Archives – February, 2014

USDA program to invest $3 million to improve health of bees

From: Morrison County Record

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.

Leave a Comment February 28, 2014

Bayer releases product to reduce seed dust harmful to bees

From: AgriPulse

By Sarah Gonzalez

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.

Leave a Comment February 26, 2014

R&D targets bee killer

From: Farm Weekly (Australia)

DEVELOPING new ways to treat the devastating honey bee parasite, varroa mite, is among the aims of a new research and development (R&D) statement from the federal government.

Varroa mites are parasites that live on bees and they can lead to the destruction of whole colonies and hives.

Modelling by CSIRO shows varroa mite could cost our crop industries about $70 million a year if it established in Australia.

Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce this week released a statement outlining the areas where R&D could help to better prepare our industries and mitigate the risk.

Leave a Comment February 24, 2014

Wild bumblebees falling victim to honeybee diseases worldwide

From: The Washington Post

By Seth Borenstein

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.

Leave a Comment February 21, 2014

Industry stepping up efforts to help protect pollinator populations

From: Delta Farm News

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.

Leave a Comment February 19, 2014

“Any restriction of neonicotinoid seed treatments would, in fact, increase the need for foliar spraying.”

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.

From: Presentation to the Canadian Senate on Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry

Comments for Senate’s Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry regarding the importance of bees and bee health in the production of honey, food and seed in Canada.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Leave a Comment February 17, 2014

Queen honeybees with VSH trait aid in varroa control

From: Otago Daily Times

By Yvonne OHara

Queen honeybees with a spring-cleaning genetic trait are being used as a tool to control varroa mite rather than using miticides.

Plant and Food Research (PFR) scientists Michelle Taylor and Warren Yorston, of Ruakura, have been involved in the varroa sensitive hygiene (VSH) honeybee breeding programme since 2003, in association with the National Beekeepers’ Association and with funding from the then Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s (now Ministry for Primary Industries) Sustainable Farming Fund.

Bees with the VSH trait are able to detect reproductive mites in brood cells and uncap the cells and remove the pest before recapping them.

Leave a Comment February 14, 2014

Bee Deaths Reversal: As Evidence Points Away From Neonics As Driver, Pressure Builds To Rethink Ban

From: Forbes

Jon Entine, Contributor

If the Environmental Protection Agency moves to restrict neonicotinoid pesticides because of fears that they are causing bee deaths, it will happen in spite of the mounting evidence rather than because of it.

[UPDATE NOTE: This story was revised on 8 February to reflect release of new data on neonics and bee health presented at a New Orleans entomology conference.]

Last December, the European Commission banned the use of neonicotinoids, often called neonics, for two years. The moratorium, support for which was channeled by the precautionary politics that now dominate science-based regulation in Europe, took effect just as numerous new studies–including one released this past week–shed increasing doubt on the belief that neonics play a central role in bee health.

Leave a Comment February 10, 2014

New research indicates neonicotinoids not showing up in plant pollen

Editor’s Note:  See the science conference video here.

From: Delta Farm Press

According to media accounts, neonicotinoid seed treatments are taken up by plants and expressed in pollen and other reproductive parts, thus contributing to the much-publicized declines in honeybees in recent years.

But new research by Mid-South university entomologists indicates that’s not necessarily the case, as Gus Lorenz, Extension entomologist with the University of Arkansas explained in this video report from the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in New Orleans.

Leave a Comment February 7, 2014

Finnish study finds neonicotinoids do not harm bees

From: Farmers Weekly

Philip Case

Initial findings from a Finnish study on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides on field crops suggest they may not cause acute harm to bees.

The Neomehi Project in Finland is studying how neonicotinoid-based insecticides used in the cultivation of spring oilseed rape and spring turnip rape plants affects honeybees.

Based on the first set of test results, researchers said they suggested neonicotinoids do not cause immediate harm to honeybees.

For the study, beehives were positioned in five different locations, each in close proximity to an oilseed field.

Leave a Comment February 5, 2014

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