Guest Speaker: Michele Colopy, Program Director Pollinator Stewardship Council

Join Us this evening, Monday, June 3, 2019 for the
Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association Monthly Meeting!

Guest Speaker
Michele Colopy

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Michele Colopy has been the Program Director of the Pollinator Stewardship Council since March 2013. Her father was a beekeeper in southeast Ohio. She keeps honey bees in the city, and has replaced her crabgrass front yard with pesticide-free pollinator flowers for her honey bees and native pollinators.

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Ms. Colopy holds a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management/Arts Administration. Her nonprofit experience includes work in the performing arts, housing and homelessness, foreclosure prevention, community development, and health and wellness. She is currently the Treasurer of Ohio State Beekeepers Association.

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The mission of the Pollinator Stewardship Council, Inc. is to defend managed and native pollinators vital to a sustainable and affordable food supply from the adverse impact of pesticides.

As pollination is required for one-third of the nation’s food supply, we strive to accomplish our mission through the following activities:

  • Affect regulatory processes of pesticide risk assessment, label, and enforcement.

  • Provide advocacy, guidance and tools to document the detrimental effect of pesticides on pollinators.

  • Raise awareness about the adverse impact of pesticides on pollinators critical to the supply of food and the ecosystem.

Another View on New Insecticide - Flupyradifurone Still Concerning for Honey Bees

American Bee Journal    By Michele Colopy, Program Director, Pollinator Stewardship Council January 22, 2014

The Pollinator Stewardship Council is gravely concerned another systemic insecticide with similar insecticidal activity to neonicotinoids has been registered for seed, soil, and foliar treatments across a variety of crops. This new insecticide is proposed for use before, during and after bloom, three to five times per season.

Our concerns are derived from EPA’s own analysis of this butenolide insecticide.   Flupyradifurone has greater persistence in the water column than sediment, thus exposing honey bees through the ingestion of water with a Flupyradifurone half-life of 330.1 days.  What is also concerning is the research submitted to EPA showed this systemic insecticide may not be acutely toxic upon the first exposure, but the second and third applications show effects upon honey bee mortality, behavior, brood development, and food storage. 

The research concerning the residues of Flupyradifurone in nectar and pollen found different levels of the chemical in pollen and nectar, the level varied per plant, and if the plant had extra nectaries.  Pollen appeared to contain higher levels of Flupyradifurone, than nectar (3.5-106x), and the levels increased with the number of applications of Flupyradifurone.   Table 28 in EPA’s documentation further highlighted this concern as studies showed pollen in various crops showed an increase of Flupyradifurone at the second, and third applications during the same growing season.  Further, the concentration remained high for 1-7 days after the second and third applications (depending on the crop). 

Studies of caged honey bees fed Flupyradifurone do not reflect the real world of honey bees.  Flupyradifurone will be utilized in a tank mix, and effects of Flupyradifurone, its degradates, mixed with herbicides, and fungicides is unknown.  The synergistic effects of these chemicals upon honey bees is unknown; yet that will be how honey bees will encounter this compound.  While a ten-day honey bee feeding study was conducted, what happened at day 16, 21, and 24—developmental stages of honey bees?  To state there were “no consistent adverse effects” except “some increases in mortality and decreases in foraging activity immediately following applications . . . and in some cases there was recovery from the effects on mortality by test termination,” does not inspire confidence in the use of this compound.  EPA questioned the “large variation in starting colony size” and the “low number of replicates per treatment group” which limit the ability to detect the effects of Flupyradifurone.  One study mixing Flupyradifurone with a tebuconazole formulation enhanced the toxicity of Flupyradifurone increasing the toxicity “116-fold and 6.1 fold via the contact and oral routes.”   Relying on the label guideline to protect against mixing Flupyradifurone with azole fungicides is unrealistic.

According to EPA registration review documents,  “Maximum residues in comb pollen, nectar, and wax varied, but generally occurred one week to several months after the second application indicating that residues were translocated within the hives to varying extents.”  Flupyradifurone appears to have pre-lethal effects which long term, replicated studies would reveal.  Even when the studies prescribed Flupyradifurone based on the body weight of the honey bee there was increased worker mortality, decreased flight activity, and brood numbers varied widely during the evaluation periods and after over-wintering.  In one study it showed the “mortality of the test group was 5 times greater than the control group during the 7-day period after 3rd (full bloom) application.” 

While Flupyradifurone is “practically non-toxic to bees on an acute contact exposure basis,” “the greatest area of uncertainty surrounding the potential risk to bee pollinators is for foliar application at full bloom.”  “In addition, pollen, nectar, and wax residue data from one of the full field studies with Flupyradifurone (MRIDs 48844517) indicate that average residues did not reach their maxima until up to several months after the pesticide was applied.
The use of Flupyradifurone upon such a wide array of crops will translocate to pollinator forage areas developed through Federal and State initiatives.  Its mobility in water will affect honey bees, and other pollinators.  The repeated use of Flupyradifurone has shown to increase its toxicity with each application with a half-life of one application lasting 3-951 days in the plants, soil, and water.  The use of this compound will further exacerbate the concerns over the honey bees’ food supply: pollen, nectar, and water.
For more information about the EPA’s registration of this pesticide go to!docketDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2013-0226

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Beekeepers Partner with Corporations to Create Pollinator Habitat

CATCH THE BUZZ      By Kim Flottum    December 10, 2014

The Ohio Environmental Education Fund (OEEF) has awarded a grant “Beekeepers Collaborating to Create Pollinator Habitats” to beekeeping groups.  The project is a partnership of Medina County Beekeepers Association, The Ohio State Beekeepers Association, and the Pollinator Stewardship Council.  The project had to secure land partners for the habitat development prior to applying for the grant.  The grant will fund the development of pollinator habitat on 36 acres of corporate land in northeast Ohio and southwest Ohio.  Four corporate land partners have committed to creating and maintaining the habitat for a minimum of five years. The land partners are CEMEX, Inc., Remington Products Company, the Department of Veterans Affairs in Dayton, and Professional Services Providers of Wadsworth, LLC.  The grant will act as a catalyst to educate corporations, their employees, and customers about the need for pollinator habitat, connect beekeeping groups with local corporations, enhance public/private collaborations, and inspire land use changes in support of pollinator habitat.

“Lawns around corporate facilities are a grass desert for pollinators. They do not conserve water, add to the expenses of corporations in weekly mowing,  add to carbon emissions, and  have increased lawn chemical use that can cause concerns in the watershed.” stated Michele Colopy, Program Director of the Pollinator Stewardship Council, and regular contributor to Bee Culture Magazine.

“This grant is a wonderful opportunity for our local beekeeping clubs to build collaborative relationships with local businesses in order to support the health of our community.  Additional forage for pollinators will increase honey production, and support the pollinators so important to the floral success of our community gardens.” commented Terry Lieberman-Smith, Vice President of the Ohio State Beekeepers Association.

The pollinator habitat will be created on private land, however beekeepers will have access to it.  The land partners will contract with local beekeepers to place bee hives on the property.  The grant will also provide nesting areas for native pollinators.  Citizen Scientists will survey the land twice a year for the five years noting the diversity of insects, and other animal life that are utilizing the habitat.  This data will be available in a public database.  Educational materials will be provided to the corporate partners to share with their employees and customers.  The local bee clubs will provide scholarships to four 4-H students within the land partner areas, with the 4-H students writing articles for the corporate newsletters about honey bees and their beekeeping experience. The beekeeping partners will encourage other corporations to convert their grassy lawns into pollinator habitat through presentations about the project.

Peggy Garnes, President of the Medina County Beekeepers Association and advertising Director for Bee Culture Magazine, expressed excitement at the connections made by this program.  “This is a wonderful partnership of beekeepers and corporations coming together to support honey bees and native pollinators so important to our local beekeepers, gardeners, and farmers.”

As the program had to secure land partners prior to applying for the grant, the project cannot accept any other land partners at this time.  The Pollinator Stewardship Council, who wrote the grant, expects this project will serve as a pilot program adaptable in other states.  If your State Beekeeping organization is interested in a similar program in your state, contact the Pollinator Stewardship Council directly at or 832-727-9492.

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