By Colleen Scherer, managing editor
Agricultural Retailers Association
The Agricultural Retailers Association applauded the announcement of the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and other Pollinators and the companion Pollinator Research Action Plan, released Tuesday by President Barack Obama’s Pollinator Health Task Force.
“ARA and our members understand the importance of pollinators in growing crops and sustaining plant life,” said Richard Gupton, Senior Vice President of Public Policy for ARA. “We applaud President Obama and members of the Pollinator Health Task Force for also recognizing that pesticides play a critical part in agricultural production and the health of our society.”
May 21, 2015
Editor’s Note: In Appendix A of the Administration’s National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators, EPA commits to usng the “Best Available Science to Support Protective Decisions. EPA states,
Metrics: EPA will track the number of pesticides for which the acute and chronic laboratory-based studies of honey bee adults and larvae are submitted in support of the registration and registration review programs. EPA’s goal is to ensure that such enhanced science-based information is available to support key regulatory outcomes in its registration review and registration programs for new and existing chemicals. Also, for those chemicals for which risk managers need additional refinements, the number of colony-level studies at either the semi-field or full-field scale serve as a measure of the Agency’s ability to refine estimates of potential risk to colonies as a whole and to develop more effective label language to mitigate potential risks.
May 19, 2015
What’s been the trouble with honey bees? All beekeepers obviously want to know, and they range from huge commercial beekeepers with 10,000 to 40,000 hives that they move vast distances to pollinate crops, to overgrown hobbyists like me with 100 colonies to backyard beekeepers with several hives. We all waited with bated breath for a report issued last year by a committee of leading etymologists from the U.S.D.A. and universities with major bee research such as Cornell, University of Maryland, Penn State and University of California-Davis.
May 18, 2015
From: The Washington Post/Bloomberg
A malady called Colony Collapse Disorder, which was identified nearly a decade ago and coincided with a doubling of honeybee death rates, has waned while traditional mites and viruses seem resurgent, the survey shows.
A rise in varroa mite, a longtime scourge of beehives, played a leading role in higher losses from smaller beekeepers, the survey found.
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May 15, 2015
In prepared testimony before the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention stated,
We are currently in the process of reviewing the over 40,000 comments we received on our analysis. The revised analysis will be incorporated into the risk/benefit determination that we will make for these products as part of the ongoing registration review of the neonicotinoids. Additional benefits analyses for the neonicotinoid pesticides may be conducted, as needed, as part of this ongoing re-evaluation.
May 13, 2015
From: ABC News (Australia)
By Matt Watson and Marty McCarthy
A swarm of Asian honey bees carrying the destructive varroa mite has been destroyed by quarantine officials in Brisbane after a nest was discovered in a shipment of cables from Malaysia.
“Arrangements were made to have the container unpacked to retrieve the dead bees and comb (honeycomb) to check for mites,” a spokesman for the federal Agriculture Department said.
“Seven mites were found in the comb and identified as varroa jacobsoni.”
May 13, 2015
From: E&E Publishing
Tiffany Stecker, E&E reporter
In the letter, Johansson states that USDA staff had specifically asked EPA to undertake a full risk assessment that would have weighed the benefits of neonicotinoid seed treatments for all crops, not just soybeans.
“Instead, EPA released the report regarding soybean seed treatment without additional consideration of other crops or to USDA cautions about releasing a premature assessment of the costs and benefits of such seed treatments,” he wrote.
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May 11, 2015
From: US Customs and Border Protection
LAREDO, Texas – Alert U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists at Laredo Port of entry stung an ill-fated and unusual smuggling attempt as they seized a cache of undeclared live queen and worker honey bees from a group of travelers in a pickup truck.
“This interception of multiple colonies of live honey bees is an unusual discovery, something not seen in recent memory and reflects the commitment of our well-trained agriculture specialists to uphold CBP’s agriculture mission and prevent the import of foreign insects without appropriate permits,” said Port Director Joseph Misenhelter, Laredo Port of Entry.
May 8, 2015
From: Guelph Mercury
By Rob O’Flanagan
GUELPH — A farming advocacy group is buzzing mad over the public comment process into restricting neonicotinoid insecticides in the province. But beekeepers say the Grain Farmers of Ontario had plenty of opportunity to register its complaints about Ontario’s plan to reduce the use of neonicotinoids by 80 per cent within two years.
Barry Senft, the organization’s chief executive said Tuesday the province is rushing to conclude the public comment period into proposed new regulations that will severely restrict the use of neonicotinoids and potential hurt grain farmers.
May 6, 2015
From: Montana State University
Jenny Lavey, MSU News Service
A Montana State University virologist recently was awarded three grants to study why honeybees, the primary pollinator force of the nation’s food supply, are experiencing high losses.
Michelle Flenniken, assistant professor in the Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology in MSU’s College of Agriculture, recently received three grants to investigate the role of viruses and other pathogens on honeybee health.
May 5, 2015