AmericanHort’s Jill Calabro gives us the latest scoop on neonics and pollinators.
MM: A recent Washington State University (WSU) study measured honey bee colony exposure to four neonicotinoid insecticides (clothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam) in urban, rural and agricultural settings. What did the researchers find?
[JC:] In rural or urban landscapes, they found less than 5 percent of beehives in a two-year period had any detectable residues at all. The authors of the study concluded there is no risk of adverse effect on beehives in rural and urban landscapes, and there was a very low risk in agricultural landscapes. The highest amount found was 3.9 parts per billion in an agricultural landscape. EPA considers 25 parts per billion the cutoff for potential for adverse effects.
ARA supports the use of risk-based assessments in understanding factors that may impact honey bee and native pollinator health. EPA needs to use widely accepted, peer-reviewed science and methodologies as it relates to any preliminary pollinator assessment for imidacloprid or other critical agricultural pesticide products.
The key to any short-term and long-term solution to improve pollinator health is through a diverse public-private partnership that brings together all impacted segments such as agribusinesses, farmers, commercial beekeepers, government agencies, conservation groups, manufacturers, and food processors. Read ARA’s comments to EPA…
Research in the Flenniken lab is aimed at better understanding how multiple biotic factors such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and mites affect colony losses with other factors such as agrochemicals and weather events.
“It isn’t just one factor” that’s responsible for colony losses,” Flenniken said. “Currently, researchers are focused on determining how multiple, synergistic factors cause the death of a colony.”
Researchers from the University of Maryland and the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently completed the first comprehensive, multi-year study of honey bee parasites and disease as part of the National Honey Bee Disease Survey. Key findings, which are published in the journal Apidologie, show that the Varroa mite, a major honey bee pest, is far more abundant than previous estimates indicated and is closely linked to several damaging viruses. Also, the results show that the previously rare chronic bee paralysis virus has skyrocketed in prevalence since it was first detected by the survey in 2010.
Editor’s Note: The complete study, “Multiyear survey targeting disease incidence in US honey bees” by Kirsten S. Traynor, Karen Rennich, Eva Forsgren, Robyn Rose, Jeffery Pettis, Grace Kunkel, Shayne Madella, Jay Evans, Dawn Lopezand 1 more published in Apidologie is available here (paywall).
The first multi-year honeybee disease study in the United States has revealed that varroa mite infestations in the country are far worse than what was previously believed, as the population of the deadly pests is more abundant than ever.
The class of insecticides called neonicotinoids (neonics) were introduced to a lot of fanfare from farmers and environmentalists alike. They were seen as far less toxic than alternative pesticides, and could be applied into the soil or on seeds, avoiding the damage to beneficial insects that’s often caused by sprays.
Gore and his colleagues discovered that treating soybean seeds with neonics (imidacloprid or thiamethoxam) and a fungicide provided higher yields than seed treatments using a fungicide only. . . .
Klinker may look like any other black Labrador retriever, but she’s the only dog in America that can do this job — sniffing out disease and saving whole colonies of bees with one visit.
Since 2008, Klinker has been sniffing out American foulbrood — a bacteria that if not caught right away, can sweep through a colony, jumping from hive to hive and destroying any larvae. It’s the most common and destructive disease facing honey bees, but it’s no match for this dog’s nose.