Archives – September, 2015

Technology and connectivity: tipping the balance to save the world’s bees?

From: MemeBurn

As the growing network of smart, connected devices starts to change our world, scientists are increasingly looking to technology for new applications — often in the most unexpected spheres. With global bee populations already declining significantly and under new pressure from disease, an innovative technology-based solution could provide a new source of hope for bee farmers across the world. Called “MiteNot”, the technology is currently being trialled in America, with connectivity being provided by Gemalto’s machine-to-machine (M2M) module. Should trials prove effective, the solution might hold new hope for South Africa’s own bee populations – currently under threat from American Foul Brood Disease.

Leave a Comment September 30, 2015

Neonic debate seeks to sift bad science from good

From: Western Farm Press

Researchers realize complexities of colony collapse disorder

As answers remain forthcoming on the toxicity of neonicotinoids to pollinators a mix of scientists and regulators recognize the need for more university research into potential causes of bee deaths know more commonly as colony collapse disorder (CCD). 

Leave a Comment September 28, 2015

Are Argentine ants a threat to honeybees?

From: University of California

You know them from the line across the kitchen counter and the swarm around your water faucet: Argentine ants. California sits atop a super-colony of these unwelcome houseguests, and new research suggests they may be doing more harm than previously suspected.


“There’s no evidence that the dicistrovirus found in Argentine ants does anything negative, and the presence of DWV in Argentine ants is only suggestive at this point,” says Tsutsui.


Leave a Comment September 25, 2015

Varroa mite alert from the Honey Bee Lab

From: Oregon State University | College of Agricultural Science

Honey Bee Lab News

Hope all of you had a relatively successful bee year with strong hives and significant honey production, and have prepared your hives for successful overwintering. I just wanted to take this opportunity to alert / caution you about possibility of high mite populations in the colonies this year due to an unusually long bee season. As you all are aware we had a long bee season this year (at least in the Willamette Valley) as a result of warm weather that prevailed for almost more than 7 months. Longer brood cycle (abundance of larvae) usually results in higher mite populations, as the mites get a greater opportunity to breed and increase their populations relative to bees. Most of you might agree that this year was a year with longest brood cycle seen in the recent past (I have been in Oregon only for the past 6.5 years, so can’t go beyond that number). It has been reported that mite populations could increase exponentially (up to about 50 fold increase) in years when the brood is present in colonies almost round the year (Martin 1998).

Leave a Comment September 22, 2015

As honeybees are lost, beekeepers and scientists grapple with potential causes

From: Herald-Mail Media

by Dave McMillion


Which is the bigger threat?

An assistant entomology professor at the University of Maryland is hesitant to lay heavy blame on neonicotoid pesticide use. Dennis vanEnglesdorp, whose research has focused on honeybee health, said there has only been small numbers of beehives with traces of the pesticides in sampling work.

VanEnglesdorp said a big threat to honeybees is the Varroa mites, which is illustrated by the fact that large numbers of beekeepers are not treating for the mites.

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Leave a Comment September 21, 2015

USDA to EPA: “simple use of LD 50 toxicity ratings for individual bees. . .provides an inaccurate measure of potential harm. . .”

Editor’s Note: The following are excerpts from USDA Office of Pest Management Policy’s “Comments on the EPA proposed rule: Mitigation of Exposure to Bees from Acutely Toxic Pesticide Products” [EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0818]. USDA’s complete comments are attached here.

USDA also requests clarification as to why this is listed as a proposed rule in EPA documents posted in the docket in May, June, and July 2015? When this action was first published in the Federal Register on May 29, 2015, it appeared in the Proposed Rules section of the Register and not in the Notices section where four other EPA notices appeared that same day. If this is a proposed rule and not a notice, why did this not follow procedures as described in the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)? An action such as this should be supported by an analysis of costs and benefits.

Leave a Comment September 18, 2015

An interim impact assessment of the neonicotinoid oilseed rape: A report for Rural Business Reasearch

Editor’s Note: The complete study by Charles Scott and Paul Bilsborrow for Rural Business Research, an independent “consortium of leading academic units delivering projects for government, levy-funded research bodies, research councils, and commercial clients,” is available here. Below is an excerpt.

Leave a Comment September 17, 2015

Argentine Ants Carry Virus Deadly to Honeybees

From: New York Times


The Argentine ant, already known as one of the world’s most widespread and damaging pests, may be infecting honeybees with a deadly virus, a new study finds.


She and her colleagues found that ants from all three locations can carry the deformed wing virus, a pathogen linked to colony collapse in honeybees. The new study appears in the current issue of the journal Biology Letters.

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Leave a Comment September 16, 2015

Researchers target mites that kill honeybees

From: Total Landscape


Varroa mites feed on bee larvae as well as lay their eggs on them.

The honeybee has to deal with multiple threats, but none as devastating as the varroa mite, according to the University of Florida. However, hope is on horizon for two different ways to possibly minimize the threat of these mites.

Varroa mites are parasites and feed on the blood-like substance of the worker bees and the larvae. Not only do the mites weaken the adult bees, they are also able to infect the larvae with a virus known as deformed wing virus. These infected larvae will not be able to fly as adults.

Leave a Comment September 11, 2015

Argentine ants harbour viruses that may threaten honey bees and other insects

From: Australian Broadcasting Corporation

by Dani Cooper, ABC Science

Photo: Three Argentine ants attacking the New Zealand native ant Monomorium antarcticum (Stephen Barnard)

The ‘Genghis Khan of the ant world’, the Argentine ant, not only invades our suburbs. Researchers have now found it carries and spreads deadly pathogens.

However, ironically it appears the invasive ant may also host the seeds of its own destruction in the form of a killer virus.

A new study of Argentine ants in New Zealand, Australia and Argentina shows they carry a previously undescribed virus that could be connected to mass population collapses of the ants in New Zealand.

Leave a Comment September 9, 2015

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