Archives – May, 2017

VARROA, VARROA, VARROA! Not Neonicotinoids

From: American Bee Journal

The Classroom – May 2017

Jerry Hayes – (excerpt)



I wrote you earlier in the year and asked you your opinion about why my bees died. I was positive that it was some kind of pesticide exposure from farmers around me late last year that showed up under winter conditions. You asked me about sampling and treating for mites and what did I use and did I sample after to see what the count was to see if the treatment worked. The state bee inspector came out and took samples and sent them off to the USDA Lab to be analyzed. The report just came back and I had 33.9 mites per hundred bees. As much as I hate to admit it, you were right. Just wanted to let you know.

Leave a Comment May 16, 2017

Regulation Fail: The EU’s Neonicotinoid Ban is an Ecological Disaster

From: Forbes

Pesticide Regulation In The European Union: The Worst Has Become The Norm

  • The kicker was that the ban produced no benefit–zero, none, zip–to bees or other beneficial insects–which was, after all, the whole point of the wrong-headed exercise.
  • in 2016 oilseed rape acreage in the UK fell for the fourth straight year and UK farmers lost £18.4 million and almost 28,800 hectares of crops due to the ban.


Leave a Comment May 15, 2017

How the Varroa Mite Co-Opts Honey Bee Behaviors to Its Own Advantage

From: Entomology Today

While the Varroa destructor mite is not highly mobile on its own, it takes advantage of the behaviors of honey bees in managed beekeeping settings to spread. In particular, bee colonies in close proximity to each other and less swarming allow mite populations to grow, according to new research. (Photo credit: Scott Bauer, USDA Agricultural Research Service,

As the managed honey bee industry continues to grapple with significant annual colony losses, the Varroa destructor mite is emerging as the leading culprit. And, it turns out, the very nature of modern beekeeping may be giving the parasite the exact conditions it needs to spread nearly beyond control.

Leave a Comment May 12, 2017

Rep. Rodney Davis gets a closer look at pollinators during Champaign County visit


Chairman of a U.S. House Ag subcommittee learns about honey bee threats and their impact on the food supply at the home of the ‘World’s Best Tasting Honey.’

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, learns about Curtis Orchard’s award-winning honey from beekeeper Rachel Coventry. (Photo by Catrina Rawson)

Davis, R-Taylorville, visited Curtis Orchard in Champaign County to learn about pollinators, their habitats and the pests and diseases leading to their demise. Davis serves as chairman of a U.S. House Agriculture Committee subcommittee, which addresses pollinator issues, among other things.


Leave a Comment May 11, 2017

How beekeepers help deadly parasites thrive

From: Cosmos Magazine

Modern beekeeping practices are contributing to commercial bee colony collapse. Andrew Masterson reports.

Deadly mite infestations considered a leading cause of the continuing collapse of the global commercial honey-bee industry are being abetted by modern bee-keeping practices, new research suggests.

The research, published in the journal Environmental Entomology, points the finger at the practices of siting commercial hives too close to each other, and of thwarting the bees’ swarming behavior, for creating conditions ideal for the rapid growth and spread of the parasitic Varroa mite.

Read Complete Article

Leave a Comment May 10, 2017

Scientists say agriculture is good for honeybees

From: Michigan Farm News

While recent media reports have condemned a commonly used class of agricultural pesticides as detrimental to honeybee health, scientists with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture have found that the overall health of honeybee hives actually improves in the presence of agricultural production.


Results indicated that hive health was positively correlated to the presence of agriculture. According to the study, colonies in a non-agricultural area struggled to find adequate food resources and produced fewer offspring.

Read Complete Article

Leave a Comment May 10, 2017

USDA/ARS Scientists Discover How Varroa Mites Take Advantage of Managed Beekeeping practices


How Varroa mites take advantage of managed beekeeping practices


“Beekeepers need to rethink Varroa control and treat Varroa as a migratory pest,” says Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman, Ph.D., research leader and location coordinator at the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service’s Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson, Arizona, and lead author of the research.


Leave a Comment May 9, 2017

Scientists find positive correlation between bee health and presence of agriculture

From: FarmingUK

Scientists have found that the overall health of bees improves in the presence of agricultural production.

The study, “Agricultural Landscape and Pesticide Effects on Honey Bee Biological Traits” published in the Journal of Economic Entomology and by the University of Tennessee, evaluated the impacts of row-crop agriculture, including the traditional use of pesticides, on honey bee health.

Results indicated that hive health was positively correlated to the presence of agriculture.

Read Complete Article

Leave a Comment May 8, 2017

This beekeeper is rescuing bees with deep learning and an iPhone

From: TechCrunch



Varroa mites are a nightmare for bees and their keepers. They attach themselves to bees and quite literally suck the life out of them. Left unchecked, they can destroy entire colonies. The trick is that bees need continuous monitoring, and traditional methods of identifying Varroa are time-consuming. Varroa multiply exponentially and they can only be stopped if they’re caught early.

This is where the group’s machine learning proficiency comes into play. Because the red mites contrast strongly against the back of the bees, an object recognition algorithm can be used to quickly check batches of bee images for the pests.

Leave a Comment May 5, 2017

It’s the Varroa, not the Neonics: What Bell Nursery Learned About Bees While Keeping Beehives

From: Greenhouse Grower

Find Out What Bell Nursery Learned About Bees While Keeping Beehives



Over a two-year period, we had the hives tested for a wide array of chemicals. No neonicotinoids were found in any samples. Traces of two chemicals, not found at our facility, were found at such low levels at parts per billion there could be no impact.

Leave a Comment May 4, 2017

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