The House of Commons Agriculture Committee sent a letter to the federal Health Minister last week outlining concerns about Health Canada’s proposed ban of imidacloprid, one of the three main neonicotinoid seed treatments used by farmers.
The letter, signed by Ag Committee chair and Liberal MP Pat Finnigan, asks Minister Jane Philpott to consider several concerns regarding the proposed decision:
Concerns about transparency and the Pest Management Regulatory Agency’s re-evaluation process: “…concerns have been raised about the lack of transparency of PMRA’s re-evaluation process. More specifically, dialogue with the registrant was not pursued once potential risks had been identified. Witnesses suggested that dialogue with the registrant and other stakeholders should be initiated earlier in the process, before a decision is published, to allow for scientific input and new data to be obtained.”
[GLP Editor’s note: The following is a briefing paper on bees and neonicotinoids by the House of Commons Library, a library and information resource of the lower house of the British Parliament.]
The UK government did not consider that the evidence merited this action, but abided by the restrictions, although its granting of emergency authorisations for neonicotinoid use in 2015 prompted concern in some quarters that it might seek to overturn the restrictions.
Winning a state championship in any activity isn’t easy and defending the title can even be harder, but Beehive Academy’s Beehive Robotics team did just that.
Tying their project to the First Legos theme of “Animal Allies,” the team created the “Bee Safe” application after contacting several nurseries, Utah State University bee lab, Wasatch Beekeepers Association and others to learn that a lot of Varroa mites are attacking honey bees, weakening the bees and causing widespread wing virus that can lead to the death of a honeybee colony. The app, which the team members filed for a patent, identifies which plants are safe or harmful to the spreading of the Varroa mites.
In Virginia, as in other states, honeybee colonies have over the past 20 years been dying at a high rate. Nationally, researchers are still working to narrow down possible causes, and to better understand the combination of factors that may be responsible.
Historically, fewer than 10 percent of the commonwealth’s hives died annually, state apiarist Keith Tignor has said. But since the invasion of two parasitic mites — tracheal mites and Varroa destructor mites — in the 1980s, honeybee colonies have died at much higher rates. Statewide, 46 percent of colonies died in 2015, according to Tignor.
Editor’s Note: The complete study “Chronic exposure to a neonicotinoid increases expression of antimicrobial peptide genes in the bumblebee Bombus impatiens” by William R. Simmons & David R. Angelini is available here.
Now Collaborators, Professor and Protégé Continue to Explore
By Gerry Boyle ’78
“We got data and we got the answer to the question,” Angelini said of the study published March 21 in the journal Scientific Reports, which is affiliated with the prestigious journal Nature. “The surprising thing scientifically was that we had an effect of pesticide exposure—but in the opposite direction of what we had predicted.”
Dover – The Delaware Department of Agriculture announced today that they have hired a new State Apiarist, Meghan McConnell, a native of Millville, NJ. In her position, Meghan will be inspecting bee colonies, conducting surveys for the presence of honey bee parasites, and is responsible for securing samples of suspect colonies to determine suitable measures to control and/or eradicate disease. The State Apiarist supervises the colony registration program and certifies honey bee colonies that enter or exit the state.