Archives – March, 2017

Yet another tough winter for honeybees

From: Bangor Daily News

By Peter Cowin, Special to the BDN


The parasitic varroa mite has been a real problem for beekeepers, and it seems to be getting worse. It is becoming vital to treat for mites and check to see whether the treatments have worked.


Leave a Comment March 31, 2017

Canadian House Ag Committee Raises Red Flags About Proposed Imidacloprid Ban


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.”

Leave a Comment March 30, 2017

Is post-Brexit Britain poised to embrace less political, more science-based approach to regulating pesticides?


& |

[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.


Leave a Comment March 29, 2017

Beehive Academy Robotics wins state, qualifies for international competition

From: Sandy Journal (Utah)

Published by Julie Slama

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.

Leave a Comment March 28, 2017

Extension of neonicotinoids ban slammed ‘wanton vandalism’

Editor’s Note: The EU’s neonicotinoid ban has been an environmental catastrophe for Europe and the globe, see here.

From: FG | Insight

The likelihood of a total ban on neonicotinoids has been criticised by leading crop experts. 

While the decision is still being considered, industry leaders and British farmers slammed the decision for its reliance on political judgement and its increasing damage on food and farming.


“There is still no evidence to suggest that restricting neonicotinoids helps bee populations, but it certainly harms farming and food production.”

– Sarah Mukherjee

Read Complete Article

Leave a Comment March 27, 2017

Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency needs more collaborative approach

From: Western Producer


We should all be concerned about how the Pest Management Regulatory Agency is handling the re-evaluation of the insecticide imidacloprid.


The PMRA’s approach is worrisome on a scale much larger than this one chemistry. Crop protection companies need a predictable, science-based regulatory environment or they’ll take their investment elsewhere. Canada is becoming a difficult jurisdiction for them to do business.

Read Complete Article

Leave a Comment March 24, 2017

Virginia State pollinator protection plan buzzes along

From: Roanoke Times


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.

Leave a Comment March 23, 2017

Neonic replacement not popular with farmers or beekeepers

From: Manitoba Co-Operator

They’re too expensive, ineffective and still harmful to bees, to cite just some of the concerns expressed


Mark Brock, chairman of Grain Farmers of Ontario, told the Commons agriculture committee that replacement for imidacloprid is far more expensive and less effective.

“There are no alternatives in the marketplace or in the technology pipeline that provide the same level of protection and safety,” he said.

Read Complete Article

Leave a Comment March 22, 2017

In a Laboratory Test, Chronic Exposure to Imidacloprid Improves Immune Response of Bumble Bees

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.

From: Colby College

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.”

Leave a Comment March 21, 2017

Delaware announces new state apiarist

Editor’s Note: See here for more information on the essential role of government scientists in advancing American agriculture.

From: Delaware Department of Agriculture

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.

Leave a Comment March 20, 2017

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