Archives – April, 2015
Can agriculture afford to lose to the non-science of neonic opponents? The costs would be even higher than you probably think
By Ralph Pearce
Here in early 2015, it’s becoming a recognized pattern in agriculture: another day, another article, another proclamation and another call for action, all revolving around farmers’ use of neonicotinoid seed treatments and the alleged damage this does to bees and bee colonies.
April 30, 2015
From: The Exponent | Purdue Univisersity’s Independent Daily Student Newspaper
By ABBEY WILSON Staff Reporter
Greg Hunt, a professor of entomology, is not afraid of bees. In fact, he is fascinated by them. Hunt has been researching and working with honey bees since 1995, and he has become quite the expert. He currently works in the Purdue entomology department researching different species of European bees.
“The varroa mite is the biggest mortality for the bee colony,” Hunt said.
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April 27, 2015
From: Potato News Today
It was announced last week that the European Commission will start a review of the European Union (EU) ban on neonicotinoid pesticides imposed in 2013 in response to bee health concerns. The next step will be taken by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), who will publish a “call for evidence” by the end of May. The commission’s decision to ban the widely used pesticide in the 28-country EU was largely based on the 2013 EFSA review that found that the use of
neonicotinoids potentially threatened the survival of bee colonies. A large number of studies have been published since the review that could potentially reverse the neonicotinoid ban, which currently runs through December. Although the EFSA decision will have no direct bearing on the integrated pest management practices of U.S. growers, the influence of additional science-based studies on the new review’s outcome will be of great interest. (Source: National Potato Council)
April 22, 2015
From: EP News Wire
By Peter Gallanis
A University of Arkansas department of entomology professor says neonicotinoids do not harm pollinators, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should not delay approving new applications for using the pesticides.
“I’m extremely disappointed the EPA has chosen this path,” Gus Lorenz said this week. “We feel, based on our work, that neonicotinoid pesticides provide very little risk to pollinators, particularly honey bees. It’s a slap in the face to our research and other research as well.”
April 21, 2015
Dear Dr Flüh
Congratulations on your appointment as acting director responsible for bee-health in DG Santé. Your predecessor who had campaigned long and hard against the chemical and biotech industries, and had refused any semblance of dialogue, unfortunately has left you in a very difficult position with very little room for compromise on the neonicotinoid temporary ban that is coming up for re-evaluation this year.
Excuse me for writing an open letter to you, but as I had worked for industry nine years ago, I understand that if I had sent this letter by email, you would have had a problem with anti-industry lobbyists who would attack you for even answering my mail. In the interest of transparency, please feel free to reply in the comments section.
April 20, 2015
Editor’s Note: The USDA Honey report is available here.
From: The Times (Shreveport)
A United States Department of Agriculture report on honey shows production is up 19 percent year over year — a good sign after lengthy periods of decline in honeybee colonies.
“Through treatment with pesticides we were able to bring our bees back,” Fair said. Colonies in the wild still die due to Varroa mites, as he has seen firsthand.
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April 17, 2015
From: Southeast Farm Press
by John Hart in Farm Press Blog
More than 100 research studies show that there is no danger to honeybees when neonicotinoids are used as directed. Overwhelming evidence indicates that the chief cause of honey bee deaths is the vicious varroa mite.
Protecting honey bees is a lot like ensuring clean air and clean water. Everybody supports the cause, but the disagreement arises when it comes time to decide how to solve the problem.
April 15, 2015
In the US regulatory regime nothing is more dangerous than a poorly informed retail regulator.
At least in the federal sector of the regime, studies are required and notice and comment is given before a costly restrictive action is taken. Not so in the retail sector. The article below describes a unilateral action taken by a major retailer notwithstanding the fact that the federal government continues to examine the very issue upon which the retailer has rendered a final decision.
Furthermore the study quoted as a justification for the action taken by the retailer has been discredited by a national government.
April 12, 2015
By Sarah Gonzalez
he honeybee population in Indiana survived the winter in better shape than a year ago, with estimated losses at about 29 percent compared to a mortality rate of about 65 percent after the winter of 2013-2014, according to Purdue University honeybee specialist Greg Hunt.
“Although colony collapse disorder has generated a lot of attention, symptoms haven’t been seen in Indiana or in other states in the past two years,” Hunt said.
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April 10, 2015
From: Bangor Daily News
By John O’Meara, Special to the BDN
The image of bees starving and dying throughout Maine can’t just be blamed on our tough winter, however.
Another culprit is a parasitic mite that feeds on the bodily fluids of bees. Although the reddish mites appear tiny to the naked eye, they would be equivalent to a fist-sized creature sucking a human’s blood, according to Jadczak.
Not only do mites kill their hosts, they also carry viruses that make the bees sick. And even if the mites are killed, the viruses carried by the mites might kill the hive weeks later. Jadczak has seen some beeyards in Maine with 80 percent losses.
April 8, 2015