Archives – March, 2016

Starvation as babies makes bees stronger as adults


Short-term starvation as larvae actually makes honey bees more resilient to nutritional deprivation as adults. This suggests they have an anticipatory mechanism like solitary organisms do. These findings change the current understanding of colony collapse disorder and provide new avenues to study. Credit: Christofer Bang

A lack of adequate nutrition is blamed as one of many possible causes for colony collapse disorder or CCD—a mysterious syndrome that causes a honey bee colony to die. Parasites, pesticides, pathogens and environmental changes are also stressors believed responsible for the decline of honey bees.

Since are critical to the world’s food supply, learning how bees cope with these stressors is critical to understanding honey bee health and performance.

Leave a Comment March 31, 2016

Honeybee health hit by high hive levels

From: Radio New Zealand

Alexa Cook, Rural Reporter

An influx of newcomers to the industry is threatening bees’ survival by concentrating tens of thousands of hives, which puts the bees too close together, the National Beekeepers Association says.

RNZ Rurals has been told beekeeping companies from Wellington and the Wairarapa are offering cash to farmers in Hawke’s Bay to put hives on their farms, but are not putting them far enough from businesses such as Arataki and Kintail, which have been on the land for many years.

Leave a Comment March 30, 2016

Senate Hearing Supports Controversial Pesticide Linked to Bee Decline


By TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff

PROVIDENCE — The pesticide linked to collapsing bee colonies received a solid endorsement from state officials, local farmers and researchers.


“There was a bit of hysteria thinking that neonics were causing (CCD) and there’s really quite a bit of evidence that it is diseases and varroa mite that cause colony collapse disorder,” said Heather Faubert, a researcher in plant science and entomology at the University of Rhode Island.

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Leave a Comment March 29, 2016

What Beepocalypse?

From: Genetic Literacy Project

The latest bee population numbers for 2015 came out last week and while they are a guesstimate,  they show a tiny (3%) decrease since their 20-year high from 2014.

No big deal to scientists, bee numbers fluctuate a lot from year-to-year and always have, and overwinter losses do not equal bees in decline, but activists are portraying it as an ecological catastrophe.


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Leave a Comment March 28, 2016

Chronic exposure to neonicotinoid pesticide has no adverse effect on bumblebees

From: Genetic Literacy Project

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis.

In recent years, many pollinators have declined in abundance and diversity worldwide, presenting a potential threat to agricultural productivity, biodiversity and the functioning of natural ecosystems. One of the most debated factors proposed to be contributing to pollinator declines is exposure to pesticides, particularly neonicotinoids, a widely used class of systemic insecticide. Also, newly emerging parasites and diseases, thought to be spread via contact with managed honeybees, may pose threats to other pollinators such as bumblebees. Compared to honeybees, bumblebees could be particularly vulnerable to the effects of stressors due to their smaller and more short-lived colonies. Here, we studied the effect of field-realistic, chronic clothianidin exposure and inoculation with the parasite Nosema ceranae on survival, fecundity, sugar water collection and learning using queenless Bombus terrestris audax microcolonies in the laboratory. . . .

Leave a Comment March 25, 2016

No effect of low-level chronic neonicotinoid exposure on bumblebee learning and fecundity

From: Peer J

Leave a Comment March 24, 2016

If Politics Win, Science and Bees Lose

Editor’s Note: The science is clear, varroa destructor transmitting Deformed Wing Virus, not neonics, is the culprit behind bee health decline.

From:  Total Landscape Care

Jill Odom


In a study conducted in 2014, nearly 60 percent of the 750 turf and ornamental professionals polled listed a neonicotinoid as one of their most used insecticides. A little more than half felt that losing access to neonicotinoids would result in reduced income for their businesses.

Federal pollinator bills that ban neonicotinoids have died in Congress, but if states like Illinois are successful in passing legislation, it could cause a ripple effect.

Leave a Comment March 23, 2016

U.S. agencies need better data to protect bees, watchdog says

Editor’s Note: Reliable, replicable data is the prerequisite for effective regulation.

From: Science

By Puneet Kollipara

Federal agencies need to patch some scientific holes in their ongoing efforts to protect struggling bee populations, according to the nonpartisan watchdog agency of Congress. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) lacks a plan for monitoring populations of certain non–honey bee species, a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit argues. And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) needs to collect data on pesticide mixtures to more accurately assess the risks bees face from the chemicals, GAO says.

Leave a Comment March 22, 2016

Siehl Prize for Excellence in Agriculture announces 2016 laureates

From: University of Minnesota

An internationally renowned bee expert, the former leader of one of Minnesota’s most diversified dairy companies and an innovative leader in pork production are this year’s recipients of the prestigious Siehl Prize in Agriculture.

The prize is awarded annually by the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. Recipients are chosen in three categories: knowledge (teaching, research and outreach); agribusiness; and production agriculture. This year’s winners are:

Leave a Comment March 21, 2016

Ag Groups Join Neonic Seed Treatment Case

From: KTIC 840 Rural Radio

BY Chris Clayton/DTN-Progressive Farmer

Several major agricultural groups have opted to join a legal battle over neonicotinoid seed treatments and support the Environmental Protection Agency’s motion to dismiss the case originally brought by environmental groups and a handful of beekeepers.


Further, the agricultural groups argue that EPA has conducted a vigorous review of seed treatments under the FIFRA law and found that seed treatments perform their “intended function without unreasonable adverse effects on the environment.”

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1 Comment March 18, 2016

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