National Honey Bee Day 2018: Brush Up On Your Knowledge of Bee Protection

University of California - Kearney News Updates    By Stephanie Parreira    August 15, 2018

Honey bee on almond blossom. Photo by Jack Kelly Clark.Celebrate National Honey Bee Day by brushing up on your knowledge of bee protection—check out the newly revised Best Management Practices to Protect Bees from Pesticides and Bee Precaution Pesticide Ratings from UC IPM. These resources will help you strike the right balance between applying pesticides to protect crops and reducing the risk of harming our most important pollinators.

The best management practices now contain important information regarding the use of adjuvants and tank mixes, preventing the movement of pesticide-contaminated dust, and adjusting chemigation practices to reduce bee exposure to pesticide-contaminated water. The Bee Precaution Pesticide Ratings have also been updated to include ratings for 38 new pesticides, including insecticides (baits, mixtures, and biological active ingredients), molluscicides (for snail and slug control), and fungicides.

Most tree and row crops are finished blooming by now, but it is a good idea to learn about bee protection year-round. Visit these resources today to choose pesticides that are least toxic to bees and learn how you can help prevent bees from being harmed by pesticide applications.

http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=27973

EPA-Registered Pesticide Products Approved for Use Against Varroa Mites in Bee Hives

EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)  January 2016

As part of the National Pollinator Health Strategy, EPA committed to helping beekeepers combat Varroa mites. Varroa mites are parasites that feed on developing bees, leading to brood mortality and reduced lifespan of worker bees. They also transmit numerous honeybee viruses. The health of a colony can be critically damaged by an infestation of Varroa mites. Once infested, if left untreated, the colony will likely die. By expediting the approval of pesticides that target Varroamites and publishing information about the products, EPA is honoring another commitment in the National Strategy.

The pesticide products listed on this page are registered by EPA at the federal level for use against Varroa mites. Rotating products to combat Varroa mites is an important tactic to prevent resistance development and to maintain the usefulness of individual pesticides. Beekeepers are encouraged to check with their state pesticide regulatory agencies to determine the regulatory status of the products in the individual states.

Primary registered products in the list have 2-part EPA registration numbers and are listed in bold. Distributor products have a 3-part EPA registration number, with the first two numbers reflecting the primary registered product’s registration number. Distributors may market their products under different names, but the formulations and uses are identical to the primary registered.

Registration #Product NameActive Ingredient
2724-406 ZOECON RF-318 APISTAN STRIP Fluvalinate (10.25%)
2724-406-62042 APISTAN ANTI-VARROA MITE STRIPS  
61671-3 FOR-MITE Formic acid (65.9%)
70950-2 AVACHEM SUCROSE OCTANOATE [40.0%] Sucrose octanoate (40%)
70950-2-2205 SUCROCIDE  
70950-2-84710 SUCRASHIELD  
73291-1 API LIFE VAR  Thymol (74.09%), Oil of eucalyptus (16%), Menthol (3.73%)
75710-2 MITE-AWAY QUICK STRIPS  Formic acid (46.7%)
79671-1 APIGUARD Thymol (25%)
83623-2 HOPGUARD II Hop beta acids resin (16%)
87243-1 Apivar Amitraz (3.33%)
91266-1 OXALIC ACID DIHYDRATE Oxalic acid (100%)
91266-1-73291 OXALIC ACID DIHYDRATE  
91266-1-91832 OXALIC ACID DIHYDRATE  
11556-138 CHECKMITE+ BEE HIVE PEST CONTROL STRIP Coumaphos (10%)
11556-138-61671 CHECKMITE+ BEE HIVE PEST CONTROL STRIP  

To Save Bees, Some States Take Aim At Pesticides

The PEW Charitale Trusts    By Sarah Brietenbach   July 29, 2015

A Varroa mite feeds on a honeybee. Varroa mites, thought to be a cause of the decline in the bee population, suck a blood-like substance from honeybees, leading to disease and deformities. (AP)The orange groves in Fort Myers, Florida, have turned to poison for David Mendes’ honeybees. The onetime winter havens for bees have been treated with a popular pesticide that he says kills his livelihood.

States and the federal government are searching for ways to protect managed bees like Mendes’

and their wild counterparts. The White House issued a strategy in May to promote the health of honey

bees and at least 24 states have enacted laws to protect bees and other pollinators such as bats, birds and butterflies.

Of the 100 crops that supply about 90 percent of the food for most of the world, 71 are pollinated by bees. Pollination has a direct effect on the quality of food and the diversity of crops. Declines in bee populations mean fruit and vegetables are less available and more expensive.

Though the number of honeybee colonies managed by beekeepers appears to be on the rise for the first time since “colony collapse disorder” was identified in 2006, U.S. bee populations have not returned to what they had been before a devastating parasite appeared in the late 1980s, causing the loss of up to 70 percent of managed bee colonies.

Advocates hope they can stem future colony losses by...

Continue reading: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2015/07/29/to-save-bees-some-states-take-aim-at-pesticides

Examining The Neonicotinoid Threat To Honey Bees

PHYS.org   American Chemical Society  July 8, 2015

The decline of honey bees has been a major concern globally for the past decade. One of the factors that could be contributing to the decline is the use of insecticides—specifically neonicotinoids—that persist in rivers and streams. Researchers now report in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters that although sunlight plays an important role in degrading pollutants, its effects on neonicotinoids can diminish dramatically even in shallow water.

Neonicotinoids protect crops from pests, such as whiteflies, beetles and termites. They are a popular tool in a farmer's arsenal, but they end up washing into surface waters and soil. Some research has suggested the  play a role in the disappearance of bees, a phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder. But scientists didn't fully understand the fate of neonicotinoids in the environment, an important factor in determining how they might contribute to the disorder. Charles S. Wong and colleagues wanted to investigate sunlight's effects on these insecticides in water.

Out of five neonicotinoids the researchers tested in water under simulated sunny conditions, three degraded considerably within minutes.

Two took a few days to break down. But a depth of just 3 inches of water was enough to shield at least one, thiamethoxam, from the degrading effects of the sun. The researchers say that this persistence at shallow depths could increase the chances aquatic life and other wildlife, including bees, could get exposed to the insecticide.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-07-neonicotinoid-threat-honey-bees.html#jCp

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by American Chemical Society.

Pesticides Not the Sole Culprit in Honey Bee Colony Declines

University of Maryland   PLOS ONE   March 18, 2015

Field-based study shows honey bee colonies are not harmed by realistic levels of exposure to the world’s most common insecticide

Colony declines are a major threat to the world’s honey bees, as well as the many wild plants and crops the bees pollinate. Among the lineup of possible culprits—including parasites, disease, climate stress and malnutrition—many have pointed the finger squarely at insecticides as a prime suspect. However, a new study from the University of Maryland shows that the world’s most common insecticide does not significantly harm honey bee colonies at real-world dosage levels.

The study, which was published March 18, 2015 in the journal PLOS ONE, looked at the effects of the insecticide imidacloprid on honey bee colonies over a three-year period. To see significant negative effects, including a sharp decrease in winter survival rates, the researchers had to expose the colonies to at least four times as much insecticide encountered under normal circumstances. At 20 times the normal exposure levels, the colonies experienced more severe consequences.

The study does not totally absolve imidacloprid of a causative role in honey bee colony declines. Rather, the results indicate that insecticides are but one of many factors causing trouble for the world’s honey bee populations.

“Everyone is pointing the finger at these insecticides. If you pull up a search on the Internet, that’s practically all anyone is talking about,” said Galen Dively, emeritus professor of entomology at UMD and lead author of the study. “This paper says no, it’s not the sole cause. It contributes, but there is a bigger picture.”

Imidacloprid is one of a broad class of insecticides called neonicotinoids, so named because they are chemically derived from nicotine. In tobacco and other related plants, nicotine acts as a deterrent by poisoning would-be herbivores. While nicotine itself was once used as an insecticide, it has fallen out of favor because it is highly toxic to humans and breaks down rapidly in sunlight. Neonicotinoids have been engineered specifically to address these shortcomings.

“Imidacloprid is the most widely used insecticide in the world. It’s not restricted because it is very safe—an order of magnitude safer than organophosphates,” Dively said, drawing a comparison with a class of chemicals known to be highly toxic to nearly all living things.

For the study, Dively and his colleagues fed pollen dosed with imidacloprid to honey bee colonies. The team purposely constructed a worst-case scenario, even at lower exposure levels. For example, they fed the colonies tainted food for up to 12 continuous weeks. This is a much longer exposure than bee colonies would experience in real-world scenarios, because most crops do not bloom for such an extended period of time.

Even at these longer exposure periods, realistic dosage levels of imidacloprid did not cause significant effects in the honey bee colonies. Only at higher levels did the colonies start to have trouble producing healthy offspring and surviving through the winter.

“A lot of attention has been paid to neonicotinoids, but there isn’t a lot of field data. This study is among the first to address that gap,” said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, an assistant professor of entomology at UMD who was not involved in the study. “It’s not surprising that higher levels will hurt insects. They’re insecticides after all. But this study is saying that neonicotinoids probably aren’t the sole culprit at lower, real-world doses.”

Dively and vanEngelsdorp both agree that a synergistic combination of many factors is most likely to blame for colony declines. Climate stress could be taking a toll, and malnutrition could be a factor as well. The latter is a particular concern for industrial bee colonies that are rented to large-scale agricultural operations. These bees spend much of their time eating pollen from one or two crops, which throws their diet out of balance.

“Except for the imidacloprid exposure, our test colonies were treated well,” said coauthor David Hawthorne, associate professor of entomology at UMD and director of education at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center(SESYNC). “They weren’t exposed to additional real-world stressors such as malnourishment or multiple pesticides. Colonies coping with these additional pressures may be more sensitive to imidacloprid.”

Dively, Hawthorne and their colleagues found some evidence for at least one synergistic combination. At the highest dosage levels (20 times the realistic dosage) colonies became more susceptible to Varroa mites, parasites that target honey bee colonies. A mite infestation can cause a whole variety of problems, including viral infections and an increased need for other pesticides to control the mites.

“It’s a multifactorial issue, with lots of stress factors,” Dively said. “Honey bees have a lot of pests and diseases to deal with. Insecticide exposure is one factor among many. It’s not the lone villain.”

In addition to Dively and Hawthorne, study authors included UMD technician Michael Embrey, Alaa Kamel of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Jeffery Pettis of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This research was supported by the USDA-ARS Bee Research Laboratory (Cooperative Agreement No. 58-1275-7-364), the Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees, the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The content of this article does not necessarily reflect the views of these organizations.

The research paper, “Assessment of Chronic Sublethal Effects of Imidacloprid on Honey Bee Colony Health,” Galen P. Dively, Michael S. Embrey, Alaa Kamel, David J. Hawthorne and Jeffery S. Pettis, was published online March 18, 2015, in the journal PLOS ONE.

Read at: http://cmns.umd.edu/news-events/features/2877

Chemical Landscape and Nursery Industry Says Bee-Friendly Habitat is "Not Viable"

Beyond Pesticides    Source:  E&O News    March 11, 2015

Ed Szymanski Franklin MA Honey bee on Turkish Rocket, my front yard

The White House’s recommendations for pollinator-friendly landscaping at federal facilities are “largely unachievable,” according to trade groups AmericanHort and the Society of American Florists. The groups believe that growing plants that attract and feed honey bees, wild bees, butterflies and other pollinators without a reliance on persistent, systemic and toxic pesticides that can harm them is “not a viable recommendation.” This comes in spite of several initiatives already taken by nurseries across the country to limit or restrict the use of systemic neonicotinoid pesticides on nursery and ornamental plant production.

Last fall, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) announced new guidelines for federal agencies to incorporate pollinator friendly practices at federal facilities and on federal lands.

Critical to pollinator health within these guidelines is a requirement that agencies should “[a]cquire seeds and plants from nurseries that do not treat their plants with systemic insecticides.” Further, the document states that, “Chemical controls that can adversely affect pollinator populations should not be applied in pollinator habitats. This includes herbicides, broad spectrum contact and systemic insecticides, and some fungicides.” Concurrent with CEQ’s announcement, the General Services Administration (GSA) also stated it is in the process of internally reviewing pollinator friendly guidelines for facility standards at “all new project starts.” Systemic pesticides like neonicotinoids have been linked to bee decline, and are noted for their contamination of pollen and nectar, as well as their persistence in soil and water. Visit What the Science Shows.

But in a letter submitted last month to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, which is spearheading the White House’s directive to establish a federal Pollinator Health Task Force to respond to declining pollinator populations, AmericanHort and the Society of American Florists took issue with CEQ’s suggestion that agencies avoid plants treated with systemic insecticides.

According to the groups, the recommendation in CEQ’s guidelines for pesticide restriction would impede the use of neonicotinoids, and would clash with state and federal requirements to treat for invasive pests. “We are concerned that some of the guidance recommendations provided in the ‘pollinator’ addendum are largely unachievable by industry, as they are not reflective of federal and state regulatory requirements and do not account for the significant pest challe nges that our segment of agriculture faces,” the letter states.

The groups believe that foregoing neonicotinoids could violate legal requirements to keep nurseries free of “all injurious insects,” including the emerald ash borer, the Asian longhorned beetle and other pests. Recommending that plant material be sourced only from suppliers that can “verify no insecticide treatments” is not a viable recommendation and could influence some growers to take greater risk and potentially spread problematic and invasive pests and disease on federal properties,” they wrote.

The letter also questions the guidance’s definition of integrated pest management (IPM), especially methods that promote use of biological controls, like predatory insects, to protect plants. CEQ in its guidance notes that IPM, “places an emphasis on the reduction of pesticide use and the implementation of preventative and alternative control measures.” However, the groups believe that CEQ’s IPM recommendations alter and expand the legislative definition of IPM by highlighting one perspective of IPM above other considerations. The letter states this “is not appropriate and is not reflective of the intent of IPM. Risks and benefits must be taken into consideration when making these decisions and the CEQ language suggests otherwise.” The letter requests edits to the definition of IPM in CEQ’s guidance document and also a removal of statements regarding sourcing plant material from growers that have not used insecticides or systemic insecticides and replace with statements for sourcing of plant material from growers who have adopted an IPM program in their plant production practices.

Plants can be grown without neonicotinoids and other systemic pesticides       

It is a common myth perpetuated by the pesticide, agricultural, and horticultural industry that growing plants without pesticides cannot be done. But while these two national industry groups charge that creating pollinator habitat without toxic inputs cannot be done to protect pollinators, several smaller nurseries and retail outlets have already pledged to not use systemic neonicotinoids to grow their plants and protect pollinators. Focused on their owe operations, Behnke Nurseries Co. in Maryland has issued a policy statement to their stores that prohibits the application of neonicotinoids to its plants and recommends using least-toxic alternatives. Bachman’s 21 locations in Minnesota are eliminating neonicotinoids on their nursery stock and outdoor plants. Taking it to the next level, Bachman’s is also working with suppliers to discontinue the use of neonicotinoids. Cavano’s Perennials, MD, Blooming Nursery, OR, North Creek Nurseries, PA, Suncrest Nurseries Inc, CA, Desert Canyon Farm, CO, and others have either discontinued or never used neonicotinoid pesticides in their nursery operations. Additionally, BJ’s Wholesale Club (over 200+ locations) is asking its vendors to discontinue neonicotinoid use. Home Depot also has plans to work with its suppliers to transition from neonicotinoid reliance.

Beyond Pesticides also has a comprehensive directory of companies and organizations that sell organic seeds and plants. Included in this directory are seeds for vegetables, flowers, and herbs, as well as live plants and seedlings.

Mounting scientific evidence points to the role of pesticides in bee declines across the globe, especially to neonicotinoids (eg imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam) which, even at low levels, have been shown to impair foraging, navigational and learning behavior in bees, as well as suppress their immune system to the point of making them susceptible to pathogens and parasites. Last week, beekeepers, farmers, businesses and environmental advocates rallied in front of the White House to deliver over 4 million petition signatures that call on the Obama administration to protect pollinators, and over 125 groups sent a letter to the White House.

While industry deflection tactics are working to shift focus away from their pesticide products,local efforts provide a promising opportunity for communities across the United States to stand up for pollinators. Eugene (Oregon), Skagway (Alaska), Ontario (Canada), and the European Union have all instituted either permanent or temporary bans on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides. With one in three bites of food reliant on bees and other insects for pollination, the decline of honey bees and other pollinators due to pesticides, and other human-made causes demands immediate action. Visit Beyond Pesticides’ BEE Protective webpage to learn more about the issue and what can be done to protect pollinators.

Join us in person to help us continue the fight to protect butterflies and other pollinators from neonicotinoids. This spring is Beyond Pesticides’ 33rd National Pesticide Forum in Orlando, FL, April 17-18th 2015. Early bird registration is in effect until March 15, so make your plans to register today!
 
 All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.
Source: E&E News

My View: Look Past Pesticides to Study Pollinator Health

 Portland Tribune    By Jeff Stone & Scott Dahlsman    June 26, 2014

As fellow state Pollinator Health Task Force members, we were disappointed to read the piece written by Aimee Code and Scott Hoffman Black of the Xerces Society (Protect pollinators like our lives depend on it, guest column, June 19).

The column included a number of inaccurate claims. It also suggests that some members of the task force are more interested in banning a product they don’t like instead of actually looking for ways to improve pollinator health.

The concerns about pesticide use and potential effects on bees are very important to all pesticide users, but especially those involved in agriculture. Oregon farmers depend on bees to pollinate many of their crops, but also depend on pesticide tools to control destructive pests.

Similarly, commercial beekeepers rely on healthy crops to optimize their pollination services. This means that Oregon growers and beekeepers have a lot at stake in this conversation, and each share a vested interest in ensuring that protecting bee health and the use of pesticides are not mutually exclusive.

Bee health is important to all of us, and nobody wants to see adverse incidents that add to bee population declines. That being said, it is easy to let emotion drive the conversation around these issues. We should instead let science be our guide.

While concerns about pesticides and bees have been around for decades...

Continue reading at: http://portlandtribune.com/pt/10-opinion/225158-87079-my-view-look-past-pesticides-to-study-pollinator-health

 

Spokane to Vote to Ban Neanicotinoids

Beyond Pesticides     June 19, 2014

The city of Spokane, Washington is inching ever closer to a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides, a class of chemicals that has been linked to the global disappearance of honey bee populations. If the ban passes, Spokane will soon be part of a growing movement to protect pollinators.

The Spokane City Council will be voting on the neonicotinoid ordinance this Monday, June 23. The ban will halt both the purchase and use by the city of products that contain neonicotinoids. The ordinance specifically names six types of neonicotinoids used on crops, imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, dinotefuran, acetamiprid, and thiacloprid, and explains that the majority of these chemicals “are highly toxic to bees, can reduced [sic] fecundity, depress the bees immune system, and increase susceptibility to biological infections, and, depending on the amount of exposure, can be lethal/ sub-lethal to the honey bees.” You can read more about the exact wording of this proposed ordinance here.

Read more... http://www.beyondpesticides.org/dailynewsblog/?p=13475

 

Honey Bee Die Offs Caused by Multiple Factors Including Pesticides

Moyers & Company  By Theresa Riley  5/2/13

A federal study released today attributes the massive die-off in American honey bee colonies to a combination of factors, including pesticides, poor diet, parasites and a lack of genetic diversity. Nearly a third of honey bee colonies in the United States have been wiped out since 2006. The estimated value of crops lost if bees were no longer able to pollinate fruits and vegetables is around $15 billion.

The report comes on the heels of an announcement Monday by the European Union that they are...

Read more... http://billmoyers.com/2013/05/02/honey-bee-die-off-caused/

Worse Than the Sum of the Parts

(The following is brought to us by CATCH THE BUZZ (Kim Flottum) Bee Culture, The Magazine of American Beekeeping, published by A.I. Root Company.)  3/27/13

If One Is Bad, Two Are Definitely Worse   By Alan Harman

Exposure to a combination of pesticides commonly used in agriculture has a negative impact on bees’ ability to learn, two new UK studies have found.

Researchers at the University of Dundee in Scotland found that the pesticides, used in the research at levels shown to occur in the wild, could interfere with the learning circuits in the bee’s brain. They also found bees exposed to combined pesticides were slower to learn or completely forgot important associations between floral scent and food rewards.

Dr. Christopher Connolly and his team report today in the journal Nature Communications they investigated the impact on bees’ brains of two common pesticides – the neonicotinoids used on crops and coumaphos, used in honeybee hives to kill the Varroa mite.

The intact bees’ brains were exposed to pesticides in the lab at levels predicted to occur following exposure in the wild and brain activity was recorded. They found that both types of pesticide target the same area of the bee brain involved in learning, causing a loss of function. If both pesticides were used in combination, the effect was greater.

“This study shows for the first time the effect of...

Read more at http://home.ezezine.com/1636/1636-2013.03.27.13.11.archive.html