Archives – April, 2013

Best Rx for Bees? Their Own Honey

From: Live Science

 

Tia Ghose

 

Honey contains chemicals that could help bees ward off parasites and protect them from pesticide damage, new research suggests.

 

The findings, published today (April 29) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that the immune-boosting chemicals in honey could be a solution to colony-collapse disorder, which has decimated bee populations worldwide.

 

“The natural honey has components in it that help trigger defenses in the bees,” said Jay Evans, a bee pathologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service in Maryland who was not involved in the study.

Leave a Comment April 29, 2013

Europe Set to Vote on Pesticide Ban

Editor’s Note: Before voting for a ban that: 1) could cost farmers “millions of pounds;” 2) is based on data with “a high level of uncertainty” according to its authors; and 3) is contradicted by studies from two UK government agencies, European government should consider the observation by the Director of the University of Illinois’ Institute for Genomic Biology, a note expert on honey bee behavior, genomics and biology:

Here, corn and soybean agriculture use one of the most controversial classes of insecticides, the neonicotinoids. But there are no problems in this area with Colony Collapse Disorder. We’re ground zero for neonicotinoid use but we have no documented cases of Colony Collapse Disorder.

Leave a Comment April 25, 2013

Gene Robinson, expert on honey bee behavior, genomics and biology

Editor’s Note:  The following quote from the interview below with the Director of the University of Illinois’ Institute for Genomic Biology, an expert on honey bee behavior, genomics and biology, is of particular importance:

Here, corn and soybean agriculture use one of the most controversial classes of insecticides, the neonicotinoids. But there are no problems in this area with Colony Collapse Disorder. We’re ground zero for neonicotinoid use but we have no documented cases of Colony Collapse Disorder.

 

From: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne

 

Leave a Comment April 22, 2013

How Markets Cope With Disappearing Bees

From: The Daily Beast

 

by Megan McArdle

 

Colony Collapse Disorder was decimating hives. So the market built more.

 

You may have read about Colony Collapse Disorder, the mysterious condition in which honeybee colonies abandon their hives (and, presumably, die somewhere in the wild).  No one knows what causes it, though the leading candidates currently seem to be pesticides, some sort of imported parasite, or both.  But it’s obviously a big problem for beekeepers–and by extension, for the billions of dollars worth of crops that rely on pollination services from commercial beekeeping operations.

Leave a Comment April 19, 2013

Forbes article separates fact from fiction on bee deaths

From: Ag Professional

Colleen Scherer, Managing Editor, Ag Professional

A recent Forbes article claims to shed light on the real story behind neonicotinoids and mass bee deaths. The article, published April 11, lays out the history of bee deaths and points out multiple discrepancies in today’s popular myths about what’s causing bees to die off.

The article points out how activist community has been quick to rally behind one explanation: neonicotinoid pesticides. However, scientists have a wide range of explanations, and in the scientific community, there is no real consensus on the true cause.

Leave a Comment April 16, 2013

What keeps killing the bees?

From: U~T San Diesgo

 

Exact cause of colony collapse disorder still unknown; potential impacts are huge

 

By Mark Walker

 

Standing in a buckwheat patch in the heart of Pauma Valley, James Gibbs pulled the cover off a honeybee colony box to see how his livelihood was faring.

 

It’s an assessment beekeepers have approached with trepidation for close to a decade as a mysterious malady — or maladies — continues to kill at least half of their bees. This year’s losses are as much if not greater, according to commercial beekeepers in this region and nationwide.

Leave a Comment April 15, 2013

Science Collapse Disorder — The Real Story Behind Neonics And Mass Bee Deaths

From: Forbes

Jon Entine

Colony Collapse Disorder—it sounds catastrophic and frightening. The Genetic Literacy Project’s Jon Entine separates fact from fiction.

It’s estimated that over the past five years, some 30 percent of bees in the United States have either disappeared or failed to survive to pollinate blossoms in the spring. That’s about 50% more than the rate expected. The problem is direr in some other countries. InSpain, recent data indicate a loss close to 80% of beehives. On the other hand, in Canada and Australia, there is no sign of Colony Collapse Disorder.

Leave a Comment April 12, 2013

European Studies on Bees are not Compliant with the Data Quality Act

The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness (CRE) has recently completed a Data Quality Act (DQA) Alert on the European Food and Safety Authority’s (EFSA) report on neonicotinoids which found that neonicotinoids pose a risk to bees.   The DQA Alert outlines the serious deficiencies of the EFSA report and demonstrates why the EFSA report violates the DQA.

In particular, the EFSA report failed to maximize the objectivity of the data by failing to reconcile numerous studies whose conclusions contradicted the findings of the EFSA report.  In particular, the EFSA report failed to address the following studies: (1) the varroa mite studies; (2) Dr. James Creswell’s Report “Comment on a ‘Common Pesticide Decreased Foraging Success and Survival in Honey Bees”; and (3) the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs recent studies and findings on neonicotinoids.

Leave a Comment April 10, 2013

Michigan honey production drops, winter bee deaths climb

From: MLive

 

By Rosemary Parker

 

HOPKINS, MI — A U.S. Department of Agriculture report that Michigan has dropped from 7th to 9th nationally in honey production stings.

 

But for Kenneth Hoekstra of  Hopkins, who raises bees, so does the news that only four of  the 10 bee hives he had going into winter have survived.

 

How bad was the winter, and how hard have Michigan beekeepers been hit by the mysterious combination of maladies that seem to be killing more honeybees than ever?

 

Leave a Comment April 8, 2013

The buzz around bee health

From: Staunton News Leader

 

Written by Laura Peters

 

State bee populations have been dropping drastically. But, it’s not just this year. It’s a problem that’s been plaguing the area for more than a decade.

 

According to Virginia Tech Entomologist Richard Fell, the average annual winter loss from 2001 through 2012 has been more than 30 percent in Virginia.

 

Virus, mites and certain pesticides could be to blame for the drastically dropping bee population.

 

According to Fred Hollen of the Shenandoah Valley Beekeepers Association, this isn’t something new — it’s been going on since the mid-1980s.

Leave a Comment April 5, 2013

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