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NIFA Funding For Honey Bee Research
Everyone is aware of the decline in honey bee and other pollinator populations the past few years. This is of grave concern to the beekeeping industry and to US agriculture and the American Honey Producer's Association is taking it very seriously. To that end, AHPA has been working closely with congressional appropriators and the National Institutes of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) itself over the past few years to boost that agency’s commitment to pollinator and honey bee research. We are pleased to announce that the officials at NIFA have answered the call by steadily increasing resources committed to our cause year over year, from $4.3M in 2010 to an estimated $11.5M in 2013 (See chart below). We look forward to an equally productive 2014 and have already begun our work on the FY’15 budget and appropriations season, including working with NIFA on specific categories of research most helpful to the industry.
NIFA funding for honey bee research, 2010-2013:
2013 (Est.) 11.5
Concert For Bees
My name is Brent Cunningham; I am a bee lover, entrepreneur, environmentalist, community developer, and urban and regional planner. I have started an online campaign called concert4dabees (twitter: @concert4dabees). A BENEFIT CONCERT is a great idea to raise money for research and development, and to increase awareness for SAVING THE BEES. Preferably funds will assist research at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at the University of California (The largest bee research facility in North America). However through partnership, the direction of funds could go to other areas. I am reaching out to several organizations to see if they would partner for this event.
Currently, I am participating in developing organic gardening community development bee friendly programs in my hometown. In addition, I have created an apparel line called B.E.E. (BEAT EVERY ENEMY) Clothing Company. B.E.E. was created in 2012, and honestly I was not aware of the decline in bee population when I started the company. However, I have become actively involved with increasing awareness, using the apparel industry as a platform.
I am seeking partnership with beekeepers, environmentalists, organic enthusiasts, and various other organizations to make this event happen. Funding is one of the main issues to address. However, I want to create a Kickstarter campaign that will help raise money for the event. If you would like to partner, please let me know. Let’s make a CONCERT FOR THE BEES a reality. All suggestions are welcomed! Thank you for reading this message!
B.E.E. Clothing Co.
Phony honey a sweet deal for counterfeiters, bad for consumers
Date: February 26, 2014
Source: Texas A&M University
Summary: Consumers buying honey might not be getting what they pay for according to one of the world’s leading honey experts, who is supporting a U.S. Senate bill that would, if passed, put more stringent requirements on the federal government to ensure the origin of imported honey and compel sellers to label it accurately.
Consumers buying honey might not be getting what they pay for according to a Texas A&M University professor and one of the world's leading honey experts, who is supporting a U.S. Senate bill that would, if passed, put more stringent requirements on the federal government to ensure the origin of imported honey and compel sellers to label it accurately.
Vaughn Bryant, an anthropology professor at Texas A&M and a melissopalynologist ― someone who studies the pollen in honey ― tested honey samples from grocery and big box stores, farmers markets, and natural food and drug stores around the country and found more than 75 percent of the honey being sold has all of the pollen filtered out, according to Food Safety News, which sponsored the study.
"Large importing companies take all the pollen out of honey because they claim it makes the honey clearer and prevents crystallization, therefore making it easier to sell," Bryant explains. "However, by removing the pollen, you also remove clues needed to verify where the honey was produced and what nectar sources are dominant. This means that with no traces of pollen, honey sellers can take cheap honey and claim it's a type that sells for a premium price."
Certain types of premium honey can sell for upwards of $50 a jar, and this high price has opened the door for honey fraud.
The FDA doesn't require pollen in honey sold in the U.S., Bryant says, so importers are free to remove it. "This makes it possible for some companies to buy cheap honey with no pollen and there are no clues to know where it comes from," he asserts.
Bryant, who has a modern pollen reference collection of 20,000 types from all over the world (worth, he estimates, between $4-5 million), uses it and his microscope to identify hundreds of pollen types found in honey samples from around the world.
By identifying the type of pollen in a honey sample, he can tell where the honey came from and what nectar sources were used.
"There are about 350,000 different species of plants and each species produces a unique pollen type," the professor explains. "Plants are best suited to specific ecological conditions. You don't find mesquite trees growing in Canada and you don't find spruce or fir trees growing in Texas. If I find mesquite pollen in a honey sample, I know it didn't come from Canada, or if I find spruce or fir pollen in a honey sample, I know it's not from Texas."
Knowing where honey comes from is important not only for accurate pricing, says Bryant, but also because different countries have different standards about pesticides and using antibiotics in hives to keep the bees disease-free. To help regulate honey safety, "We have strict import laws that apply to honey coming from certain countries," he says.
The U.S. also has high tariffs or taxes on the honey from some countries, such as China.
"China is the world's leading producer of honey," Bryant points out. "They need to export a lot of it and in the past they were accused of 'dumping' their excess honey on the market at prices below the world price. This was hurting the U.S. beekeeping industry, so the U.S. put a high tariff on Chinese honey. After that, Chinese honey was too expensive to import, so one solution was to sell it to other countries. Some of those other countries then resold the Chinese honey to the U.S. claiming the honey was produced in the second country. This is called 'transshipping' and it is illegal and has been a big problem."
Bryant has come out in support of Senate bill S-662, a customs reauthorization bill. One of the bill's provisions will require that appropriate U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency resources exist to address concerns that honey, as well as contraband archaeological or ethnological material, is not being imported into the U.S. in violation of U.S. customs laws. That provision is designed to help stop honey transshipments by requiring CBP to compile a database of the individual characteristics of imported honey to verify country of origin and engage foreign governments for assistance in creating the database. The CBP would also be required to consult with the honey industry to develop industry standards for honey identification and report to Congress on testing capabilities, including recommendations for improvements. Also the FDA would be required to establish a national standard for honey identification.
"If this bill is passed, it would require sellers to be accurate in terms of what they put on honey labels," notes Bryant. "There is no law now that requires that type of 'truth in labeling' for honey. This new Senate bill would ensure that consumers get what they're paying for and it will help the honest beekeepers sell their honey."
Preventing the importation of cheap, bogus honey is vital to ensuring the survival of U.S. beekeepers, says the professor. "Without them and without the bees they raise, many of our food crops would not get pollinated and produce the fruits and nuts we consume.
"If beekeeping becomes a money-losing business in the U.S., there will soon be fewer bees and hives," Bryant contends. "That, in turn, will greatly increase the cost of food. The result might be oranges or apples, both pollinated by bees, costing $5 each because so few are produced without adequate pollination."
National Honey Board Funds New Honey Bee Research Projects Focusing on Honey Bee Health
Firestone, Colo., February 7, 2014 – The National Honey
Board has approved funding for eight new research projects focusing on honey bee
health. The Board’s Research Committee,
with input from anindependent panel of experts, selected the projects from 25proposals
received from researchers around the world. The total dollar commitment for the eight projects is $235,646.In addition, the
Board’s 2014 budget includes $50,500 for ongoing bee research projects from
The eight new
projects approved for funding in 2014 include:
1. "Are virus
levels reduced in honey bees from propolis-stimulated hives?,” Dr. Kim Mogen,
University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
stressed sunflowers: Impacts on pollen nutritional value and concentrations of
seed treated pesticides,” Dr. Dennis vanEngelsdorp, University of Maryland.
use of Acetobacteriacea Alpha 2.2 for improving honey bee colony health,” Dr.
Vanessa Corby-Harris and Dr. Kirk E. Anderson, USDA Carl Hayden Bee Research
potential of predatory mite (Stratiolaelapsscimitus) as a biological control
agent for Varroa mites and testing Amitraz (Apivar) efficacy and mite
resistance,” Dr. Ramesh Sagili and AshrafunNessa, Oregon State University.
5. "A proteomic
approach to evaluate effects of fumagillin and discover new target genes for
treatment of Nosemaceranae in honey bees,” Dr. LeellenSolter, University of
the contribution of supplemental feeding to honey bee (Apismellifera) colony
strength, Nosema virulence, and detoxification gene activity,” Dr. Daniel
Schmehl, University of Florida.
evaluation of a novel resistance mechanism of bees against Varroa,” Dr. Greg
Hunt, Purdue University.
exposure and toxicity of neonicotinoid insecticides to honeybees via flowering
field margins: The importance of continual pesticide exposure in bee forage,”
Dr. Jonathan Lundgren and Dr. Christina Mogren, USDA-ARS, Brookings, SD. Scott
Fausti, South Dakota State University.
Honey bee research projects funded by the National Honey
Board are listed on the Board’s website, www.honey.com. Visitors can click on the "Honey Industry”
tab and then go to "Honey and Bee Research” for further information on ongoing and
completed projects. The call for proposals for 2015 funding is expected to be
posted on the Board’s website by the end of August, with proposals due by
The National Honey Board is an industry-funded
agriculture promotion group that works to educate consumers about the benefits
and uses for honey and honey products through research, marketing and
LA Takes First Step Toward Legalizing Urban Beekeeping
After a lengthy lobbying effort from bee lovers, Los
Angeles is finally taking the first steps to legalize urban beekeeping in the
By Maryam Henein,
After a lengthy lobbying effort from bee lovers, Los
Angeles is finally taking the first steps to legalize urban beekeeping in the
city. On February 12th, the Los Angeles City Council ordered a review of the
city’s zoning laws to allow urban beekeeping in residential areas.
"The hearing went as well as it possibly could go,” says
Rob McFarland, co-founder of the Los Angeles beekeeping nonprofit HoneyLove.
"We got a 15-0 unanimous vote to order a feasibility study.” McFarland and his
wife Chelsea, along with several urban beekeepers and bee lovers, have been
working on this effort for three years.
The 60 to 90 day study, which will eventually allow
beekeeping in areas where there are single-family homes, will look to other
cities where beekeeping is already legal, and study their regulations and the
impacts of hives on the area. Santa Monica legalized urban beekeeping in 2011.
Cities such as Seattle, New York, and Denver have also legalized urban
beekeeping in the past few years to encourage local agriculture and boost the
health of the bee population.
Urban beekeeping, along with other rural pursuits like
raising chickens and planting edible gardens, has increased in popularity in
the past several years. These days, honeybees ironically do better in cities
than they do in the countryside. That’s because rural areas are doused with
pesticides and don’t offer the same variety of plants for diverse sources of
pollens year round.
In the underground scene, hundreds of beekeepers,
including myself, have already been discretely raising bees in the city’s
residential areas. But once urban beekeeping is officially legal there will
likely be strict guidelines. For instance, an average residential lot will only
be allowed two hives per property.
As Angelenos start to realize that their next door
neighbor may be keeping bees in their backyard one day soon, two questions
immediately come to mind. 1) Will I get stung? 2) What about "killer” bees?
"Education is necessary to soothe those fears,” says
The truth is that LA County is teaming with honeybees!
During swarm season in early spring, feral hives are found hiding in water
meters, walls, electrical boxes, compost bins, and trees all over the city,
according to McFarland who has been rescuing wild bees from extermination and
relocating them to backyards for several years.
Currently, there are about nine to 11 colonies per square
mile, so you are no more likely to get stung than you are already. "And a
managed colony is less likely to sting than a feral hive,” adds McFarland.
And when it comes to "killer” bees, they’ve been given a
bad rap and sensationalized by the media. What’s the sexier story: a dangerous
(bad ass) Africanized bee or an insect making honey and pollinating our food
Beekeepers estimate that 10 percent or fewer of the feral
hives they relocate are so aggressive that they must be destroyed. Likewise,
other strains of bees can behave badly if they’re mistreated.
If we really had a serious Africanized bee problem in LA,
people would be chased down the street every day. In reality, since Africanized
bees are actually more resilient to disease they’re superior. We need their
In my film Vanishing of the Bees, Simon Buxton, beekeeper and author
of the Shamanic Way of the Bees, says the future of bees relies on each person
having 60,000 bees rather than having one beekeeper with 60,000 hives. I agree
The truth is we need as many bees as possible since we’ve
been losing a third of them since 2006. It’s important to protect the bees that
thrive here locally, and finally that possibility is becoming a reality. Read
French Beekeeping Union (UNAF) Demands a Total Ban on ALL Neonicotinoids
Published Tuesday, February 11, 2014
In an open letter to the Minister of Agriculture , the National Union of French
Beekeepers ( UNAF) called for a total ban on the use of neonicotinoids ,
including acetamiprid and thiacloprid .
On 11 February, the UNAF said at its annual press conference that national
honey production was still down ( less than 15,000 tonnes).
Even if poor weather conditions in 2013 are partly responsible , theÂ
beekeeping union still believes that pesticides being used on rapeseed and
sunflower are also responsible .
Therefore, while regarding the recent partial ban of three neonicotinoids (
imidacloprid , clothianidin and thiamethoxam ) as an important first step,
beekeepers sent an open letter to Minister of Agriculture on February 10, 2014.
They demandÂ the application of the 'Precautionary Principle' and the complete
withdrawal of all neonicotinoid insecticides from the market.
UNAF wants the extension of the ban of these three active substances to all
crops , including small grains.
UNAF would also like the European Commission to urge EFSA to complete its
assessment of thiacloprid and acetamiprid .
A thorough revision of the Decree of 28 November 2003 on the bee mention is
also requested by the UNAF to strengthen the ban on pesticides during flowering
"We hope that the Minister of Agriculture will maintain the reference and
harden his attitude ," said Olivier Belval , President UNAF.
Honey Board Offers Newly Created Honey
Firestone, Colo., February 7, 2014 – The National Honey Board
(NHB) announced that it has produced a new honey cookbook entitled Delicious Dishes and Tasty Treats: Honey
Recipes for Every Occasion.
Delicious Dishes and Tasty Treats is a
seventy-four page, spiral bound cookbook that sits conveniently on any tabletop.
This functional design is not only stylish, but the spiral
binding allows for ease of transition between recipes. From appetizers to
entrees, side dishes and more, this honey cookbook has it all.
Not only is Delicious Dishes and Tasty Treats full
of mouth-watering honey-inspired recipes, but it also has functional and
educational tidbits when cooking and baking with honey. It walks users through
how honey interacts with different dishes, as well as breaks-down how to
substitute honey for other granulated sweeteners. Finally, readers are left with
a few cooking tips to get the most out of their honey-inspired dishes.
"We are pleased to offer this completely
redesigned cookbook to the honey industry,” said Catherine Barry, Marketing
Director for the National Honey Board. "The cookbook was highly requested before
and we know this fresh version will be just as popular in our ever-present goal
of promoting honey. With colorful images and useful information, each cookbook
is not only attractive, but also showcases the versatility of honey.”
The new cookbooks are available
for $5.00, in limited quantities. To order, please contact Andrea Brening, the
National Honey Board’s fulfillment coordinator at 800-553-7162.
The National Honey Board is an
industry-funded agriculture promotion group that works to educate consumers
about the benefits and uses for honey and honey products through research,
marketing and promotional programs.
National Honey Bee Advisory Board
Effects on non target
organisms not understood
The National Honey Bee
Advisory Board and beekeeping industry has greatly benefited from independent
scientific input. Beekeepers and farmers hope, and yet have concerns about RNA
technology, as described in the recent New York Times article, "Genetic
weapon against insects raises hope and fear in farming,” Link Above
(1-27-14). We agree with the findings of the EPA Scientific Advisory Panel
(SAP) concerning RNAi technology that "not all aspects of the fate of dsRNA in
the environment and potential effects on nontarget organisms are necessarily
EPA asked this panel of
scientists to provide them with their expertise concerning this new pesticide
technology. The scientists stated in their White Paper of Sept. 30, 2013,
"Better understanding of the mechanisms influencing uptake, particularly if they
can be extrapolated to other organisms, would reduce uncertainty in exposure
assumptions and help to focus risk assessments on the most appropriate
The SAP includes
scientists working in entomological fields to human studies from acclaimed
universities across the United States.
FIFRA SAP Chair
Daniel Schlenk, Ph.D.
Professor of Aquatic Ecotoxicology
University of California, Riverside
K. Barry Delclos,
Division of Biochem. Tox
National Center for Toxicol. Research
Marion F. Ehrich,
Co-director, Laboratory for Neurotoxicity
Professor, Pharmacology and Toxicology
Department of Biomedical
Sciences & Pathobiology
Viginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary
Stephen Klaine, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
Director, Institute of Environmental Toxicology
James McManaman, Ph.D.
Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Physiology
Universoty of Colorado
Vice President for Research
Pathology, Micobiology and Immunology
University of S.C.
Martha S. Sandy, Ph.D.
Senior Toxicologist and Chief
Cancer Toxicology and Epidemiology
Reproductive and Cancer Hazard Assessment Branch
Environmental Health Hazard Assessment
California Environmental Protection
The FIFRA SAP concluded
in their report, "The new categories of dsRNA products, however, will present
additional hazard and risk assessment challenges due to their unique modes of
action and other toxicological endpoints that cannot be measured using the
traditional testing paradigm.”
The EPA welcomed public
comment concerning the White Paper and the National Honey Bee Advisory Board was
pleased to provide input. Honey bees, as the Scientific Advisory Panel stated,
could be greatly impacted by the RNAi pesticide technology. They expressed their
concerns that "not all aspects of the fate of dsRNA in the environment and
potential effects on nontarget organisms are necessarily understood.” They
advised that it is unclear how RNAi technology can translocate throughout the
environment, but possible transmission may include dust from degraded plant
material, soil, plant pollen taken to bee hives, and even mammals consuming the
plants and depositing the digested food far from the initial treatment area. The
nontarget exposure opportunities present many concerns. For honey bees
specifically, "The factors influencing the possibility of exposure by this
pathway (e.g. longevity of dsRNA once consumed, concentration resulting within
the herbivorous insect) are not known.”
The National Honey Bee
Advisory Board supports the findings of these noted researchers. We agree with
EPA’s Scientific Advisory Panel, that "the unique nature of dsRNA and RNAI raise
several issues of concern with respect to the typical data set submitted for
"1) The potential
influence of latent effects on results of nontarget testing.” "Some studies,
such as nontarget insect studies, are carried out for sufficient time to observe
effects on reproduction, and latent effects would more likely be
"2) The appropriate life
stage for testing.” "However, given the range of possible unexpected effects, it
is conceivable that an effect could occur in the field that would not be
observed in the lab.”
"3) The possibility of
chronic effects.” "Suppression of genes without overt signs of toxicity may be
considered insignificant following a single exposure; however, long-term
exposure and continuous or repeated knockdown could result in chronic
The SAP’s White Paper
sums up their concerns succinctly, exclaiming EPA "has not, to date, assessed
the hazards or risks of dsRNA applied directly to the environment as components
of end-use products intended for pest control under Section 3 of FIFRA.” The
"screening level assessments currently used for traditional chemical pesticides
may not be applicable due to the unique modes of action of dsRNA active
The FIFRA SAP and the
National Honey Bee Advisory Board (NHBAB) acknowledge EPA’s goal is to "ensure
that unreasonable effects do not occur to nontarget populations.” The SAP White
Paper references sixty-four RNA/DNA/RNAi/gene studies which made it clear this
new technology "will present additional hazard and risk assessment challenges
due to their unique modes of action and other toxicological endpoints that
cannot be measured using the traditional testing paradigm.” The NHBAB agrees
with the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Panel and the review of research by Lundgren
and Duan (2013) observing "that the current tiered hazard assessment approach
used by the Agency, is inappropriate to address the following unique hazards
potentially posed by dsRNA products:
Off target gene
Silencing the target gene
in unintended organisms
Saturation of the RNAi
machinery in cells.”
The NHBAB agrees with the
FIFRA SAP "that accurate, standardized methods for measuring and assessing the
aforementioned hazards will be necessary to conduct robust nontarget species
risk assessments on dsRNA products.”
However, we express our
concern that EPA granted an experimental use permit in 2013 for a 20,000 acre
field study of RNAi corn to study the Snf7 gene directed at the corn root worm
before "standardized methods for measuring and assessing the aforementioned
hazards” were developed. The FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel White Paper appears
to have been ignored when EPA approved a field test, without applicable testing
protocols for this technology. EPA’s goal is to "ensure that unreasonable
effects do not occur to nontarget populations.” This experimental use permit
puts nontarget organisms at risk. The Scientific Advisory Panel White Paper
defined some of those risks:
". . .double stranded RNA
(dsRNA) was 10 times or more potent in its effect on gene
"Why some miRNAs trigger
transitivity and some do not is not well understood at this
". . . the silencing of a
gene targeted in one cell can lead to the silencing of a second gene in a
distinct cell type.”
"Although the details of
the RNAi pathways and their outcomes may differ among organisms, what is clear
is that the influence of small RNAs on growth, development, defense and even
transient heritability of traits is substantial.”
"It is unclear at this
point whether a dsRNA PIP also would be incidentally present in root exudates,
guttation droplets, or nectar, providing additional on-field sources of
While RNAi technology may
be a useful tool, "uncertainties clearly exist with respect to a complete
understanding of all current and future applications of this technology.” " . .
. The current testing paradigm for nontarget species characterizations, which
emphasized limited dose testing and use of mortality as an endpoint, likely will
not be adequate to assess adverse effects resulting from off-target gene
silencing, silencing of the target gene in unintended organisms, immune
stimulation, and saturation of the RNAi machinery in
technology is thought to be a possible control of Varroa, an insidious pest of
honey bees. However, as the Varroa is basically a virus-filled-syringe in the
guise of an arachnid, using RNAi upon Varroa or in bees to get at Varroa will
subject honey bees to unknown gene silencing. As the FIFRA SAP committee
succinctly stated RNAI "uncertainties clearly exist with respect to a complete
understanding of all current and future applications of this technology.” RNAi
technology must be researched fully to protect bees, to protect human health,
and to protect the environment.
The National Honey Bee
Advisory Board supports the findings of the EPA Scientific Advisory Panel, and
expresses concern the EPA would ignore the recommendations of their own panel of
scientific experts. The experimental use permit for RNAi technology on 20,000
acres clearly violates EPA’s mandate to "ensure that unreasonable effects do not
occur to nontarget populations.”
National Honey Bee Advisory Board
Steve Ellis, email@example.com
Receives British Award
Four Americans have been honored by Her Majesty
Queen Elizabeth II and were presented their medals by Ambassador, Sir Peter
Westmacott, at a ceremony Feb. 12, 2014 at the British Embassy in Washington.
Dr. Keith Delaplane, professor and Walter B. Hill Fellow with the University of
Georgia’s Department of Entomology, has been made an Honorary Member of
the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in recognition of his outstanding
services to beekeeping.
Captain Brian Jordan, United States Marine Corps, has received the British
Distinguished Flying Cross in recognition of his exemplary gallantry during
active operations against the enemy in the air.
Ms Shari McGraw, Co-Head of Human Resources at the British Embassy, has been
made an Honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in recognition
of her significant achievements in public service.
Ms Judith O’Rourke, Director of Undergraduate Studies at Syracuse University,
has been made an Honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British
Empire (OBE) in recognition of her services to the communities of Syracuse and
Lockerbie following the attack on Pan Am 103 in 1988.
"I am delighted that the work of Dr Delaplane, Captain Jordan, Ms McGraw, and
Ms O’Rourke has been recognized with these awards,” said Ambassador Peter
Westmacott. "Their contributions to the United Kingdom have been invaluable in
each of their fields and underscore the deep relationship between the United
Kingdom and the United States.”
The UK honors system recognizes exceptional achievement and service to the
nation, and includes non-British nationals who receive "Honorary” awards for
their important contribution to British interests. All British honors are
awarded on merit, and honorary awards are conferred by HM The Queen on the
advice of the Government.
Keith Delaplane's involvement in apiculture and conservation is renowned on a
local, national and international scale. He has written 247 publications,
completed 182 presentations at professional meetings. Lectured at 236 local
meetings: supervised seven research graduates and received many awards at
international level. He was an unpaid program reviewer for the United Kingdom
Natural Environment Research Council in 2000. Over the past 11 years, he has
given support to local beekeepers and he is well known for his scientific and
Honey Board Seeks Nominees for Board Positions
Firestone, Colo., February 4, 2014 – The National Honey Board is seeking
persons interested in serving as a Board member or Alternate Board Member.
Honey Board is composed of 10 members, including three first handlers; two
importers; one importer-handler; one marketing cooperative; and three
producers, and their respective alternates.
This year the
Board will fill three seats, one first handler, one importer-handler, one
producer, and their respective alternates, to replace representatives whose
terms expire at the end of this year.
All nominations to the National Honey Board must be made by qualified
national organizations within the honey industry, and nominees must submit a
completed application and background form.
Final appointments are made by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. Each
selected member and alternate will serve a three-year term of office. The next term of newly appointed Board
members and their alternates will begin January 1, 2015, and end December 31,
If you are interested in being considered for a Board member
or alternate position, please contact the National Honey Board for more
information; either visit "About NHB” at www.honey.com
or contact the Board’s Chief Executive Officer Bruce Boynton
at (303) 776-2337, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Inquiries must be
made by April 15, 2014. Interested
persons are encouraged to review the HPIB Order and other information in the
"About NHB” section of www.honey.com.
Honey Board meets periodically to review
marketing and research activities that benefit the industry. The national
program, which became effective in 2008, is industry-funded and supports the
national marketing and promotion of honey and honey products. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service
oversees Board activities to ensure fiscal responsibility, program efficiency
and fair treatment of participating stakeholders.
The National Honey Board has adopted a Diversity
Policy and encourages Board membership that reflects the diversity of the
individuals served by the programs. All eligible women, minorities and persons
with disabilities are invited to seek nomination for a seat on the National
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
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