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May 14, 2013 ABJ Extra
Please read and circulate the attached letter. Thank you for your help in funding these great projects!
However, at this time we need an infusion of unrestricted funds to continue our comprehensive research program. We especially want to fund recent proposals received, including Dr. Reed Johnson’s Dimilin research ($134,640), Maryann Frazier’s pesticide cost share program ($15,000), Dr. Brian Johnson’s IVDS validation work ($34,755), Dr. Jonathan Engelsma’s Hive Scale Network ($22,140), and Dr. David Tarpy’s Nexcelom Vision System to process BIP samples ($29,480). These projects total $237,000.
We are requesting your help in circulating this letter so that we can obtain the needed funding for these projects. We have charted a strong course for Project Apis m’s future. Please talk to your contacts about PAm and what PAm is doing for the honey bee industry.
Donations can be made to:
Project Apis m.
P.O. Box 3157
Chico, CA 95927
Or Online: www.ProjectApism.org. See “Donate Now” button (Paypal will take 3.2% of these donations).
May 13, 2013 ABJ Extra #2
Comments on the E.U. Restriction on Neonics
by Eric Mussen
From March/April 2013 University of California at Davis, Bee News
For many years, beekeepers and environmentally interested individuals have expressed the opinion that the use of neonicotinoid insecticides (“neonics”) have interfered with the ability of honey bees and native bees to conduct their life activities properly. Since laboratory studies have detailed the disruptive effect on those insects, it was suggested that the same things were happening in the field. Unanticipated losses of formerly strong honey bee colonies, and easily observable decreases in bumble bee sightings, correlated well with increased use of neonics.
In Europe, registration and use of various pesticides are based on the “precautionary principle.” Basically, that means that a chemical is rated on its innate toxicity to honey bees and other non-targets, similar to the requirements of the U.S. EPA. Then, a second component enters the equation: likelihood of honey bees and non-targets to become exposed to the toxicant. This second factor is considered by EPA, but not as strongly as it is in Europe. If the sum of the toxicity and likely exposure is large enough, then the European Commis-sion can restrict or prohibit the product’s use. A report published by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) concluded that the neonicotinoid pesticides posed a “high acute risk” to pollinators, including honey bees, but that a definitive connection between the chemicals and loss of colonies in the field remained to be established.
The complaint against the neonics was brought to the European Commission a while ago, and the members originally voted that not enough scientific information existed to warrant a ban on the products. In the following appeal, the members voted to allow the Commission to prepare new restrictions concerning the use of the products. The restrictions are intended to accomplish two goals: 1) prevent large-scale environmental contamination by dust from agricultural planting equipment and 2) reduce exposure of honey bees and other flower-visiting insects to residues of neonics in nectars and pollens.
Beginning in December of 2013 or sooner, no more neonic-treated crop seeds will be sold or planted in the E.U. Neonics will be withdrawn from use by the general public. Neonics still may be used on plants that are not attractive to honey bees, or other foraging bee species, as forage plants (such as winter cereals).
What might we expect to see as results from this large-scale experiment? First, if large-scale contamination of the air through which bees are flying, contamination of weeds in agricultural fields, along the borders of the fields, and out in the environment no longer happens, then we would anticipate no longer hearing complaints about honey bees and bee colonies dying shortly after the plantings have taken place. Second, we might anticipate the problems of colony population depletion, sometimes to the point of colony loss, proposed to be due to exposure of bees to residues of neonics in nectars and pollens, would no longer be seen.
However, it is not likely to be that simple. The substantial losses, closely following neonic-coated seed planting, might drop off. But, other colony population problems may not become better for some time. Analyses of residues of pesticides in beeswax, stored pollens, and bees themselves in the U.S. suggest that there are myriad chemicals stored in the hives that are likely to be impacting honey bee physiology negatively already, including a few detections of very low levels of neonics. Since the neonics tend to persist in soil and woody perennials for prolonged periods of time, it is likely that bee exposure at low levels will persist. If the dosage levels of neonics that induce physiological impacts on honey bees are below current levels of detection (LOD), then it will be extremely difficult to determine this effect.
Additionally, removal of neonics from a significant segment of the market suggests that other compounds are likely to be substituted to control pests currently kept subdued by the neonics. Some of the older chemistries that no longer are available were losing their effectiveness against the pests due to selection for resistance, anyway. They are likely to be replaced by newer chemistries that may or may not have detrimental effects on exposed pollinators, including honey bees. The inadequacies in the U.S. to demand definitive, long-term studies on honey bee brood development and adult longevity, following exposure to sublethal doses of the compounds, means that we may find things will not be a whole lot better when we remove uses of neonics from our registrations. It will be interesting to watch this experiment unfold from a distance.
May 13, 2013 ABJ Extra
Canadian Government Considers Relaxing
1987 Ban on U.S. Honey Bees
Due to the long, harsh winter experienced across Canada, many beekeepers are finding a larger than average percentage of winterkill in their apiaries. Not all numbers are known at this time as some beekeepers still cannot access their hives, however unofficial reports are as high as 50% winterkill. As a result, we have received numerous questions regarding the importation of packaged bees to replenish the hives.
Packaged bees may be sourced from Australia, New Zealand and Chile. Conditions for their importation can be found on our Automated Import Reference System (AIRS). Honeybee packages however, cannot be sourced from the US. A prohibition order was put in place in 1987 and upheld by a full-risk assessment performed in 2003. As per Section 160 of the Health of Animals Regulations, the likelihood that imported honeybee packages from the US would not, or would not be likely to, result in the introduction into Canada, or the spread within Canada, of a vector, disease or toxic substance was assessed. At that time, the greatest risk for importation was Varroa mites resistant to treatment, followed by American foulbrood, Africanized honeybee and small hive beetle. Due to the winterkill experienced by the Industry this year, the requests for the importation of honeybee packages from the US have increased significantly. As a result, the CFIA is currently updating the 2003 risk assessment. A full evaluation of the disease risk associated with imports will be conducted before any changes can be made to the current import conditions for honeybee packages from the US.
We would like to ask you, as the CVO of your province, to please share this information with your industry.
Dr. Francine Lord
Director, Animal Import/Export Division
Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer of Canada