the immune systems of African- and European-derived colonies that have been enriched or deprived of a propolis envelope in the nest cavity.

Read Final Report Here




Monsanto Found Guilty of Chemical Poisoning in Landmark Case



A French farmer who can no longer perform his routine farming duties because of permanent pesticide injuries has had his day in court, literally, and the perpetrator of his injuries found guilty of chemical poisoning. The French court in Lyon ruled that Monsanto’s Lasso weedkiller formula, which contains the active ingredient alachlor, caused Paul Francois to develop lifelong neurological damage that manifests as persistent memory loss, headaches, and stuttering during speech.

Reports indicate that the 47-year-old farmer sued Monsanto back in 2004 after inhaling the Lasso product while cleaning his sprayer tank equipment. Not long after, Francois began experiencing lasting symptoms that prevented him from working, which he says were directly linked to exposure to the chemical. Since Lasso’s packaging did not bear adequate warnings about the dangers of exposure, Francois alleged at the time that Monsanto was essentially negligent in providing adequate protection for its customers. Read More


Urgent Message

from our President Randy Verhoek

May 24, 2013

Dear Member,

Bret Adee and myself are again out in DC on behalf of the Honey Producers as the Farm Bill progresses. First of all I have some good news to report on the creation of the Boxer Bee amendment. The passing of this amendment would:

1. create an interagency task force on bee health and commercial beekeeping;

2. encourage a more proactive approach to protecting pollinator health at USDA, Department Of Interior and EPA; and

3. require feasibility studies for modernizing one current ARS honey bee research laboratory and establishing one new ARS pollinator research laboratory.

Please call your senators and support the passage of this important legislation as this is the foundation we can use to build upon for solving honeybee health challenges now and in the future. Please call your senators today!

Read full Boxer Bee Amendment

Also amongst the amendments lurking in the Farm bill is a worrisome piece of legislation that concerns us that has to do with imported treated seed where the pesticides coated on this seed would be completely unregulated. We simply cannot allow this to pass especially given the fact that there are documented cases where these toxic coatings have killed bees.

Read Seed Senate Amendment SA- 984

Please Call your Senators Now!


Congressional Hearings

May 23, 2013

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Holds Confirmation Hearing on the Nomination of Penny Pritzker to be Secretary of Commerce


Let me ask you one other quick question, if I might. One of the areas under your purview is going to be the administration enforcement of anti-dumping laws and the laws intended to prevent domestic industries from being destroyed by imports that are sold here at unfairly low or dumped prices.

Commerce Department determines the precise amount of duties that must collected to increase the price of dumped imports to a non- injurious (ph). And -- estimated, $400 million to $500 million in anti-dumping duties build on four different types of agricultural imports from China have remained uncollected. And even though their payment is secured by specialized single-entry customs bonds, which are referred to as "new shipper bonds," that were issued by well-known U.S. insurance companies.

The question is, will you commit to provide Congress with the full accounting of all the new shipper bonds that secure anti-dumping duties on these agricultural imports from China and a plan for collecting the unpaid dumping duty secured by these bonds?


So, Senator, I'm not, per se, familiar with exactly what you're discussing. I know what anti-dumping is, but I will look into it, and I will commit to work with you on this issue.


There are a number of honey» producers in South Dakota would be very happy to hear that answer -- a lot trans-shipped «honey» from China. And the enforcement mechanisms that are available to prevent that don't get effectively utilized. So we would welcome your help with that particular issue.


Well, making sure that, not just «honey producers, but our American companies are on a level playing field, and that our laws are not being skirted is an important objective. And if I'm confirmed, I will work on that.


OK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.



    Click Here for Flyer



June 12 – June 25

Directed by Markus Imhoof

Born into a family of beekeepers, Oscar-nominated director Markus Imhoof (THE BOAT IS FULL) tackles the vexing issue of why bees, worldwide, are facing extinction. With the tenacity of a man out to solve a world-class mystery, he investigates this global phenomenon, from California to Switzerland, China and Australia. Exquisite macro-photography of the bees in flight and in their hives (on a par with the brilliant cinematography of MICROCOSMOS) reveals a fascinating, complex world in crisis. Writes Eric Kohn in Indiewire: "Imhoof captures the breeding of queen bees in minute detail, ventures to a laboratory to witness a bee brainscan, and discovers the dangerous prospects of a hive facing the infection of mites. In this latter case, the camera’s magnifying power renders the infection in sci-fi terms, as if we’ve stumbled into a discarded scene from David Cronenberg’s THE FLY.” This is a strange and strangely moving film that raises questions of species survival in cosmic as well as apiary terms.

"Calamity for Our Most Beneficent Insect: 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. 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.”

– From an editorial in The New York Times (April 7, 2013)

MORE THAN HONEY (2012, 91 mins.) Written and Directed by Markus Imhoof. Produced by Thomas Kufus, Helmut Grasser, Pierre-Alan Meier, Markus Imhoof. Camera: Jörg Jeshel, Attila Boa. Editor: Anne Fabini. Music: Peter Scherer. Sound: Dieter Meyer, Bernhard Maisch. Narrator: Robert Hunger-Bühler. Germany / Austria / Switzerland. In English, German, Swiss-German, and Mandarin with English subtitles. A Kino Lorber Release.

Film Forum

209 West Houston Street (West of 6th Avenue)

Box Office: 212-727-8110

Daily Showtimes: 1:00, 2:50, 4:40, 6:30, 8:20, 10:10

Advance Screenings Thursday, May 30 at 11 a.m.

Wednesday, June 5 at 11 a.m.

For more information or to RSVP to a screening, please contact:

Adam Walker/


 Click HERE to see our Executive Board in action in Washington, DC!


From AHPA Leadership in Washington, DC

So far so good on the Farm Bill. The American Honey Producers Association (AHPA) has been working hard on behalf of beekeepers across the United States. While AHPA has a broad federal policy agenda, the topic of the day is the Farm Bill, and we thought we would take a moment to catch you up to speed on our activities and successes.

In April of this year, AHPA sent a letter to Congress emphasizing the issues facing honey producers and crop pollinators around the country, and seeking to bring into greater focus the particular challenges beekeepers face as bee health continues to decline, quality forage disappears and the lone federal disaster assistance program, ELAP, expires right when beekeepers need it most. The April letter built upon our 2011 letter, which laid out a broader list of Farm Bill priority items, including maintaining a strong federal commitment to research through the pollinator protection and specialty crop research programs at USDA, supporting beekeeper losses through the Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance Program for Honey (ELAP), encouraging establishment of a national standard of identity for honey, extending the marketing loan program for honey, and addressing forage concerns through federal conservation programs.

We have linked a copy of those letters and attachments here.
  AHPA Farm Bill Letter

Just last week, members of the AHPA Executive Board travelled to Washington, DC and spent three days meeting with Senators and Congressmen, congressional staff, and officials at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Board Members spoke about the industry’s Farm Bill issues as well as other pressing matters such as anti-dumping duty collections, trade enforcement, H-2A workers, and pesticide and environmental challenges for pollinators.

AHPA’s timing could not have been better. Less than a week later both the Senate and House reported their respective Farm Bills out of Committee -- Tuesday in the Senate and Wednesday in the House. The Senate will bring its bill to the floor next week and the House will give final consideration to its bill in June.

We are pleased to announce that the entire AHPA Farm Bill agenda has been included in the 2013 Farm Bill!

Below is a summary for your review, but before you read, don’t forget to call your Senators and Congressman and express support for final passage of the Farm Bill with all honeybee-related provisions in tact! The legislative process is not over. We need your voices to be heard if we are to bring this across the finish line!

Summary of Honey and Beekeeper Provisions in the 2013 Farm Bill (as of May 16, 2013):

Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance Program for Honey (ELAP):

· Originally enacted in the 2008 Farm Bill, this provision was de-funded at the end of 2012, causing great concern to beekeepers across the country who had suffered severe bee losses. AHPA successfully advocated for inclusion of the program in both the Senate and House Farm Bills. The Senate version now includes $15 million per year for the program and the House includes $20 million per year. We will work with Congress to achieve a final number of $20 million per year, which by USDA estimates will be adequate to cover beekeeper losses under the program. Importantly, both the Senate and House bills are retroactive and will therefore, if enacted, cover FY’ 12 losses as well as future losses.

Conservation Program / Honey Bee Forage:

· It is no secret that conservation land is on the decline and that which is still around does not provide adequate honey bee forage. AHPA has been working with USDA and Congress to improve conservation land for honey bees over the past year. During the Senate Committee mark-up, Senators Heitkamp (D-ND) and Gillibrand (D-NY) spoke on behalf of beekeeper forage concerns and offered an amendment to require USDA to give priority consideration to honey bee forage in all USDA conservation programs. Senators Klobuchar(D-MN), Brown (D-OH), Cochran (R-MS) and Stabenow (D-MI) all supported our amendment in committee. They each deserve a big thanks. While the House does not yet have a comparable provision, we are working with our friends in that chamber now.

Federal Honey Bee Research

· Put simply, the only way out of the woods for beekeepers affected by Pollinator Health Decline and Colony Collapse Disorder is robust federal research. For that reason, AHPA maintains a constant dialogue with the Agricultural Research Service and has worked hard in Congress to get programs authorized in the Farm Bill and funded by the appropriators, especially programs at the Agricultural Research Service and the National Institutes of Food and Agriculture. AHPA was able to secure in this Farm Bill authorizations through FY ’18 for research on bee health and Colony Collapse Disorder. These authorizations are in addition to other USDA bee research and are in the following yearly amounts: $10 million for research and extension grants; $7.25 million to increase USDA capacity and infrastructure to address CCD; $2.75 million for honey bee pest and pathogen surveillance. Additionally, both the Senate and House bills include "specialty crop pollinators” as an eligible category for mandatory research funding at the National Institutes of Food and Agriculture. That research will be funded over the next 5 years at a range between $30 and $65 million per year with pollinators receiving some portion of it.

Standard of Identity for Honey

· AHPA has long fought for a national standard of identity for honey to aid in trade enforcement activities against China and to better ensure only pure unadulterated honey makes it to the packers and onto retail shelves. While it is ultimately up to the FDA to establish such a standard, AHPA was able to secure in the Senate Farm Bill a provision requiring the Secretary of Agriculture to report to FDA explaining why a national standard of identity is in the interest of consumers, the industry and US agriculture. This should help advance the issue.

Marketing Loan

· Based on increased production costs and prices, Congress included in past Farm Bills a marketing loan program for honey. AHPA advocated to keep that program in place in this Farm Bill. The marketing loan rate is established at 69 cents per pound in each of the House and Senate bills, which is consistent with past years.

As the Senate and House bills make their way to the floor, AHPA will continue, through our Washington counsel, to advocate for improvements in the bill. And as soon as we turn the page on the Farm Bill, we will work with congressional appropriators to get federal honey bee research programs the funding they deserve.

Help us help you by calling your members of Congress today! Sharing those calls and e-mails with us will enable follow up on your behalf.



AHPA Exec Board Visits Washington DC

The American Honey Producers Association Executive Board made an official trip to Washington DC to meet with many congressmen, senators and their staff members by attending 38 scheduled meetings in three days. We spoke with them about issues relating to provisions in the Farm Bill such as extending the ELAP program, trade and customs issues and duties collections, and pushed hard for more funding for labs to study CCD, pollinator health decline, pesticide issues, and environmental effects on pollinators. We also met with the directors and staff of the USDA ARS labs to implore the need for research on pollinator health decline. As a direct result of this meeting USDA ARS has now hired a full time toxicologist in the Baton Rouge, LA lab to focus on honey bee research!

A HUGE "Thank You" to the members that were able to attend: Randy Verhoek-President, Darren Cox-Vice President, Cassie Cox-Executive Secretary, Mark Jensen-Legislative Chairman and Past President, Joe Sanroma-Board Member, Steven Coy-Board Member, Ryan Cosyns-Board Member, Richard Adee-Past President, John Waits-Attorney, and Eric Silva-Attorney.



AHPA-Making An Impact In Washington, DC!

Bees bring new buzz to Capitol Hill



By DAVID ROGERS | 5/13/13 11:31 PM EDT

Can the farm bill help save the bees? Can the bees help save the farm bill from itself?

It’s an only-in-Washington drama that opens Tuesday and Wednesday as the Senate and House agriculture committees mark up their new five-year plans, which are worth tens of billions of dollars to American farmers over the next decade.

The powerful crop insurance industry and old-line commodity lobbies like rice, cotton and corn will be at the table defending their share. But the big newcomer is the bee, which has been disappearing in record numbers and become a symbol of much that is haywire in the current system.

Indeed, the number of honeybee colonies in the U.S. fell by nearly a third this past winter according to government data released last week. That’s a big jump from the prior winter and the latest evidence of a steady decline that recently led Europe to impose new pesticide restrictions — alarming corporations like Germany’s Bayer AG with major operations in the U.S. Read More




Flight of the RoboBee: Tiny hovering robot creates buzz



Five individual robotic flies of identical design are shown alongside a US penny for scale, demonstrating that the manufacturing process facilitates repeatability and mass production. Courtesy of Kevin Ma, Pakpong Chirarattananon

The successful controlled flight of the tiny RoboBee – designed by a team at Harvard –represents a key step in the development of insect-size drones with a range of potential uses.

By Pete Spotts,Staff writer / May 2, 2013

A robotic fly with a body not much taller than a penny standing on edge has taken to the air, passing its tests with flying colors. The RoboBee, as it's called, is the smallest artificial insect yet flown, according to the team that built it.

It lifts off the table, hovers, and flies in different directions. At this point in its evolution, the bug is still tethered by thin wires that allow its designers to power and guide it. And landing remains an issue. The robot ends its sorties with all the grace of a mosquito nailed with a burst of Raid.

Still, the tiny craft's success – the team that designed it said it was the first such object to fly in a controlled manner – represents a key step in developing insect-size drones that designers say could one day search collapsed buildings for survivors after a disaster, sample an environment for hazardous chemicals before humans are sent in, or pinpoint enemy soldiers or terrorists holed up in urban areas. Read More



Honey may hold the sticky solution to bee colony collapse

By Geoffrey Mohan

Honeybees that live off the same sweetener found in soft drinks could be more vulnerable to the microbial enemies and pesticides believed to be linked to catastrophic collapse of honeybee colonies worldwide, a new study suggests.

Researchers identified a compound found in the wall of plant pollen that appears to activate the genes that help metabolize toxins, including pesticides, according to the study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science.

Although pollen winds up in the honey produced by Apis mellifera, these bees used to pollinate crops spend more time sipping on the same sugar substitute that is ubiquitous in processed foods – high-fructose corn syrup. The honey substitute is an important way for the industry, which contributes about $14 billion to the U.S. economy, to make ends meet.

Read More






Report from the National Pollinator Defense Fund:

May 2013

In early March the Florida citrus groves experienced an acute foliar poisoning that resulted in severely damaged colonies. Oranges had an early bloom this year, and were still blooming (as of 4-19-13). One beekeeper’s bees suffered due to the drift application of Montana 2F from a neighboring grove. 1000-1500 colonies were killed, while 10,000-13,000 colonies suffered severe damage. Queen failures are being observed as of the end of April.

Trees were sprayed with an insecticide during the bloom, while bees were actively foraging. Reports from the field state Montana 2F insecticide was applied during daylight hours to the citrus bloom, with jugs of Montana visible in the field. The foliar application directions for citrus as stated on Montana 2F’s label clearly states, "Do not apply during bloom or within 10 days prior to bloom or when bees are actively foraging.” (pg. 30, Montana 2F label, Rotam North America, Inc.)

EPA region 4 has inquired concerning this recent incident. The Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for Montana 2F state, "Harmful to honeybees by direct contact, but no problems expected when not sprayed into flowering crop or when used as a seed treatment.” (pg. 3, Material Safety Data Sheet, Montana 2F) In that one sentence from the MSDS, " . . . but no problems when not sprayed into flowering crop . . .” the directions are confusing. The EPA has no definitions for the label terms. To date, the EPA will not provide definitions when the definitions have been requested repeatedly over several decades. Beekeepers across the U.S. have been working with the EPA to make labels readable, understandable, and comprehensible to all who need to read them. It is especially important to understand a product label so the use or restrictions are not violated, and that no one is harmed: the applicator, the grower, the beekeeper, the bees, and the environment.

April 23, 2013 a meeting was held with beekeepers and growers where they have all agreed to work toward a solution.




USDA and EPA Release New Report on Honey Bee Health

WASHINGTON, May 2, 2013-The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released a comprehensive scientific report on honey bee health. The report states that there are multiple factors playing a role in honey bee colony declines, including parasites and disease, genetics, poor nutrition and pesticide exposure.

"There is an important link between the health of American agriculture and the health of our honeybees for our country's long term agricultural productivity," said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. "The forces impacting honeybee health are complex and USDA, our research partners, and key stakeholders will be engaged in addressing this challenge."

"The decline in honey bee health is a complex problem caused by a combination of stressors, and at EPA we are committed to continuing our work with USDA, researchers, beekeepers, growers and the public to address this challenge," said Acting EPA Administrator Bob Perciasepe. "The report we've released today is the product of unprecedented collaboration, and our work in concert must continue. As the report makes clear, we've made significant progress, but there is still much work to be done to protect the honey bee population."
Read More


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Cassie Cox
Executive Secretary
PO Box 435
Mendon, UT 84325