Archives – August, 2016
From: CBC News
Chemical treatments and changes to hives seem to be slowing parasite which weaken bees immune system
Beekeepers in northwestern Ontario could be turning the corner in the battle against the devastating Varroa mite, according to the president of the Thunder Bay Beekeepers Association.
“People like myself that’s been treating, we’re not really having an issue. Actually, we’re thriving. I haven’t seen the bees this good in years. It’s crazy,” he said.
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August 31, 2016
Plant & Food Research is asking for public help to locate colonies of feral bees, as groundbreaking evidence suggests they may save our honey industry from the devastating varroa mite.
Bee numbers in New Zealand are growing – bucking the international trend – thanks to human intervention controlling varroa, says Dr Mark Goodwin, who leads the organisation’s apiculture and pollination team.
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August 30, 2016
From: The Washington Post
Randy Oliver, a commercial beekeeper, biologist and author of the website Scientific Beekeeping, is less circumspect. I asked him what the top three priorities for bee health were, and he said, “varroa, varroa and varroa.”
But pesticides matter, too. May Berenbaum, head of the entomology department at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, points out that insecticides are designed to kill insects, so it’s not surprising that they have an impact on bees. The problem, though, isn’t limited to one class of insecticides. “The media has focused on neonicotinoids,” which have been the subject of more than 100 papers in scientific literature in 2015 and 2016, she says. “The light is shining most brightly, and people are looking where the light is bright.” By contrast, “varroa is a horrible nightmare. It has not been captured by the media just how disastrous it has been.”
August 29, 2016
From: Montana State University
By Marshall Swearingen for the MSU News Service
BOZEMAN — Researchers at Montana State University have published an informational paper in a scholarly journal summarizing what’s known about the role that viruses play in honey bee health.
August 26, 2016
August 25, 2016
From: PLOS Blogs
On the eve of National Honey Bee Day, PLOS’s Jose Mendez interviews researcher Dr. Michelle Flenniken, Ph.D of Montana State University to discuss the role of viruses on honey bee health and the importance of honey bee colony losses in her new PLOS Pathogens Pearls Article, The Buzz About Honey Bee Viruses.
One of the biggest challenges to maintaining healthy bee colonies is mitigating mite (Varroa destructor) infestations. What can beekeepers do to reduce mite infestations?
August 23, 2016
When it comes to preserving honeybee colonies, many beekeepers succeed in fighting off certain threats to bees but struggle with others, and the varroa mite, a parasite and vector for viruses that is believed to be a major cause of colony collapse disorder, has been a consistent threat to honeybees since the late 1980s. While most focus on the threat pesticides present, real progress is being made in building up bees’ resistance to varroa mites, thanks in large part to the efforts of Jeff Harris, a beekeeper and research apiculturist from Mississippi State University. With this resistance to varroa mites comes a crucial trait—the ability to destroy invading mites within a hive by cannibalizing other bees infected with mites.
August 22, 2016
From: Growing Produce
“Calculating risk, which is the likelihood that bad things will happen to a species based on a specific hazard or dose, is very different from calculating hazard, which is the potential to cause harm under a specific set of circumstances,” said co-author Allan Felsot, WSU Tri-Cities Professor of Entomology and Environmental Toxicology.
“Most of what has dominated the literature recently regarding neonicotinoids and honeybees has been hazard identification,” he said. “But hazardous exposures are not likely to occur in a real-life setting.”
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August 19, 2016
From: The Oregonian
As environmental and agricultural officials debate whether to regulate neonicotinoid pesticides more tightly, a Washington State University study contends that honey bees encounter little risk of poisoning in everyday life.
“While we found that bees did not have chronic exposure to adverse concentrations of neonicotinoids, we are not saying that they are not harmful to bees – they are,” said Timothy Lawrence, assistant professor and director of Washington State University Island County Extension. “People need to be careful with pesticide use to avoid acute exposure.”
August 17, 2016