Editor’s Note: The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Auhority (APVMA) has “completed a broad overview of issues relating to honeybee health in Australia, with a particular focus on the use of neonicotinoid (‘neonics’) insecticides.”
After extensive review including consultation with other leading regulatory authorities including the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency, the Australian government concluded that use of neonicotinoids is not harming honeybees. To the contrary, use of neonicotinoids has reduced agricultural risks. The complete APVMA report, ”Overview Report – Neonicotinoids and the Health of Honeybees in Australia” is attached here.
Below is a key excerpt from the Executive Summary:
Honeybees share diseases with wild bumblebees while pesticides’ danger remains unknown.
Two diseases of honeybees are spreading to wild bumblebees, Royal Holloway University of London researchers have found.
Wild insects infected with deformed wing virus (DWV) and the single-cell parasite Nosema ceranae were present across England, Scotland and Wales, they found. The decline of the UK’s bumblebees over recent decades has been attributed to habitat loss, but this latest finding suggests an additional factor.
Professor Mark Brown from Royal Holloway, University of London said: “These pathogens are capable of infecting adult bumblebees and they seem to have quite significant impacts.”
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau says he’s not prepared to push for an immediate ban of a controversial class of pesticides being blamed for mass bee deaths in Ontario and Quebec.
“Ultimately, we’re a party of evidence-based policy,” Trudeau said Wednesday during a question and answer session at the Canadian Federation of Agriculture meeting in Ottawa.
“We will be looking at ways to move forward that is going to support farmers based around science and research and not necessarily implement a ban on neonics despite the very clear will (of party members), which I take as a will to make sure we’re being smart about bee populations,” he said.
Farmers, beekeepers and industry look for opportunities to provide help for hurting pollinators.
Complex problems are rarely, if ever, solved by simple answers, and the alarming loss of honeybees in North America during the past few years is no exception to the rule.
One of the encouraging signs, however, is that a consortium of stakeholders, including farmers, beekeepers and the crop protection industry, is addressing the problem and looking for ways, collectively, to solve it.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide close to $3 million in technical and financial assistance for interested farmers and ranchers to help improve the health of bees, which play an important role in crop production. The funding is a focused investment to improve pollinator health and will be targeted in five Midwestern states, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
SAN ANTONIO, Texas, Feb. 25, 2014– Bayer CropSciences designed a new seed lubricant, which it made available for growers in the United States today, for corn and soybean seeds that helps reduce the release of seed dust and may consequently improve bee health.
The new seed lubricant, Fluency Agent, is designed to replace standard talc and graphite seed lubricants. Farmers use talc and graphite lubricants on seeds to encourage consistent planting space and smooth movement through machinery. The Fluency Agent is meant to be used on seeds coated with a class of insecticides known as neonicitinoids.
Wild bumblebees worldwide are in trouble, probably contracting deadly diseases from their commercialized honeybee cousins, a new study shows.
That’s a problem even though bumblebees are not trucked from farm to farm as honeybees are. They provide a substantial portion of worldwide pollination of flowers and food crops, especially greenhouse tomatoes, insect experts said. And the ailments are hurting bumblebees even more, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
The health of honey bees is an important subject to many segments of the world’s populations. That is also true of private industry, which has been working hard to come up with answers to why bee populations have been declining.
Pollinator health was a topic at several sessions during the Beltwide Cotton Conferences, including a briefing held by Bayer CropScience’s for the media attending the National Cotton Council’s annual education transfer event. Allen Ayres, state affairs director for Bayer, discussed his company’s efforts in a video interview.
Editor’s Note: The following presentation was from a hearing held by the Canadian Senate on a “Study on the importance of bees and bee health in the production of honey, food and seed in Canada.” Information about the hearing is here. The complete presentation by the Grain Growers of Canada is attached here.