Tasmanian beekeepers push import ban to protect from varroa mite found in Queensland

From: The Advocate

Caitlin Jarvis

In a bid to protect Tasmania from the threat of the varroa mite, the state’s beekeepers have lodged a request for the Department of Primary Industries to ban imported queen bees.


Tasmanian Beekeepers Association president Lindsay Bourke said the association had made requests to the chief veterinarian at the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) before but said the detection of varroa mite in Queensland did add more weight to the most recent suggestion.

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Leave a Comment August 24, 2016

Q&A with Honey Bee Researcher Michelle Flenniken

From: PLOS Blogs

On the eve of National Honey Bee Day, PLOS’s Jose Mendez interviews researcher Dr. Michelle Flenniken, Ph.D of Montana State University to discuss the role of viruses on honey bee health and the importance of honey bee colony losses in her new PLOS Pathogens Pearls Article, The Buzz About Honey Bee Viruses.


One of the biggest challenges to maintaining healthy bee colonies is mitigating mite (Varroa destructor) infestations. What can beekeepers do to reduce mite infestations?

Leave a Comment August 23, 2016

Cannibal Honeybees Target Deadly Varroa Mites

From: ManukaHoneyUSA.com

When it comes to preserving honeybee colonies, many beekeepers succeed in fighting off certain threats to bees but struggle with others, and the varroa mite, a parasite and vector for viruses that is believed to be a major cause of colony collapse disorder, has been a consistent threat to honeybees since the late 1980s. While most focus on the threat pesticides present, real progress is being made in building up bees’ resistance to varroa mites, thanks in large part to the efforts of Jeff Harris, a beekeeper and research apiculturist from Mississippi State University. With this resistance to varroa mites comes a crucial trait—the ability to destroy invading mites within a hive by cannibalizing other bees infected with mites.

Leave a Comment August 22, 2016

New Study Shows Neonicotinoids Pose Little Practical Risk To Bees

From: Growing Produce

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“Calculating risk, which is the likelihood that bad things will happen to a species based on a specific hazard or dose, is very different from calculating hazard, which is the potential to cause harm under a specific set of circumstances,” said co-author Allan Felsot, WSU Tri-Cities Professor of Entomology and Environmental Toxicology.

“Most of what has dominated the literature recently regarding neonicotinoids and honeybees has been hazard identification,” he said. “But hazardous exposures are not likely to occur in a real-life setting.”

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Leave a Comment August 19, 2016

Bee’s risk of neonicotinoid exposure might be lower than thought, Washington State study says

From: The Oregonian

By Molly Harbarger | The Oregonian/OregonLive

As environmental and agricultural officials debate whether to regulate neonicotinoid pesticides more tightly, a Washington State University study contends that honey bees encounter little risk of poisoning in everyday life.


“While we found that bees did not have chronic exposure to adverse concentrations of neonicotinoids, we are not saying that they are not harmful to bees – they are,” said Timothy Lawrence, assistant professor and director of Washington State University Island County Extension. “People need to be careful with pesticide use to avoid acute exposure.”

Leave a Comment August 17, 2016

Study: Neonicotinoid pesticides pose low risk to honey bees

From: Washington State University | Tri-Cities

By Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities


The team of WSU entomologists studied apiaries in urban, rural and agricultural areas in Washington state, looking at potential honey bee colony exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides from pollen foraging. The results were published in the Journal of Economic Entomology (http://jee.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/01/19/jee.tov397) this spring.

After calculating the risk based on a “dietary no observable adverse effect concentration” – the highest experimental point before there is an adverse effect on a species – of five parts per billion, the study’s results suggest low potential for neonicotinoids to harm bee behavior or colony health.

Leave a Comment August 16, 2016

Varroa – Short History

From: Apis Information Resource Center

The Varroa bee mite (Varroa jacobsoni) was first discovered by A.C. Oudemans in 1904, as a parasite of the Asian honey bee, Apis cerana. In the late 1940s,   Through movement of the western honey bee, Apis mellifera, colonies into and out of Asia, Varroa mite became established on honey bees first in Africa and then in Europe.  Quickly, it spread around the world. It was first detected in the U.S. in 1987; Mexico and Canada quickly closed their borders to U.S. bees.  Varroa has now been in the U.S.  for over two decades and a robust history exists published in two parts: 1 and 2.

Leave a Comment August 16, 2016

Australia: NZ experts to help combat Varroa mite threat

From: FreshPlaza.com

Australia’s horticulture research and development corporation has combined forces with Plant & Food Research New Zealand to strengthen Australia’s defences against Varroa mite and enhance crop pollination through a $5 million targeted research project.
Horticulture Innovation Australia Chief Executive John Lloyd said: “Australia is the last known inhabited continent in the world that is not permeated by Varroa mite, and as recent Queensland Varroa Jacobsini mite discoveries have shown, the threat is very real.

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Leave a Comment August 15, 2016

Are bees in peril from neonicotinoids? Farmer proof challenges doomsayers

From: nrt3 | News Real Time Analysis

The “Bee-pocalypse” has been cancelled. Global bee populations are rising and are now near historic highs. In Canada, the bee populations are up 13 percent since 2011, from 637,920 colonies to 721,106 in 2015. While there are serious threats to bees, we assert that the use of neonicotinoid pesticides (or neonics) in agriculture is not one of them. Continued focus on neonics by environmental groups detracts from and potentially worsens real threats to bees.

Neonic pesticides are synthetic compounds based on the natural compound nicotine. They have been widely used since the mid 1990’s. They have low toxicity to birds and mammals but insects are extremely sensitive to their effects.

Leave a Comment August 15, 2016

Booby-trapped balloons brought in to draw out Asian honey bees in Townsville [Australia]

From: ABC News

By Nancy Notzon

Photo: Biosecurity Queensland hopes the devices will help draw in the bees. (ABC News: Nancy Notzon)

The fight to eradicate the Asian honey bee threat in north Queensland is taking a more creative twist — using helium balloons booby trapped with pheromones to attract the unwanted pest.


It comes two months after Asian honey bees carrying varroa mites were discovered in a hive at the city’s port.

Varroa mites are mainly found in the northern regions of Asia and they infest bee hives, feeding on larvae and ultimately killing them.

Leave a Comment August 12, 2016

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