Bee News 3

 

 

Neonicotinoids: Systemic Insecticides and Systematic Failure
Neonicotinoids: Systemic Insecticides and Systematic Failure As we celebrate 50 years of publication of the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology (BECT), we are simultaneously discovering that the widespread adoption and use of neonicotinoid compounds originally considered to be environmentally benign can now potentially be considered to be an environmental catastrophe.

 

High Time to Stop "Managing" the Bees
High Time to Stop Managing the Bees Here are some words from the bee health page of the BBKA’s website followed by an extract from the BBKA’s teaching syllabus:
  • You must be able to manage varroa in your bees, if you want to be a beekeeper. Keeping bees is like keeping other animals. You are responsible for their well-being and must be aware of how to keep them healthy.
  • The Assessors will examine the Candidates’ method of queen rearing. This does not need to include grafting techniques but will demonstrate that the candidate is selecting the material for breeding and not rely on the use of naturally occurring swarm cells.

 

Court Fails to Protect Bees and Beekeepers from Toxic Pesticides
Court Fails to Protect Bees and Beekeepers from Toxic Pesticides Yesterday a judge in the Northern District of California delivered a crushing blow to the nation’s beekeepers and imperiled honey bees. The judge ruled against the beekeepers and public interest advocates in a lawsuit seeking to protect honey bees and the broader environment from unregulated harms caused by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) lax policies for seeds coated with certain insecticides known to cause massive die-offs of honey bees.

 

Another species of Varroa mite threatens European honeybees
Another species of Varroa mite threatens European honeybees WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A sister species of the Varroa destructor mite is developing the ability to parasitize European honeybees, threatening pollinators already hard pressed by pesticides, nutritional deficiencies and disease, a Purdue University study says.
Researchers found that some populations of Varroa jacobsoni mites are shifting from feeding and reproducing on Asian honeybees, their preferred host, to European honeybees, the primary species used for crop pollination and honey production worldwide. To bee researchers, it's a grimly familiar story: V. destructor made the same host leap at least 60 years ago, spreading rapidly to become the most important global health threat to European honeybees

 

Bacterial Imbalances Can Mean Bad News for Honey Bees
Bacterial Imbalances Can Mean Bad News for Honey Bees In a study published in the November issue of Molecular Ecology, the team fed caged honey bees one of four diets: fresh pollen, aged pollen, fresh supplements, and aged supplements. After seven days, the team euthanized and dissected the bees and used next-generation sequencing methods to identify the bacteria communities that had colonized the bees' digestive tract.

 

Honey wars: crime and killings in New Zealand’s booming manuka industry
Honey wars: crime and killings in New Zealand’s booming manuka industry An extraordinary rise in the popularity of manuka honey has led to mass poisonings of bees, thefts, vandalism and beatings
It was the day the bees died – tens of thousands of them in 300 hives, mysteriously killed.
“The massacre”, as it is being called, happened in the otherwise idyllic landscape of Doubtless Bay in New Zealand’s far north

 

New findings about the honey bee infecting deformed wing virus
New findings about the honey bee infecting deformed wing virus Apiculture in North America and Europe is especially affected by partly massive losses. Only during the winter months of 2014/2015, up to fifty per cent of all bee colonies in some Austrian regions collapsed.
The deformed wing virus (DWV) belongs to the family of Iflaviridae. These viruses are so-called RNA viruses. Their genetic material only consists of one ribonucleotide strand, unlike the prevailing double-stranded DNA in mammals. In most but not all cases, infections with the deformed wing virus are bound to an infestation of a hive with the Varroa mite. "The virus persists in the hives and can even be detected if there are no parasites in the hive."

 

Pest control: Wicked weeds may be agricultural angels
Pest control: Wicked weeds may be agricultural angels Farmers looking to reduce reliance on pesticides, herbicides and other pest management tools may want to heed the advice of Cornell agricultural scientists: Let nature be nature - to a degree.
"Managing crop pests without fully understanding the impacts of tactics - related to resistance and nontarget plants or insects - costs producers money," said Antonio DiTommaso, professor of soil and crop science and lead author of a new study, "Integrating Insect, Resistance and Floral Resource Management in Weed Control Decision-Making," in the journal Weed Science (Oct-Dec 2016)

 

In this week’s segment of The Neonicotinoid View, host June Stoyer and Tom Theobald talk to bee health advocate and environmental author, Graham White about the importance of the dose-time ratio. Stay tuned !

 

EPA Approves Use of Dangerous Herbicide Dicamba on GE Crops
EPA Approves Use of Dangerous Herbicide Dicamba on GE Crops Ignoring the legal requirement to examine threats to endangered species, the Environmental Protection Agency today approved the use of the dangerously toxic herbicide dicamba on crops genetically engineered to tolerate the pesticide. Dicamba has been around for decades, but this new EPA decision allows the herbicide to be sprayed directly on genetically engineered cotton and soybeans — opening the door for dicamba use to jump from less than 1 million pounds to more than 25 million annually on these two crops.

 

Royal beekeeper accused of giving banned drugs to animals
Royal beekeeper accused of giving banned drugs to animals A beekeeper from Perthshire has gone on trial accused of administering banned drugs to honey bees.
Royal apiarist Murray McGregor, who has produced honey for Prince Charles, faces a series of charges relating to the importing and storing of unauthorised medicinal products.
McGregor, the owner of Denrosa Apiaries in Blairgowrie, is alleged to have "administered unauthorised veterinary medicinal products" to an animal, namely the honey bee.

 

Bees use multiple cues in hunt for pollen
Bees use multiple cues in hunt for pollen Bees use a variety of senses and memory of previous experiences when deciding where to forage for pollen, research by the University of Exeter suggests.
The researchers believe pollen-collecting bees do not base their foraging decisions on taste alone, but instead make an "overall sensory assessment" of their experience at a particular flower.
Bees typically do not eat pollen when they collect it from flowers, but carry it back to the nest via special "sacs" on their legs or hairs on their body.
This makes it difficult to understand how bees judge whether the pollen a flower produces is nutritious enough for their young.

 

Study highlights a new threat to bees worldwide
Study highlights a new threat to bees worldwide A recent study published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports highlights a newly identified virus—named Moku after the Hawaiian Island from which it was isolated—in the invasive wasp, Vespula pensylvanica. The research also warns that transmission of these kinds of viruses, especially from invasive species which can spread viruses to new locations, is a threat to pollinator health worldwide.
Particularly under threat are honey bees, which are as vital to our food systems as the crops they pollinate, and which are prone to a range of emergent diseases including Moku and Deformed wing virus (DWV).

 

Contamination of the Aquatic Environment with Neonicotinoids and its Implication for Ecosystems
Contamination of the Aquatic Environment with Neonicotinoids and its Implication for Ecosystems The widespread use of systemic neonicotinoid insecticides in agriculture results first in contamination of the soil of the treated crops, and secondly in the transfer of residues to the aquatic environment. The high toxicity of these insecticides to aquatic insects and other arthropods has been recognized, but there is little awareness of the impacts these chemicals have on aquatic environments and the ecosystem at large.

 

Bayer Ordered to Halt Ads Describing Its Pesticide, Which is Toxic to Bees, as “Vitamins for Plants”
Bayer Ordered to Halt Ads Describing Its Pesticide, Which is Toxic to Bees, as “Vitamins for Plants” Bayer Crop Science, the world's largest agrochemical company, buckled to Massachusetts' demand that it stop advertising that its neonicotinoid pesticides are like "giving 'a daily vitamin' to plants," though the chemicals have been linked to honeybee colony collapse disorder.
Attorney General Maura Healey filed an Assurance of Discontinuance on Oct. 26 in Suffolk County Court to settle the dispute, which her office began investigating in September 2013. Bayer Cropscience promised to pay $75,000 and to stop its misleading advertising, for instance, that its neonicotinoid pesticide products are EPA-approved.

 

Norm Gary still plays his tunes, talks to the bees, and entertains us all
Norm Gary still plays his tunes, talks to the bees, and entertains us all This picture of Dr. Gary covered with bees and playing the clarinet is the 2-page “center fold” for a book, “A Day in the Life of California”. Pictures in this book were taken on April 29, 1988 and chosen from 115,000 photos submitted by 100 of the world’s most famous photojournalists.
Dr. Norm Gary started beekeeping as a teenager in Florida 69 years ago!
This 2-minute link shows some of the exciting moments of his long beekeeping career.

 

New Magazine
A  new Natural Bee Husbandry Magazine A new Natural Bee Husbandry Magazine which was launched at the National Honey Show which is for beekeepers who prefer other than conventional ways of keeping bees.

 

Neonicotinoids Lawsuit
Neonicotinoids Lawsuit Should seeds coated with neonicotinoids be regulated as pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)? The answer to that question, which is at the heart of a lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco, could have huge implications for farmers, who plant neonic-coated seeds on about 142 million acres.
At issue is an EPA guidance issued in 2013 for evaluating alleged cases of pesticide-related bee deaths and other incidents. The guidance said that planting neonic-coated seeds is not considered a “pesticide use.” Instead, EPA said the seeds can be considered “treated articles” that are exempt from FIFRA regulation.

 

Buzz Kill
Buzz Kill Not that long ago, third-generation commercial beekeeper Jim Doan was a prosperous man. He maintained as many as 5,300 hives on his farm in western New York. In addition to selling honey, he earned a good living renting out the services of his honeybees to pollinate crops such as butternut squash, zucchini, pumpkins, cucumbers, and apples.
But around 2006, Doan noticed that something was wrong with his bees. Whole colonies were simply disappearing, leaving behind empty hives.

 

German Scientists demand Emergency Measures to Prevent Extinctions of Bees and Insects
German Scientists demand Emergency Measures to Prevent Extinctions of Bees and Insects German Entomology Experts sound the Alarm over the accelerating loss of bees and insect species and demand immediate government action. In particular the entomologists are concerned over the massive decline in wild bee populations; Read what the scientists are demanding, in addition to an immediate ban on neonicotinoids, in their resolution.

 

Bayer Agrees to First-of-its-Kind Accord Over Pesticide Ads
Bayer Agrees to First-of-its-Kind Accord Over Pesticide Ads Global pesticide manufacturer Bayer CropScience LP will pay Massachusetts $75,000 and change its advertising practices to settle allegations that it misled consumers about the risks its lawn and garden products pose to bees and the environment.
“Bayer made numerous misleading claims to consumers about the safety of its pesticide products, including falsely advertising that they were similar to giving ‘a daily vitamin’ to plants, when in fact, they are highly toxic to honey bees, other pollinators and species, and the environment.”

 

Busy Bees Use Flower Petals For Nest Wallpaper
Busy Bees Use Flower Petals For Nest Wallpaper When we think of bee nests, we often think of a giant hive, buzzing with social activity, worker bees and honey. But scientists recently discovered a rare, solitary type of bee that makes tiny nests by plastering together flower petals.
Each nest is a multicolored, textured little cocoon — a papier-mache husk surrounding a single egg, protecting it while it develops into an adult bee.

 

Shocking Number of Top Retailers Sell Food Produced With Pesticides Toxic to Bees
Shocking Number of Top Retailers Sell Food Produced With Pesticides Toxic to Bees A new report and scorecard grades 20 of the largest food retailers in the U.S on their policies and practices regarding pollinator protection, organic offerings and pesticide reduction.
Of the top food retailers, 17 received an "F" for failing to have a publicly available policy to reduce or eliminate pesticide use to protect pollinators. Only Aldi, Costco and Whole Foods received passing grades in this category.

 

Mustard farmers join forces to protect British honey bees
Mustard farmers join forces to protect British honey bees The English Mustard Growers (EMG), a farm collective based in Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and Norfolk which supply seed to the Colman’s English Mustard brand, are working in partnership with crop production specialists, Hutchinsons, to map the availability of nectar and pollen throughout the year.
The aim of the project is to ensure pollinators, such a honey bees, receive a steady supply of food resources, which will in turn support crop yields

 

PAN UK is Dismayed at EU Licensing of New Bee-Toxic Insecticide
PAN UK is Dismayed at EU Licensing of New Bee-Toxic Insecticide The European Commission has licensed a completely new insecticide for use in Europe. Cyantraniliprole, like neonicotinoids, is a systemic insecticide and is highly toxic to bees. PAN UK is dismayed that the EC has decided to allow such a bee-toxic pesticide onto the market. It seems that officials have learned nothing from the disastrous introduction of neonicotinoids which more and more studies are linking to large scale pollinator declines.
Cyantraniliprole is a systemic insecticide that works by affecting muscles in insects and eventually leads to death. This unusual mode of action means that it is effective against some pests that have become resistant to other classes of insecticide.

 

Neonics study concludes clothianidin not harmful to bees
Neonics study concludes clothianidin not harmful to bees Large-scale field studies into the banned neonicotinoid seed treatment clothianidin have concluded it is not harmful to bees.
Bayer CropScience, which manufactures clothianidin, carried out a series of large-scale landscape studies into the bee safety of the neonicotinoid in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, a state in northern Germany.

 

New bee arrives for first time in the UK
New bee arrives for first time in the UK Brexit may have caused an anti-immigration buzz but a traveller from the continent has made the UK its new home: the viper’s bugloss mason bee.
The bee is common in the UK’s European neighbours but has been discovered for the first time in this country, in a small park in Greenwich, London.
“I always have half an eye open, but I certainly didn’t expect that,” said David Notton, an insect expert at the Natural History Museum, who made the discovery in June. “It’s quite a big bee, so, if it was new, I thought someone else would have already spotted it.”
DNA tests confirmed the identity of the bee - Hoplitis adunca - and Notton gave it a common name based on the plant it exclusively feeds on, a blue-flowering plant in the borage family called viper’s bugloss.

 

Will the UK retain the neonicotinoid moratorium post-Brexit ?
Will the UK retain the neonicotinoid moratorium post-Brexit? A couple of weeks ago the Society of Chemical Industry held a meeting in London to discuss “Are neonicotinoids killing bees?” As you might guess from the name of the people organising it, this seems to have been a rather one-sided affair; a bunch of lobbyists from the agrochemical industry, and a hand-picked selection of scientists all but one of whom are known to have pro-pesticide leanings and/or receive funding from the agrochemical industry. I was unable to attend this travesty of a meeting, but I did get a chance to hear how it was reported on BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today, and BBC gave me two minutes to give an off-the-cuff response to comments made by two attendees, Norman Carreck (of Sussex University and the International Bee Research Institute) and Peter Campbell (of Syngenta). Here I give a slightly more detailed and considered response

 

A New Organic Acid Varroa Mite Medication
A New Organic Acid Varroa Mite Medication At its October meeting, the Committee for Medicinal Products for Veterinary Use (CVMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended the granting of a marketing authorization in the European Union (EU) for VarroMed (oxalic acid dihydrate / formic acid). This antiparasitic medicine treats the Varroa mite infestation in honey-bee colonies, which is considered to be the most significant parasitic health concern affecting honey bees worldwide.
View the new "Bee Health" infograph.

 

No single protein determines queen development in honeybees
No single protein determines queen development in honeybees In the first few days after they hatch, honey bee larvae feed on royal jelly secreted by the hypopharyngeal glands of adult honey bees. "It is a highly nutritious food comprising sugars, proteins and amino acids," says Robin Moritz, Professor of Molecular Ecology at MLU. After a few days, most larvae start to receive honey and pollen in their food. These will develop into worker bees. Only the larvae that are destined to become queens continue to be fed exclusively on royal jelly.

 

Not to worry ! We have Robobees !
Not to worry ! We have Robobees ! Sometimes I have to marvel at the utter insanity of today's western corporate "scientism" culture. A brief review is necessary. First we had companies like Mon(ster)santo giving us GMO crops and food, and "terminator" seeds genetically modified to work with their own glyphosate pesticides to "increase yields and end worldwide hunger." Of course, these seeds were designed not to reproduce, and besides, even if they did, farmers buying these more expensive seeds had to sign licensing agreements that they could not withhold a certain amount of their harvest for replanting. Then came the massive collapse of the world-wide pollinator population, including butterflies and honeybees.

 

Healthful honey Takes On New Role as sugar consumption is linked to obesity, diabetes and heart disease
Healthful honey Takes On New Role as sugar consumption is linked to obesity, diabetes and heart disease An intense focus on added sugars consumption and links to obesity, diabetes and heart disease is motivating consumers to not only reduce total sweetener consumption, but to switch to sweeteners perceived as more healthful, such as honey.

 

'Final warning' decline in butterflies raises fears over pesticides
'Final warning' decline in butterflies raises fears over pesticides Butterfly numbers are suffering a "shock collapse", a study shows today as conservationists raise concen farm pesticides are causing the worst population fall in six years.
Despite a warm summer that would normally help them thrive, the majority of species studied in the annual Big Butterfly Count saw populations fall.

 

High number of pesticides within colonies linked to honey bee deaths
High number of pesticides within colonies linked to honey bee deaths This study measured part of the in-hive pesticide exposome by analyzing residues from live in-hive bees, stored pollen, and wax in migratory colonies over time and compared exposure to colony health. We summarized the pesticide burden using three different additive methods: (1) the hazard quotient (HQ), an estimate of pesticide exposure risk, (2) the total number of pesticide residues, and (3) the number of relevant residues. Despite being simplistic, these models attempt to summarize potential risk from multiple contaminations in real-world contexts

 

Scientists have shown that the drone can leave behind a virus that may infect the queen with the disease deformed wing virus. The Queen dies, the colony does too.
Scientists have shown that the drone can leave behind a virus that may infect the queen with the disease deformed wing virus. The Queen dies, the colony does too When a queen has sex with many different partners, it can increase her risk of infection with venereal disease. It can also lead to the collapse of her colony. This might read like ingredients for a juicy novel, but for bees it is reality.
Scientists from Aarhus University have teamed up with American and German colleagues and found that the mating behaviour of queen bees increases the risk of the whole colony succumbing to the syndrome Colony Collapse Disorder because of a venereal disease.
In order to understand how this works you need to know a few things about the mating behaviour of bees.

 

This flower smells like a bee under attack
This flower smells like a bee under attack A new discovery takes plants' deception of their pollinators to a whole new level. Researchers reporting in the journal Current Biology on October 6 found that the ornamental plant popularly known as Giant Ceropegia fools certain freeloading flies into pollinating it by mimicking the scent of honeybees under attack. The flies find that smell attractive because they typically dine on the drippings of honeybees that are in the clutches of a spider or other predatory insect

 

Can Plant Blindness Be Cured?
Can Plant Blindness Be Cured? In a new review study, researchers examine why people, including conservationists, tend to be biased against plants, and if this bias can be challenged.
For example, if shown a picture of a lion on a tree, people would be more likely to point out the lion, and ignore the tree. This bias against plants is widespread, and seriously limits conservation efforts, scientists say.

 

Agrichemicals and ever more intensive farming will not feed the world
Agrichemicals and ever more intensive farming will not feed the world British farmers growing wheat typically treat each crop over its growing cycle with four fungicides, three herbicides, one insecticide and one chemical to control molluscs. They buy seed that has been precoated with chemicals against insects. They spray the land with weedkiller before planting, and again after.
They apply chemical growth regulators that change the balance of plant hormones to control the height and strength of the grain’s stem. They spray against aphids and mildew. And then they often spray again just before harvesting with the herbicide glyphosate to dessicate the crop, which saves them the energy costs of mechanical drying.

 

Seven bees in Hawaii added to US endangered species list
Seven bees in Hawaii added to US endangered species list Hard on the heels of last week’s announcement about the proposed listing of the rusty patched bumble bee, today we got more great news for bees: the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a final rule that makes a group of yellow-faced bees in Hawaii the first bees in the country to be protected under the Endangered Species Act. The USFWS declaration that seven species of yellow-faced bees (genus Hylaeus) are “endangered” comes after a multi-year effort by the Xerces Society to gain recognition and protection for these bees.

 

The canary in the coalmine; bee declines as an indicator of environmental health
The canary in the coalmine; bee declines as an indicator of environmental health Bee declines have received much attention of late, but there is considerable debate and confusion as to the extent, significance and causes of declines. In part, this reflects conflation of data for domestic honeybees, numbers of which are largely driven by economic factors, with those for wild bees, many of which have undergone marked range contractions but for the majority of which we have no good data on population size. There is no doubt that bees are subject to numerous pressures in the modern world

 

The other side of the Neonic conversation…Study: Scientists That Won’t Link Pesticides To Bee Deaths Are Often Funded By Agrochemical Industry
The other side of the Neonic conversation…Study: Scientists That Won’t Link Pesticides To Bee Deaths Are Often Funded By Agrochemical Industry "Syngenta and Bayer have a substantial amount of influence in the debate,’ said one neurobiology researcher in response to a Greenpeace analysis of corporate corruption in pesticide research."
Pesticide manufacturers have spent millions influencing researchers who are investigating the role of neonicotinoids, a nicotine-like chemical found in many major pesticides, in bee die-offs, according to a recent analysis by Greenpeace.
The analysis arrives just weeks after scientists released the results of a long-term study that shows neonicotinoids are extremely dangerous to wild bees in the United Kingdom.

 

Around the world, honeybee populations have been rapidly declining. Although there is an overwhelming amount of scientific research that proves the cause for this decline is due to the widespread use of systemic pesticides called neonicotinoids, industry claims that these pesticides are NOT the root of the problem.
In fact, many industry apologists adamantly insist that the decline is due to Varroa Mites. While Varroa Mites do greatly impact the health of the colony, it is clearly not the case when it comes to the rapidly declining honeybee population in Australia. Why? Well, there are no Varroa Mites in Australia. So, this is a moot argument in the down under, at least for the time being. What is killing the bees? In this week’s segment of The Neonicotinoid View, host June Stoyer and Colorado beekeeper, Tom Theobald talk to commercial beekeeper, Jeffrey Gibbs about Australia’s honeybee crisis. Stay tuned!

 

Pesticide manufacturers' own tests reveal serious harm to honeybees
Pesticide manufacturers' own tests reveal serious harm to honeybees Unpublished field trials by pesticide manufacturers show their products cause serious harm to honeybees at high levels, leading to calls from senior scientists for the companies to end the secrecy which cloaks much of their research.
The research, conducted by Syngenta and Bayer on their neonicotinoid insecticides, were submitted to the US Environmental Protection Agency and obtained by Greenpeace after a freedom of information request.

 

Bugging out ... ?
Is Canada experiencing widespread declines in certain insects? Almost certainly. Do we know which ones and why? Maybe.
Bugging out.  Is Canada experiencing widespread declines in certain insects? Almost certainly. Do we know which ones and why? Maybe. If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed 10,000 years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos."
So said eminent biological philosopher and author E.O. Wilson, not coincidentally, an entomologist who specializes in ants. Also not coincidentally, the aphorism recently resurfaced in a 2014 book by fellow biologist and author Dave Goulson, the world's foremost expert on the behaviour, ecology and conservation of bumblebees. In A Buzz in the Meadow, Goulson's compelling ode to the importance of insects, Wilson's quote is a springboard both to declare that insects are vanishing worldwide, and to question our lack of concern. Goulson contrasts the ramifications of no insects — potential global cataclysm — with something of far less consequence on which we expend much conservation capital: the ever-lovable panda, whose disappearance, while symbolic, might mean only "a tiny bit more bamboo in a forest in China."

 

UCR professor discovers bacterial connection between wild bees and flowers
UCR professor discovers bacterial connection between wild bees and flowers Quinn McFrederick, assistant professor of entomology at UCR, recently uncovered a close relationship between wild bee and flower microbiomes, as well as the importance of microbiomes in overall bee fitness, or the ability to pass on genes. Using this discovery, he hopes to elucidate changes in the gut microbiome of wild bees in response to environmental changes for the purpose of conservation and protection of the declining bee population

 

Threat to honeybees as Asian hornet's arrival on UK mainland confirmed
Threat to honeybees as Asian hornet's arrival on UK mainland confirmed The Asian hornet’s long-feared arrival on the UK mainland has been confirmed, government scientists have said, with ecologists warning of dire consequences for honeybees if the species is not swiftly eliminated.
The hornets eat honeybees and have become widespread in central and southern France, prompting warnings in recent years that they could arrive in the UK via potted plants from France.

 

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