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sculpture contest winners announced in St. Paul
11 Staff, KARE 9:43 p.m. EST January 26, 2014
PAUL, Minn. - The winners of the 2014 State Snow Sculpting Competition were
awarded on Sunday.
Place - "It's Bee-ginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas"
Krueger, East Bethel
Research Consortium (CDRC) Calls for Widespread Cooperative Measures To Support
Honey Bees, Beekeepers, and Farmers
Thomas (Tom) Van Arsdall, Director of Public Policy
– The non-profit Pollinator Partnership (P2) today released the 2013
Preliminary Report and Provisional Recommendations of the Corn Dust Research
Consortium (CDRC), a multi-stakeholder initiative formed to fund research with
the goal of reducing honey bee exposure to fugitive dust emitted from planter
fan exhaust during mechanical planting of treated corn seed. The report can be
found at http://www.pollinator.org/PDFs/CDRCfinalreport2013.pdf
with provisional recommendations starting on page 23.
participating organizations include the American Seed Trade Association, the
American Honey Producers Association, the American Beekeeping Federation, the
Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Bayer CropScience, the Canadian Honey
Council, the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association, the National Corn
Growers Association, the Pollinator Partnership, Syngenta, and the University
of Maryland. These organizations came together to fund and oversee research
projects in 2013 to better understand ideas for mitigating risks to honey bees
from exposure to fugitive dust emitted from fan exhaust from machinery during
funded three research teams, led by Dr. Reed Johnson of Ohio State University,
Dr. Mary Harris of Iowa State University, and Dr. Art Schaafsma, University of
Guelph on behalf of the Grain Farmers of Ontario. It is hoped that the
preliminary results and provisional recommendations will inform best practices
for the 2014 planting season. Additional research in subsequent seasons will be
needed to replicate and substantiate the findings.
questions were addressed by CDRC-funded research. The first question (Question
1) sought to develop a greater understanding of the use by honey bees of floral
resources in and around cornfields during spring planting season and how this
is influenced by vegetation management practices. Native bee communities may
also be affected by exposure through forage, an issue not addressed in this
question (Question 2) was to evaluate the effectiveness and deposition levels
of pesticide dust in and around fields when commercially available neonicotinoid-treated
corn seed products are planted using a new product in comparison to standard
lubricants (talc and graphite). Aspects of the product, BFA, developed by Bayer
CropScience, had already been evaluated in other studies.
research teams took their own approaches to the questions. Their methods and
their observations were not identical, nor were they intended to be. The
variety of landscape features and differences in grower practices, as well as
the timing of the planting, varied according to location. Only one of the
research teams, led by Dr. Art Schaafsma, studied the effectiveness of the BFA
alternative lubricant for use during treated seed planted with pneumatic
planters. Despite these differences, consistencies were observed, particularly
with respect to honey bee foraging during planting.
preliminary and provisional recommendations from the report are based on small
sample sizes and one year’s data; all require further testing in the coming
year. However, the original goal was to be as helpful as possible in
influencing the behaviors of all stakeholders with respect to the 2014 growing
season; and several practical solutions that the research highlighted are
significant finding of the research, with respect to the forage question
(Question 1), was that honey bees collected pollen largely from trees and woody
plants (apple, hawthorn, willow, maple, etc.) during the time of corn planting.
This was a consistent finding at the Iowa, Ohio and Guelph sites. The second
honey bee forage discovery (also Question 1) had to do with the pesticide
levels in the honey bee-collected pollen. Across all three sites, the highest
residue levels occurred during the approximately two-week planting period.
question, (Question 2), tested the effectiveness of the alternative lubricant,
BFA, as a replacement for talc or graphite to separate corn seeds in the
pneumatic planters often used in corn planting in North America. The CDRC tests
showed that when the BFA lubricant was used, total dust and pesticide load in
the dust were reduced when compared to the use of conventional lubricants,
despite a higher concentration of pesticide in the dust. Further research is
needed to determine the overall effectiveness of Bayer’s new lubricant in both
reducing dust and dust-borne pesticide levels.
steps will need to be taken to achieve a reduction in exposure of honey bees to
neonicotinoids used to treat seeds. Many contributions toward this goal are
needed from every sector involved in this situation – farmers, beekeepers,
pesticide and lubricant manufacturers, equipment manufacturers, seed dealers,
government agencies and regulators, extension agents, agricultural and
commodity organizations, and agricultural media all need to become involved.
process involved collaborative oversight of practical research through multiple
institutions. It has been complex but extremely rewarding. All
stakeholders have shared the responsibility for transparency, open
deliberation, and unbiased assessment throughout 2013,” said Pollinator
Partnership’s Executive Director Laurie Davies Adams. (Contact LDA@pollinator.org) "We
feel that the consequences of potential harm to honey bees have been taken very
seriously by every institution involved in this collaboration. We have achieved
something remarkable and rare – a consortium working together to improve the
situation for honey bees through balanced, unbiased, and cooperative engagement
in objective science.”
year of funded research will focus on follow-up evaluation, information
dissemination, and adaptive management in 2014. Interested institutions
should contact the Pollinator Partnership at email@example.com. Each
of the research teams is expected to publish papers with respect to their
individual data sets either as a result of the 2013 work or in conjunction with
a second year’s research.
Pollinator Partnership Established in 1997, the Pollinator Partnership (P2) is
the largest 501(c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to the
health, protection, and conservation of all pollinating animals. For further
information, visit www.pollinator.org.
and Contacts from CDRC Members (alphabetized list of quotes and contacts for
CDRC members who can be contacted for further information)
Beekeeping Federation: Representative Manley Bigalk said, "The CDRC doesn’t
answer all the questions about neonicotinoids and honey bees, but it’s a
starting place to discuss reducing exposure.”
Honey Producers Association: Representative Brett Adee, said, "While I respect
this process, the end result requires that many groups cooperate to make real
progress for honey bees, and it needs to happen right away.”
of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM): Mr Daniel J (Dan) Moss, Technical Consultant
- Standards and Safety, said, "AEM's member manufacturers support pollinator
health initiatives and are actively engaged in the development of international
standards for planting equipment that work to reduce fugitive dust from
machinery exhaust fans.”
Seed Trade Association: Jane DeMarchi, VP, Government and Regulatory Affairs,
said, "The US seed industry is working to safeguard bee and pollinator health.
We have learned a lot this first year on the CDRC. Science is incremental, and
we have taken one step. We look forward to taking the next step together.”
CropScience: David Fischer (Co-Chair of the SETAC Pellston Workshop on
pesticide risk assessment for pollinators) said, "Bayer’s goal in participating
in the CDRC is to contribute to good science and management practices. We
believe that solutions can be found when
stakeholders work together.” Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Honey Council: "While this is an iterative process, the beekeepers across
Canada are looking to this research for answers. Many things need to be done.
We need all parties to pay attention to the role they play in supporting
healthy honey bee populations,” said Rod Scarlett, Executive Director. Contact email@example.com.
Equipment Manufacturers Association: "We are working to ensure that corn dust
residues are contained through the better planting practices that this research
has informed,” said Mike McClure, Engineering Manager for the Great Plains Ag
Division. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corn Growers Association: "Corn producers are stewards of the land and as good
farmers look for ways to eliminate exposure to corn dust,” added Don Glenn,
Production and Stewardship Action Team.
Jay Overmeyer said, "This research has provided valuable information for
development and support of BMPs to mitigate exposure of bees to seed treatment
dust. We are looking forward to year two.” Contact email@example.com,
of Maryland: Dr. David Inouye (Chair of the North American Pollinator
Protection Campaign) said, "Now that the first year is completed, the CDRC will
seek to replicate and test results and provisional recommendations. Additional
studies are needed and will lead to better understanding of impacts and
gene separates queen from workers
Jan 29, 2014
have identified how a single gene in honey bees separates the queens from the
A team of scientists from Michigan State University and
Wayne State University unraveled the gene's inner workings and published the
results in the current issue of Biology Letters. The gene, which is
responsible for leg and wing development, plays a crucial role in the evolution
ability to carry pollen.
"This gene is critical in making the hind legs
of workers distinct so they have the physical features necessary to carry
pollen," said Zachary Huang, MSU entomologist. "Other studies have
shed some light on this gene's role in this realm, but our team examined in
great detail how the modifications take place."
The gene in question is Ultrabithorax, or Ubx. Specifically,
the gene allows workers to develop a smooth spot on their hind legs that hosts
their pollen baskets. On another part of their legs, the gene promotes the
formation of 11 neatly spaced bristles, a section known as the "pollen
The gene also promotes the development of a pollen press, a
protrusion also found on hind legs, that helps pack and transport pollen back
to the hive.
While workers have these distinct features, queens do not.
The research team was able to confirm this by isolating and silencing Ubx, the
target gene. This made the pollen baskets, specialized leg features used to
collect and transport pollen, completely disappear. It also inhibited the
growth of pollen combs and reduced the size of pollen presses.
In bumble bees, which are in the same family as honey bees,
queens have pollen baskets similar to workers. In this species, Ubx played a
similar role in modifying hind legs because the gene is more highly expressed
in hind legs compared to front and mid legs.
Besides honey bees, which aren't native to North America,
there are more than 300 species of other bees in Michigan alone. These include
solitary leaf cutter bees, communal sweat bees and social bumble bees.
"The pollen baskets are much less elaborate or
completely absent in bees that are less socially complex," Huang said.
"We conclude that the evolution of pollen baskets is a major innovation
among social insects and is tied directly to more-complex social
Future research by Huang may pursue investigating how bees
could be improved to become better pollinators. While this won't provide a
solution to bee colony collapse disorder, it could provide an option for
improving the shrinking population of bees' pollen-collecting capacity.
Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-01-gene-queen-workers.html#jCp
Ag Chems and Inert Ingredients A Deadly Mix In A Beehive
new research finds four pesticides commonly used to kill mites, insects and
fungi – fluvalinate, coumaphos, chlorothalonil and chlorpyrifos – are also
killing honey bee larvae within their hives.
A team from
Penn State and University of Florida also found that N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone
(NMP) – an inert, or inactive, chemical commonly used as a pesticide additive
-- is highly toxic to honey bee larvae.
that four of the pesticides most commonly found in beehives kill bee larvae,”
says Penn State’s Jim Frazier. "We also found that the negative effects of
these pesticides are sometimes greater when the pesticides occur in
combinations within the hive.
pesticide safety is judged almost entirely on adult honey bee sensitivity to
individual pesticides and also does not consider mixtures of pesticides, the
risk assessment process that the Environmental Protection Agency uses should be
was funded by the National Honey Board, the U.S. Department of
Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture-Agriculture and Food
Research Initiative-Coordinated Agricultural Projects and the Foundational
Award programs. Frazier says the team's previous research demonstrated that
forager bees bring back to the hive an average of six different pesticides on
the pollen they collect. Nurse bees use this pollen to make beebread, which
they then feed to honey bee larvae.
the effects of four common pesticides – fluvalinate, coumaphos, chlorothalonil
and chlorpyrifos – on bee larvae, the researchers reared honey bee larvae in
their laboratory. They then applied the pesticides alone and in all combinations
to the beebread to determine whether these insecticides and fungicides act
alone or in concert to create a toxic environment for honey bee growth and
researchers also investigated the effects of NMP on honey bee larvae by adding
seven concentrations of the chemical to a pollen-derived, royal jelly diet. NMP
is used to dissolve pesticides into formulations that then allow the active
ingredients to spread and penetrate the plant or animal surfaces onto which
they are applied.
The team fed
their treated diet, containing various types and concentrations of chemicals,
to the laboratory-raised bee larvae.
that mixtures of pesticides can have greater consequences for larval toxicity
than one would expect from individual pesticides,” Frazier says.
four pesticides, honey bee larvae were most sensitive to chlorothalonil. They
also were negatively affected by a mixture of chlorothalonil with fluvalinate.
In addition, the larvae were sensitive to the combination of chlorothalonil
with the miticide coumaphos.
the addition of coumaphos significantly reduced the toxicity of the fluvalinate
and chlorothalonil mixture.
professor of entomology Chris Mullin says the pesticides may directly poison
honey bee larvae or they may indirectly kill them by disrupting the beneficial
fungi that are essential for nurse bees to process pollen into beebread.
exposure to pesticides during the early life stage of honey bees may contribute
to their inadequate nutrition or direct poisoning with a resulting impact on
their survival and development,” he says.
researchers note that fluvalinate and coumaphos are commonly used by beekeepers
in their hives to control Varroa mites, and are found to persist within beehives
for about five years if not removed by beekeepers.
is a broad-spectrum agricultural fungicide that is often applied to crops in
bloom when honey bees are present for pollination because it is currently
deemed safe to bees. Chlorpyrifos is a widely used organophosphate in crop
findings suggest that the common pesticides chlorothalonil, fluvalinate,
coumaphos and chlorpyrifos, individually or in mixtures, have statistically
significant impacts on honey bee larval survivorship,” Mullin says.
"This is the
first study to report serious toxic effects on developing honey bee larvae of
dietary pesticides at concentrations that currently occur in hives.”
also found that increasing amounts of NMP corresponded to increased larval
mortality, even at the lowest concentration tested.
is a growing body of research that has reported a wide range of adverse effects
of inactive ingredients to human health, including enhancing pesticide
toxicities across the nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory and hormone
systems,” Mullin says.
"The bulk of
synthetic organic chemicals used and released into U.S. environments are
formulation ingredients like NMP, which are generally recognized as safe. They
have no mandated limits on their use and their residues remain unmonitored.
pounds of these inactive ingredients overwhelm the total chemical burden from
the active pesticide, drug and personal-care ingredients with which they are
formulated. Among these co-formulants are surfactants and solvents of known
high toxicity to fish, amphibians, honey bees and other non-target organisms.
While we have found that NMP contributes to honey bee larvae mortality, the
overall role of these inactive ingredients in pollinator decline remains to be
American Bee Journal
Common Crop Pesticides Kill Honey Bee Larvae in the Hive
Four pesticides commonly used on crops to kill insects and
fungi also kill honey bee larvae within their hives, according to Penn State
and University of Florida researchers. The team also found that
N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) -- an inert, or inactive, chemical commonly used
as a pesticide additive -- is highly toxic to honeybee larvae.
"We found that four of the pesticides most commonly found in beehives kill
bee larvae," said Jim Frazier, professor of entomology, Penn State.
"We also found that the negative effects of these pesticides are sometimes
greater when the pesticides occur in combinations within the hive. Since
pesticide safety is judged almost entirely on adult honey bee sensitivity to
individual pesticides and also does not consider mixtures of pesticides, the
risk assessment process that the Environmental Protection Agency uses should be
According to Frazier, the team's previous research demonstrated that forager
bees bring back to the hive an average of six different pesticides on the
pollen they collect. Nurse bees use this pollen to make beebread, which they
then feed to honeybee larvae. To examine the effects of four common pesticides
-- fluvalinate, coumaphos, chlorothalonil and chlorpyrifos -- on bee larvae,
the researchers reared honeybee larvae in their laboratory. They then applied
the pesticides alone and in all combinations to the beebread to determine
whether these insecticides and fungicides act alone or in concert to create a
toxic environment for honeybee growth and development.
The researchers also investigated the effects of NMP on honey bee larvae by
adding seven concentrations of the chemical to a pollen-derived, royal jelly
diet. NMP is used to dissolve pesticides into formulations that then allow the
active ingredients to spread and penetrate the plant or animal surfaces onto
which they are applied. The team fed their treated diet, containing various
types and concentrations of chemicals, to the laboratory-raised bee larvae.
The team's results are reported in the current issue of PLoS ONE.
"We found that mixtures of pesticides can have greater consequences for
larval toxicity than one would expect from individual pesticides," Frazier
Among the four pesticides, honey bee larvae were most sensitive to
chlorothalonil. They also were negatively affected by a mixture of
chlorothalonil with fluvalinate. In addition, the larvae were sensitive to the
combination of chlorothalonil with the miticide coumaphos. In contrast, the
addition of coumaphos significantly reduced the toxicity of the fluvalinate and
According to Chris Mullin, professor of entomology, Penn State, these
pesticides may directly poison honeybee larvae or they may indirectly kill them
by disrupting the beneficial fungi that are essential for nurse bees to process
pollen into beebread.
"Chronic exposure to pesticides during the early life stage of honey bees
may contribute to their inadequate nutrition or direct poisoning with a
resulting impact on the survival and development of the entire bee brood,"
he said. The researchers note that fluvalinate and coumaphos are commonly used
by beekeepers on crops to control Varroa mites, and are found to persist within
beehives for about five years. Chlorothalonil is a broad-spectrum agricultural
fungicide that is often applied to crops in bloom when honey bees are present
for pollination because it is currently deemed safe to bees. Chlorpyrifos is a
widely used organophosphate in crop management.
"Our findings suggest that the common pesticides chlorothalonil,
fluvalinate, coumaphos and chloropyrifos, individually or in mixtures, have
statistically significant impacts on honeybee larval survivorship," Mullin
said. "This is the first study to report serious toxic effects on
developing honeybee larvae of dietary pesticides at concentrations that
currently occur in hives." The team also found that increasing amounts of
NMP corresponded to increased larval mortality, even at the lowest
"There is a growing body of research that has reported a wide range of
adverse effects of inactive ingredients to human health, including enhancing
pesticide toxicities across the nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory and
hormone systems," Mullin said. "The bulk of synthetic organic
chemicals used and released into U.S. environments are formulation ingredients
like NMP, which are generally recognized as safe. They have no mandated limits
on their use and their residues remain unmonitored.
"Multi-billion pounds of these inactive ingredients overwhelm the total
chemical burden from the active pesticide, drug and personal-care ingredients
with which they are formulated. Among these co-formulants are surfactants and
solvents of known high toxicity to fish, amphibians, honey bees and other
non-target organisms. While we have found that NMP contributes to honey bee
larvae mortality, the overall role of these inactive ingredients in pollinator
decline remains to be determined."
Cooperation needed for pollinator protection challenge
Jan. 7, 2014
The bee and honey industry and agriculture interests are caught in a
dilemma: how to protect bees and other pollinators while maintaining the crop
protection products farmers need to manage pests.
Protecting bees without sacrificing farm efficiency is a serious concern for
the National Cotton Council, says Don Parker, Council IPM manager.
Parker addressed the Cotton consultants’ conference Monday at the Beltwide
Cotton Conferences in New Orleans. "We’re trying to educate consultants (and
others) about recent events and the amount of activity surrounding honey bees.
These issues will affect the farm,” he said.
It’s an issue that has been building for several years, initially called
colony collapse disorder. "Bee keepers have lost a significant number of bees
to overwinter mortality,” Parker said. "They think they are fighting for
survival. But we have to find a way to assure our survival as well.”
The term colony collapse disorder has been changed to bee health and
suspected causes include multiple factors, including pesticide use. Parasites,
pathogens, pests, loss of habitat, genetics and bee management stress are also
cited as potential contributors to bee health.
"Researchers have no answers and have found no smoking gun, no number one
factor,” Parker said. Read More
California’s farmland lies fallow for a fish
By Charles C. W. Cooke
San Joaquin Valley, Calif. — "We have the greatest factory
anywhere on earth,” Harris Farms’ executive vice president, William Bourdeau,
tells me, as our car bumps rapidly along the dirty, uneven track. "These are
pistachio trees,” he says, sweeping his hand across the horizon. "Over there,
we have asparagus.” He points through the windshield. "And in that facility, we
Around the corner and away from the freeway, I see almonds,
broccoli, onions, watermelons, and tomatoes. Lettuce, which in the grand scale
of things is a mere afterthought for Harris, is produced nevertheless on an
astonishing scale, with 3 million cartons — 72 million head — being shipped out
each year, the fruit of 700,000 man hours. On neighboring Harris Ranch, the
largest in the West, there are 100,000 cattle, most of which will eventually
end up at In-N-Out burger joints along the Pacific Coast and throughout the
Southwest. The smell of the cattle permeates the air for a good mile around,
announcing the farm to travelers before any signs come into view. In the distance,
the mountains loom large.
"Factory” is a good word to describe California’s San
Joaquin Valley. But "laboratory” might be a little better, for the region is an
agri-tinkerer’s delight. The
soil being uncharacteristically fertile and the summers being
long and dry, growers are afforded that most valuable of things: control.
Emancipated from Gaia’s caprice, farmers here can determine precisely not only
how much water they wish to provide to their crops but when to add it, too.
Which is to say that, in the Central Valley, irrigation is achieved not by the
whimsy of the sky but by deliberately placed pipes, pumps, and microprocessors.
It is here that the ancient earth meets the best of technology; where Silicon
Valley meshes with the baser elements and, together, they yield life."If
the Pilgrims had landed in California,” Ronald Reagan liked to joke, "the East
Coast would still be a wilderness.” Undoubtedly. I suspect fewer Pilgrims would
have died, too.Make no mistake: This place is a miracle — a vast greenhouse
in which, unmolested by the elements and provided with incomparably fecund
terrain, farmers can do their thing as never before.
The results speak for themselves. Just under 13 percent of
all agricultural production in the United States takes place in the region,
which the locals refer to proudly as "the Food Basket of the World” or,
occasionally, "America’s Salad Bowl.” Most of the country’s asparagus and
raisins are born in these fields; nearby Kings County boasts the largest cotton
farm in the world; and among the astonishing array of products shipped out from
the area are citrus fruits, pistachios, grapes, peaches, lettuce, tomatoes,
garlic, alfalfa, and kiwi fruit. All in all, 250 different crops are grown. "We
supply almonds to the world — 80 percent of the total global output,” Bourdeau
explains when we arrive at Harris’s shelling facility. "They’re one of the
things we’re actually exporting. That’s great for a country that’s a net
importer of things.”
It is great, yes. Astonishing and mesmerizing, in fact. And
yet I am soon made aware that there is trouble in paradise, for, having first
seen what Harris is doing, I am shown in no uncertain terms what Harris is not
doing. Suddenly, as if crossing a line of demarcation — I am reminded of
Checkpoint Charlie, the gate that linked West and East Berlin — we leave
healthy fields bursting with life, and we arrive at . . . well, we arrive at nothing:
just dust, quiet, and a few pieces of unused farming equipment.READ MORE
Stolen Hives Found!
Several hundred stolen hives were
located by a fenced compound on the west side of Weed patch Hwy (Hwy 184) about
1/10 mile north of Panama Lane. Many of the hives were in the process of having
ID marks sanded off with some frames being transferred to orange boxes (a
chop-shop operation).All the stolen colonies were double-deeps (no shallow
supers).Chip Vannoy, Joe Romance and Jerry Stoddard hives were found there.Some
believe that the hives were gathered to fill an order from a grower(s) that
wanted bees at cut-rate prices. Most or all of the hives were likely taken from
stockpile sites in Kern County.One person was arrested, another released. For
more info, contact Joe Romance(661)549-0292 or <JPRomance@aol.com>
The Kern County
sheriff's office is trying to locate more of the orange painted boxes, white
lids, with the brands ground off. If you have any information you may contact
bees chilled, shaved and microchipped in Australian study to prevent killer
scientists have attached small sensors onto thousands of honey bees to monitor
their movements in a study aimed at stopping the spread of the illnesses that
wiped out entire bee populations in the northern hemisphere.
microchips, weighing about 5 milligrams and measuring 2.5 square millimeters,
are glued to the bees after scientists at the Commonwealth Scientific and
Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Tasmania soothe the insects to
sleep at 5 degrees Celsius.
young bees tend to be hairier than the older ones, so they are shaved.
total of 5,000 bees will be included in the study, which is taking place over
the Australian summer.
study could help deal with the so-called colony collapse disorder, a situation
where bees mysteriously disappear from hives, and the encroachment of the
parasitic varroa mite, the researchers say.
2006, CCD has caused the devastation of an estimated 10 million beehives at an
average value of $200 each, according to the May report by the US Department of
Agriculture, mainly due to the use of pesticides.
experiment will also give farmers and fruit growers a chance to manage their
crops better, as it will study the bee’s role in pollination, CSIRO said in a
this technology, we aim to understand the bee's relationship with its
environment," research project leader Paulo de Souza said.
radio frequency identification sensors work like an electronic tag for cars on
a toll road, recording when insects pass a checkpoint, and that will allow
researchers to construct a 3D image of the insects' movements, a process
described as "swarm sensing," Reuters reported.
scientists are also working on diminishing the sensor to 1 square millimeter,
so they can be glued to smaller insects, such as mosquitoes.
will be the largest study ever done of this kind, given that there will be
5,000 sensors. Two months is quite a long time to be studying them, too,” De
Souza told The Guardian newspaper.
A Queen Bee’s Secret, Pinpointed
JAN. 20, 2014
By DOUGLAS QUENQUA
In the highly organized colonies of bees, wasps and ants,
the queen has a monopoly on breeding; workers do not reproduce when a fertile
queen is present. Just how she accomplishes that has been something of a
mystery. Previous studies have shown that queens use chemical signals to keep
workers sterile, but the few chemicals identified so far did not appear to be
related to one another.
Now, an international team of researchers has identified
chemicals known as pheromones that are specific to queen wasps, bumblebees and
desert ants that keep workers sterile while in their presence. These same
chemicals, long-chained saturated hydrocarbons, have been used by insects to
signal fertility for up to 150 million years, the researchers say.
The pheromones work by inhibiting the development of ovaries
in worker insects, or preventing the workers from laying eggs if their ovaries
do develop. Still, "the exact physiological pathways involved are not really
known,” said Annette Van Oystaeyen, a biologist at the University of Leuven in
Belgium and a lead author of the study, which was published in the journal
Dr. Van Oystaeyen and her colleagues identified the hydrocarbons by
studying the outer skeletons of several insects. Seeing that the queen of each
species overproduced certain chemicals, the researchers then administered the
chemicals to workers in the absence of a queen. Those insects remained sterile,
while workers separated from their queen and not given the chemicals
regenerated their ability to reproduce.
American Bee Journal
Exposure to Pesticides Results in Smaller Worker Bees
to a widely used pesticide causes worker bumblebees to grow less and
then hatch out at a smaller size, according to a new study by Royal
Holloway University of London.
The research, published today in the Journal of Applied Ecology,
reveals that prolonged exposure to a pyrethroid pesticide, which is
used on flowering crops to prevent insect damage, reduces the size of
individual bees produced by a colony.
The researchers, Gemma Baron, Dr Nigel Raine and Professor Mark Brown
from the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway worked with
colonies of bumblebees in their laboratory and exposed half of them to
The scientists tracked how the bee colonies grew over a four-month
period, recording their size and weighing bees on micro-scales, as well
as monitoring the number of queens and male bees produced by the colony.
"We already know that larger bumblebees are more effective at foraging.
Our result, revealing that this pesticide causes bees to hatch out at a
smaller size, is of concern as the size of workers produced in the field
is likely to be a key component of colony success, with smaller bees
being less efficient at collecting nectar and pollen from flowers," says
researcher Gemma Baron from Royal Holloway.
The study is the first to examine the impact of pyrethroid pesticides
across the entire lifecycle of bumblebees. The topical research is at
the heart of a national Bee Health Conference running in London from Wednesday to Friday this week (22-24 January 2014).
Professor Mark Brown said: "Bumblebees are essential to our food chain
so it's critical we understand how wild bees might be impacted by the
chemicals we are putting into the environment. We know we have to
protect plants from insect damage but we need to find a balance and
ensure we are not harming our bees in the process."
Given the current EU moratorium on the use of three neonicotinoid
pesticides, the use of other classes of pesticide, including
pyrethroids, is likely to increase.
Dr Nigel Raine, who is an Invited Speaker at this week's bee conference,
said: "Our work provides a significant step forward in understanding
the detrimental impact of pesticides other than neonicotinoids on wild
bees. Further studies using colonies placed in the field are essential
to understand the full impacts, and conducting such studies needs to be a
priority for scientists and governments."
AHPA 2014 Annual Convention
This year's convention in San Antonio, Texas was huge success!
We had record attendance, and everybody enjoyed the trade show, speakers, and
special events.We had a wide range of speakers that were very informative with
up to date information. The trade show vendors brought new products,
information,and goodies for everyone. We hada funprivate rodeo and barbeque,
and the banquet was elegant. Of course, the auction after the banquet was
hilarious, as always, thanks to Lee Knight our auctioneer extrodinaire.
Thank you to all of our speakers. We appreciate
the effort you put forth to ensure that our members are well informed and up to
date on current issues related to our industry.
Thank you to all of our trade show participants.
We appreciate the effort you put forth to ensure that our members
are well equipped and staffed for their business needs. We are also grateful to
organizations who team with the AHPA to ensure that beekeepers and the public
are knowledgeable about current issues related to our
Special thank you to the organizers
and helpers of the convention who ensured that it was a special occasionfor our
attendees: Randy Verhoek, Roberta Verhoek, Rochelle Verhoek, Connie Adee, Darla
Adee, Michelle Sphuler, Darren Cox, Cassie Cox, Mark Jensen, Carrie Jensen, and Lee