Archives – July, 2017

Gove neonicotinoid remarks welcomed

From: Horticulture Week

by Matthew Appleby

The HTA has welcomed a comment by Defra secretary of state Michael Gove on neonicotinoids.

Defra secretary Michael Gove has told MPs UK Government policy on neonicotinoid pesticides will “follow both existing EU protections” and will be “enhanced in line with the science”.


“I’m very pleased he wants to take he science seriously. We’ve always asked for a risk-based approach based on science.

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Leave a Comment July 21, 2017

Explaining Massachusetts’ Attempt to Protect Bees

From: Lancaster Farming

Ed Davidian, President, Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation


The bill, as written, restricts the use of neonicotinoids, a commonly used pesticide, without proper scientific review. Furthermore, research has been inconclusive on bee kills. In fact, the USDA states there are multiple causes of bee death with mites being the most serious problem. There are also viruses and poor nutrition.


Massachusetts farmers need access to healthy pollinators, including bee colonies, to pollinate their crops every spring. Farm Bureau and every farmer in the state supports the beekeeping community. However, farmers and Farm Bureau cannot support knee-jerk reactions that are not backed by scientific data and a refined review process.

Leave a Comment July 20, 2017

York-Laval University Paper on Neonics and Bees Marred by Inconsistencies, Data Deficiencies, Dubious Bee Management and Weak Statistics

From: Terry Daynard’s Blog | Comments about Agriculture, Food and the Bioeconomy

Terry Daynard | @TerryDaynard


This commentary is about the Tsvetkof et al paper. My conclusion, in brief:

This paper joins others in showing that honey bees exposed to high concentrations of neonics (in this case clothianidin) may demonstrate sub-lethal effects. However, the strength of this conclusion is weakened seriously by data inconsistencies and deficiencies, major questions about bee management, and dubious statistical analyses. The potential role of varroa mites and other pests and diseases is ignored.

To learn how I reached that conclusion, read on.

Leave a Comment July 19, 2017

No Offense, American Bees, But Your Sperm Isn’t Cutting It

From: NPR/The Salt | Food for Thought

Ryan Bell
With an American honeybee queen for a mother and a European honeybee drone for a father, this worker bee has a level of genetic diversity unseen in the U.S. for decades. Researchers at Washington State University hope a deeper gene pool will give a new generation of honeybees much-needed genetic traits, like resistance to varroa mites. The parasite kills a third of American honeybees each year.
Megan Asche/Courtesy of Washington State University

[NPR] Editor’s note: This story is for mature bees only.


Leave a Comment July 18, 2017

Who’s really anti‑science?

From: Spiked

Yaël Ossowski


On the pesticide front, anti-science claims by publicly funded NGOs have routinely tipped the UK and the EU against innovation and established research. The chemical and weed-killer glyphosate has come under fire from various NGOs for its apparent connection to carcinogens, despite definitive statements from the European Food Safety Authority and 27 out of 28 member states which argue the opposite. ‘If political actors discredit scientific organisations because they don’t like the outcome in one out of 100 cases, they diminish the reputation of an organisation that they as policymakers will need to rely on in future’, said Bernhard Url, executive director of the European Food Safety Authority.

Leave a Comment July 17, 2017

Cornell University’s New York State Beekeeper Tech Team is Working to Secure US Food Supply

From: Observer

Mite takes major bite out of honeybee population, threatens crops

ITHACA — A tiny mite is causing major problems for New York’s honeybee population and is threatening the fruit and vegetable crops that are a major part of the state’s $500 million agriculture industry.

Cornell University scientists are tackling the problem by working with beekeepers whose colonies are at risk. Launched in 2016, the New York State Beekeeper Tech Team sampled 309 honeybee colonies from 70 apiaries across New York last fall. They found that 90 percent of the colonies were infested with varroa mites, and discovered deformed wing virus in 96 percent of the colonies and 100 percent of the operations sampled.

Leave a Comment July 7, 2017

CATCH THE BUZZ – N.Y. honeybees stung hard by varroa mite, researchers find

From: Bee Culture | The Magazine of American Beekeeping

By David Nutt

A small mite is causing big trouble for New York’s honeybee population and putting in peril the fruit and vegetable crops that depend on these pollinators.

Other beekeeper team findings:

  • A study of 30 apple orchards revealed a high level of pesticide exposure (five acute cases, 22 chronic). The majority of the high-risk insecticides appear to be coming not from the apples or the pollen that bees are collecting from the apples, but from wildflowers surrounding the orchards, which points to a potential issue in grower spray practices.

Leave a Comment July 6, 2017

Toxicity of destruxins against the parasitic mite Varroa destructor and its host Apis mellifera | Toxicidad de destruxinas contra el ácaro parásito Varroa destructor y su hospedador Apis mellifera

From: Journal of Apicultural Research

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The parasitic mite Varroa destructor Anderson & Trueman (Acari: Mesostigmata) is the most challenging honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) pest for beekeepers worldwide. Studies involving the use of entomopathogenic fungi for control of mite populations have shown that there is potential for their use, but there are several obstacles to their direct application in the hive. One of the promising fungi is Metarrhizium anisopliae, which produces toxins involved in pathogenicity named “destruxins” (Dtx). In this study, we performed trials to evaluate the toxicity of crude and purified Dtx (fractions A, B, CE and D) towards V. destructor and A. mellifera. Mortality of mites treated with crude Dtx and Dtx B and CE was higher than control mites in all performed trials, in which several solvents and administration modes were employed. When purified Dtx B and CE were administered to honey bees at the higher concentration they caused a significantly higher mortality compared to control, showing the need for further research.

Leave a Comment July 5, 2017

Vice-President’s beehive brings attention to pollinators

From: North Platte Bulletin

In a show of concern for the plight of bees and other pollinators, Second Lady Karen Pence and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue recently unveiled a beehive on the grounds of the U.S. vice president’s res­idence.


The USDA’s Agricultural Research Service is conducting research to improve the nutritional health of bees, to control the Varroa mite and other pests and pathogens, and to understand the effects of pesticides on colonies, the USDA said.

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Leave a Comment July 5, 2017

Do Neonics Hurt Bees? Researchers and the Media Say Yes. The Data Do Not.


A new, landmark study provides plenty of useful information. If only we could interpret it accurately.

Leave a Comment July 3, 2017

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