October 25, 2016

USDA Providing $4 Million for Honey Bee Habitat

Honey bees around the world have been dying off at an alarming rate in recent years. Because the insect is so important to America's food supply, the USDA is giving five midwestern states $4 million to help farmers and ranchers improve honey bee health. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, "the future of America's food supply depends on honey bees, and this effort is one way USDA is helping improve the health of honey bee populations. Significant progress has been made in understanding the factors that are associated with Colony Collapse Disorder and the overall health of honey bees, and this funding will allow us to work with farmers and ranchers to apply that knowledge over a broader area." The Midwest is home to more than 65% of the commercially managed honey bee hives in the … [Read more...]

Spokane, WA Ends Use of Neonicotinoids

The city council of Spokane, Washington has voted to discontinue the purchase and use of neonicotinoids on city property. Those pesticides are linked to honey bee colony collapse disorder. Pollinators are integral to agriculture. Since honey bees pollinate 30% of our food crops, Council President Ben Stuckart said in a statement, "this ordinance simply says Spokane prioritizes the protection of our food supply over the ornamental use of pesticides." Other cities that have banned these chemicals or are looking for alternatives include Eugene, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. Beyond Pesticides applauds this move and states that Spokane is part of a growing movement to protect pollinators. The European Union has a two-year moratorium on the pesticides. And just this week, President Obama … [Read more...]

President Obama Creates Strategy to Protect Honey Bees

President Obama has created a federal strategy to promote the health of honey bees and other pollinators that are crucial to our food supply. In the last few decades, the environment has lost a significant number of pollinators, including honey bees, native bees, birds, bats, and butterflies. Honey bees alone pollinate 1/3 of our food crops. Bee colony collapse is a serious problem that Food Poisoning Bulletin has been covering for years. Scientists believe that neonicotinoids, a type of pesticide, are one cause of this problem. Severe yearly declines are decimating the industry, and the commercial pollination industry may be fatally injured. A Pollinator Health Task Force will be established, headed by the Secretary of Agriculture and the Administrator of the EPA. The mission and … [Read more...]

Honey Bee Colony Loss Report for Winter 2013/2014

The Bee Informed Partnership, in collaboration with the USDA and Apiary Inspectors of American have released a preliminary report on their eighth annual national survey of honey bee colony losses. Honey bees pollinate one-third of the crops grown for food in the United States. The survey found that for the winter of 2013/2014, 23.2% of managed honey bee colonies in the U.S. died. More than 65% of respondents experienced winter colony loss rates greater than the average acceptable winter mortality rate of 18.9%. However, this rate is lower than the 2012/2013 estimate of 30.5% loss. The Center for Food Safety (CFS)┬ácommented on the report. Larissa Walker, head of CFS's pollinator campaign, said in a statement, "today's report offers little encouragement. There is more to the story than … [Read more...]

Harvard Study Strengthens Link Between Neonicotinoids and Bee Death

A new study conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health and published in the Bulletin of Insectology has found that two widely used neonicotinoids (pesticides) appear to "significantly harm honey bee colonies over the winter." And the colder the winter, the more severe the harm. The study replicated a 2012 finding that found a link between low doses of imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid, and Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that makes bees abandon their hives and die. A second pesticide called clothianidin has the same effect. The study also found that reduced resistance to mites or parasites because of pesticide exposure is not the issue in CCD, as scientists have suspected. Bees in hives with CCD had "almost identical" levels of pathogen infestation as a group of control hives, most of … [Read more...]

Center for Food Safety Fighting Sulfoxaflor, a Bee Killer

Without bees, many of the foods we regularly eat and enjoy would disappear off the face of the earth because they must be pollinated before they can produce fruit. Honey bees are dying at an alarming rate. Scientists are blaming a group of insecticides called neonicotinoids. Unfortunately, the EPA has decided to register sulfoxaflor, a new neonicotinoid. The Center for Food Safety has filed a legal brief on behalf of many consumer and environmental groups against this decision. The brief states, "scientists have linked the drastic declines in honey bee and other pollinator populations to systemic pesticides known as neonicotinoids. Sulfoxaflor is a systemic pesticide with the same mode of action as neonicotinoids, that EPA determined is 'very highly toxic' to bees." The CFS brief … [Read more...]

Scientists Learn More About Bee Deaths: Fungicides Are a Problem

A new study published in PLOS One shows that scientists are learning more about the mass bee die-off around the world. Scientists have been puzzled about Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that has destroyed 10 million beehives in the past six years. According to this new study, it seems that fungicides in combination, which were thought to be "fairly sale" for honey bees, are increasing their susceptibility to an insect gut pathogen called Nosema ceranae. In other words, chemicals and pathogens are interacting to kill the bees at sub-lethal doses. And while farmers are warned to avoid spraying pesticides when pollinating bees are present, such warnings are not on fungicide labels. In addition, the bees are collecting pollen from weeds and wildflowers near farm fields, which raises concerns … [Read more...]

Where Are the Bees? EPA Approves New Toxic Pesticide

The Colony Collapse Disorder among bees, an alarming development in the food world, has raised concerns about the future of our food supply. Since 1990, more than 25% of the managed honey bee population has disappeared. Without bee pollination, we would lose at least 30% of the world's food crops. Beekeepers first noticed this issue in 2006. Bees were flying away from their hives and never returned. The number of bee hives in this country is now at its lowest point in 50 years. Experts believe this is happening because of a combination of global warming, which changes the timing of flower blooming, pesticide use, habitat loss, and parasites. Pesticides may make bees more susceptible to parasites and disease. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States has been … [Read more...]

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