Archives – November, 2014
By David Schultz
As federal agencies develop a nationwide strategy to reverse a dramatic decline in the number of pollinator insects, a pair of recent public forums revealed deep disagreements among the issue’s stakeholders: beekeepers, farmers, environmental activists and chemical companies.
The forums were held in the Washington area by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture.
They cite competing evidence that indicates the biggest problem for the health of American pollinators is not the use of neonicotinoids but rather the infestation of the disease-carrying Varroa mite.
November 28, 2014
From: Science 2.0
By Jon Entine
Last week, in Part I of this two part series, “Bee Deaths Mystery Solved? Neonicotinoids (Neonics) May Actually Help Bee Health”, we explored the claims by Harvard School of Public Health researcher Chensheng Lu, heralded by anti-pesticide and anti-GMO advocacy groups, for his research that purportedly proves that the class of chemicals known as neonicotinoids are killing bees and endangering humans. And we saw how many journalists, our of ignorance or for ideological reason,s promote dicey science.
November 26, 2014
Editor’s Note: CSIRO’s website explains that “the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world.”
From: The Age
Australia’s biosecurity is at risk from what the CSIRO has called “the efficiency era”, which could hit the country’s ability to protect itself from external threats such as highly contagious human diseases and agricultural pests.
In a comprehensive report released on Tuesday, “the efficiency era” is one of five “biosecurity megatrends” identified as having the potential to compromise the country’s economy, health and environment in coming decades.
November 24, 2014
From: Science 2.0
By Jon Entine
Reports that honey bees are dying in unusually high numbers has concerned many scientists, farmers and beekeepers, and gripped the public. There have been thousands of stories ricocheting across the web, citing one study or another as the definitive explanation for a mystery that most mainstream experts say is complex and not easily reducible to the kind of simplistic narrative that appeals to advocacy groups.
This series—Bee Deaths Mystery Solved!—specifically examines two controversial studies, both authored by the same researcher, that have became the linchpin for those who argue that bees and potentially the planet are facing a Beemageddon. It addresses:
November 21, 2014
Editor’s Note: The complete study is available here.
Cutler GC1, Scott-Dupree CD2, Sultan M2, McFarlane AD2, Brewer L3.
November 18, 2014
From: FarmersForum (Ontario)
Six Senate committee hearing presentations on neonics lay blame for bee deaths on many factors
By Patrick Meagher
It didn’t take long for the debate about neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seeds to sound hysterical.
Hysteria got a boost last month when Ontario Environment Commissioner Gord Miller announced that neonics are “the biggest threat to the structure and ecological integrity of the ecosystem that I have ever encountered in my life.”
Chirs Cutler, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences, Dalhousie University: “That’s, I guess, a touchy subject.”
Senator Mercer: That’s why I asked it.
November 17, 2014
The following is the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness’ statement before the Presidential Pollinator Health Task Force on November 12th. A pdf of CRE’s testimony is attached here.
We applaud the EPA for initiating the public participation phase of the Task Force’s work in protecting pollinators by holding these public meetings. In doing so, EPA is helping fulfil two Presidential directives, one promoting honey bee health and other being the President’s transparency directive.
I am Bruce Levinson with the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness, a regulatory watchdog located in Washington, DC.
November 14, 2014
From: Bee Informed, a partnership of USDA and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Written By: Heather Eversole
The Maryland lab has been very busy this past month! We temporarily relocated our sample processing while our lab undergoes a remodel. This remodel will permit us to process a larger number of samples.
For the month of October (10/2-10/29/14), numerous samples were processed in the Maryland Bee lab. The lab examined 1448 varroa and 1327 nosema samples overall. This resulted in an increase of 600 (71%) varroa and 540 (69%) nosema samples over the previous month. September 2013 was our busiest month last year, but October 2014 has surpassed that.
November 12, 2014
From: Financial Post
At the end of a long day in the field, Ontario beekeeper Hugh Simpson is on his way to a meeting, where he’s looking forward to a packed agenda talking shop. Bee talk. Honey discourse.
And absolutely not about banning pesticides.
He and many other beekeepers are more worried that the anti-neonic beekeepers and the environmentalist groups eagerly lining up behind yet another campaign targeting pesticide makers, could be pushing the government down a dangerous path. Especially since just a few changes to the way neonics have been applied in recent years are already showing a rapid rebound in bee populations. Banning the chemicals now could do far more harm to agriculture in Canada than any trouble neonics may be causing.
November 10, 2014
From: The Western Producer
by Robert Arnason
A major Canadian study on neonicotinoids was released in late October with little pomp or circumstance.
Bee experts Cynthia Scott-Dupree of the University of Guelph and Chris Cutler of Dalhousie University concluded that canola grown from seed coated with a neonicotinoid insecticide does not pose a risk to honeybee colonies.
“Although various laboratory studies have reported sub-lethal effects in individual honeybees exposed to low doses of neonicotinoid insecticides, the results of the present study suggest that foraging on clothianidin seed-treated crops, under realistic conditions, poses low risk to honeybee colonies,” Cutler and Scott-Dupree wrote in a paper published in PeerJ, an online scientific journal.
November 7, 2014