Archives – January, 2015
From: Delta Farm Press
The Mid-South Extension entomologists who work in cotton, corn and soybeans have been conducting extensive tests to determine how long neonicotinoid seed treatments persist in those crops.
The persistence of those insecticides – thiamethoxam, clothianidin and imidacloprid – has become an important issue in the debate over the declines in honey bee populations. Environmental activists have asked EPA to cancel the registrations of those products in those crops.
But the entomologists’ studies show the insecticides in the neonicotinoid seed treatments generally drop to extremely low levels by the time honey bees would normally be foraging in those plants.
January 30, 2015
Editor’s Note: CRE’s Data Quality Alert on the EPA study is available here. A Data Quality Alert is a mechanism for informing an agency of the deficiencies in a report which provides a basis for filing a Data Quality petition seeking correction of the agency’s data.
From: Delta Farm Press
EPA’s Biological and Economic Analysis Division issued a report last Oct. 22 that said neonicotinoid seed treatments provided zero benefits when applied to soybean seed.
January 28, 2015
By Chris Bennett | Farm Journal, Technology and Issues Editor
Honeybee demise defies simple explanations
In 15 years, agriculture will have 1 billion more people on the planet to feed. When advocacy groups charge after a single class of chemicals—neonicotinoids—and claim elimination will solve pollinator collapse, they ignore the fact 134 different chemicals have been identified in a single honeybee colony. The European Union restricted neonicotinoid use for two years beginning in December 2013, and some environmental organizations want the U.S. to follow suit.
“Without neonicotinoids, we’d see corn prices about 25¢ per bushel higher,” he adds. “Also, a lot of land would move from non-crop use into crop production. Higher prices and lower yields equates to more land brought into production. It would be a gain of 350,000 to 400,000 acres—a big chunk of it coming from CRP.”
January 25, 2015
From: Inside EPA’s Risk Policy Report
EPA is broadening its consideration of whether neonicotinoid-treated seeds improve crop yields to include an analysis of whether the pesticide products improve corn crop yields, though industry officials are arguing that pesticide product efficacy reviews are beyond the scope of the agency’s usual practice and are unnecessary.
Now EPA appears to be moving forward with a second efficacy study, announcing in a Dec. 12 meeting with environmentalists that the agency intends to review whether neonicotinoid-treated seeds improve yields in corn production, according to two sources who attended the meeting.
January 23, 2015
From: Farmers Weekly
Concerns are mounting over the scientific backing behind a ban on neonicotinoid seed treatments as two researchers at the same university row over possibly flawed experiments.
The two scientists at the University of Sussex disagree on whether neonicotinoids were to blame for a decline in bee populations, which was the main factor behind the ban on the pesticide.
Bee researcher Norman Carreck is accusing his colleague Dave Goulson of feeding bumblebees unrealistic high levels of the neonicotinoid imidacloprid in the laboratory to show an adverse effect on bees.
January 20, 2015
From: Ottawa Citizen
Q and A: Sen. Percy Mockler on bees and the meaning of politics (with video)
Sen. Percy Mockler chairs a Senate committee that has spent more than a year studying bees. But there’s more to the New Brunswick Conservative’s vision than studying nature.
Q: Why study bee health and bee populations?
A: I had some farmers, bee producers, coming to me and saying, “Percy, we have a problem.” It’s a $2-billion industry in Canada. Every third bite (of food) in your mouth, it comes from bee pollination. That’s worldwide and there is a problem: colony collapse disorder.
January 19, 2015
A new study from the University of Exeter has found that viruses carried by commercial bees can jump to wild pollinator populations with potentially devastating effects. The researchers are calling for new measures to be introduced that will prevent the introduction of diseased pollinators into natural environments.
The main culprit of disease-related losses from commercial honeybee colonies is the Varroa mite. This parasite helps spread viral diseases and may increase their virulence. One of these viruses – the Deformed Wing Virus – has recently been identified as an emerging disease in pollinators and its prevalence in commercial honeybees has been linked to its existence in wild bumblebees.
Read Complete Article
January 16, 2015
Erica Quinlan, Field Editor
INDIANAPOLIS — Varroa mites are a pest troubling many Hoosier beekeepers.
Honeybees are struggling to survive in many hives, and the problem has been growing for decades.
“We did not really see Colony Collapse Disorder in Indiana, but it seems like the symptoms involved in the disorder (rapid dwindling of the number of worker bees, leading to colony loss) are similar to what we often see in the fall — when the numbers of parasitic varroa mites are high and the virus levels in the bees increase,” said Greg Hunt, honeybee specialist at Purdue University.
January 14, 2015
Grimsby Lincoln News
Regulating neonicotinoids is not the solution to decreasing bee populations in Ontario, and the Grain Farmers of Ontario is calling on the provincial government to find a real solution.
After meeting with government officials in December to discuss the new legislation that will regulate neonicotinoid seed treatment, GFO sent out a press release, calling on the Province and Premier Kathleen Wynne to “come back to the table and collaborate on a real solution to protect pollinators and the environment.”
Read Complete Article
January 12, 2015
Editor’s Note: The moratoriums on neonicotinoids won’t help bees because neonicotinoids are not harming bees, see here.
By Whitney McFerron
The European Union has a bug problem.
After regulators in late 2013 banned pesticides called neonicotinoids, linked in some studies to the unintended deaths of bees, farmers across the continent applied older chemicals to which many pests had developed a resistance, allowing them to survive. Now, infestations may lead to a 15 percent drop in this year’s European harvest of rapeseed, the region’s primary source of vegetable oil used to make food ingredients and biodiesel, according to researcher Oil World.
January 9, 2015