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Archived Latest News January 2014



The materials and information included in this Latest News page are provided as a service to you and do not reflect endorsement by the American Honey Producers Association (AHPA). The content and opinions expressed within the page are those of the authors and are not necessarily shared by AHPA. AHPA is not responsible for the accuracy of information provided from outside sources.


Snow sculpture contest winners announced in St. Paul

 

KARE 11 Staff, KARE 9:43 p.m. EST January 26, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The winners of the 2014 State Snow Sculpting Competition were awarded on Sunday.

First Place - "It's Bee-ginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas"

  • Tim Trost, Goodhue
  • Jared Trost, Hastings
  • Jim Krueger, East Bethel

 

CATCH THE BUZZ

Corn Dust Research Consortium (CDRC) Calls for Widespread Cooperative Measures To Support Honey Bees, Beekeepers, and Farmers

R. Thomas (Tom) Van Arsdall, Director of Public Policy

San Francisco, California – 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.

The CDRC 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 corn planting.

The CDRC 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.

Two research 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 research.

The second 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.

The three 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.

All 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 offered.

The first 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.

The second 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.

Several 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.

"The CDRC 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.”

A second 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 info@pollinator.org. 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.

About 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.

Quotes and Contacts from CDRC Members (alphabetized list of quotes and contacts for CDRC members who can be contacted for further information)

American 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.”

American 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.”

Association 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.”

American 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.”

Bayer 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 david.fischer@bayer.com.

Canadian 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 chc-ccm@honeycouncil.ca.

Farm 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 mikem@greatplainsmfg.com.

National 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.

Syngenta: 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 jay.overmyer@syngenta.com,

University 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 actions.”

 

 

Single gene separates queen from workers

Jan 29, 2014

Scientists have identified how a single gene in honey bees separates the queens from the workers.

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 of bees' 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 comb."

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 behaviors."

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

 

 

CATCH THE BUZZ

Miticides, Ag Chems and Inert Ingredients A Deadly Mix In A Beehive

Alan Harman

Disturbing 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.

"We found 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.

"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 changed.”

The research 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.

To examine 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 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.

"We found that mixtures of pesticides can have greater consequences for larval toxicity than one would expect from individual pesticides,” Frazier says.

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 chlorothalonil mixture.

Penn State 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.

"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 their survival and development,” he says.

The 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.

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 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.”

The team also found that increasing amounts of NMP corresponded to increased larval mortality, even at the lowest concentration tested.

"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 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.

"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.”

 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 changed."

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 said.

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 chlorothalonil mixture.

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 concentration tested.

"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

Ron Smith

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

  

 

Green Drought
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 process garlic.”

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 them (800) 861-3110

  

 

 

 

 

 

.com

5,000 bees chilled, shaved and microchipped in Australian study to prevent killer diseases

January 17, 2014

Australian 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.

The 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.

Some young bees tend to be hairier than the older ones, so they are shaved.

A total of 5,000 bees will be included in the study, which is taking place over the Australian summer.

The 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.

Since 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.

The 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 statement.

"Using this technology, we aim to understand the bee's relationship with its environment," research project leader Paulo de Souza said.

The 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.

The scientists are also working on diminishing the sensor to 1 square millimeter, so they can be glued to smaller insects, such as mosquitoes.

"This 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 Science.

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


Exposure 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 pesticide.

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

San Antonio, Texas

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 industry.

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 Knight.

 

 


 

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Cassie Cox
Executive Secretary
PO Box 435
Mendon, UT 84325
office:281-900-9740
cassie@AHPAnet.com