USDA Conference on Honey Bee Health

October 15, 2012


The USDA convened a very interesting conference on the health of honey bees. Any observer who does not specialize in the subject had to be impressed—if not surprised—by the amount of research that has been conducted on bees. Upon consideration such an emphasis is understandable in that a significant portion of our food crops is dependent upon bees.


Salient points made at the meeting and observed by CRE include:


  —    Accolades to USDA for emphasizing bee health decline in lieu of CCD.


 —     Publications on CCD are decreasing; publications on bee health are  increasing.


 —     There is no single identified cause of CCD


 —     EPA has an in-depth program for developing quantitative methodologies for risk analysis.


 —    The bottom line of the entire exercise is to issue regulations


—     Varroa mites are a game changer or more specifically a “major driver of annual losses” Several speakers made stronger statements regarding the role played by Varroa mites.


—     Neonicotinoids  do not have a big impact on bee health decline and when used in accordance with label instructions pose no undue risk.


 —    Beekeepers emphasized the need for more acreage for bee production.



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