Latest News

September 23, 2019

Apimondia Report

Greetings fellow AHPA members!  Hope your summer went well and you got your mite treatments on and your bees look good. I know prices are bad now, we hope some of the work in DC we have done will start paying dividends soon.   In September I represented the AHPA on a panel for honey fraud at Apimondia in Montreal.

The worldwide bee congress had the most talks and roundtables about honey fraud than ever before. They had over 4,000 attendees and was great to visit with many leaders in the bee industry.  The big headline was that 46% of the honey submitted for the honey contest didn't pass the new NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) testing for adulteration.  This coupled with the recent Canadian government report that 22% of the honey on the

shelf in Canada has some form of adulteration speaks to the problem we have here in the U.S also.  At the conference it was announced that even some Chinese beekeepers are submitted their honey for NMR testing to sell at certain Chinese supermarkets.  I also heard an interesting talk on how blockchain technology is now being used for honey fraud.  Stay tuned.  Norberto Garcia from Argentina estimated that world-wide, honey fraud has cost beekeepers 1.1 billion dollars.  Ron Phipps made a strong case for honey varietals just like the wine industry pushes all of their different types of wine.....and how we need to get away from everything being called clover. I totally agree as our water white clover from North Dakota is so much lighter and tastes better than almost all the honey on the shelf that is much darker being called clover.   Dr. Michael Roberts talked about the

"Endangered American Honey Producer" and how it affects pollination and our nation's food supply and environment. 

I attended a workshop by Veta-Pharma who sells the amitraz strips.   Resistance is starting to show internationally to amitraz, but it is much slower than coumaphos and fluvalinate resistance and is largely still effective.

 

The conference was so big and had so many speakers at the same time it was difficult to hear them all, besides talking to vendors in the trade hall.  It was announced that Jeff Pettis is now the president of Apimondia.  Bret Adee at the conference mentioned how ironic it is that a former top USDA researcher is the president now of Apimondia.  Finally, I was amazed just how much technology is being developed for use in the beekeeping industry.  It’s almost an arms-race of which company can make the best remote sensors for hives.   Should be interesting the next few years.  

Chris Hiatt
Vice President,
American Honey Producers Association

USDA NASS resumes data collection for the Colony Loss Survey

Issued Sept. 13, 2019 by the Agricultural Statistics Board of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's, National Agricultural Statistics Service. For more information, contact Travis Averill at (202) 720-3570 or travis.averill@usda.gov.

After a one quarter suspension due to resource constraints, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will resume the Colony Loss Survey with the October 1 reference date. The survey results, which include quarterly data on honey bee colony numbers and death loss, will be released in the August 2020 Honey Bee Colonies report. This report allows USDA, researchers, beekeepers, and other interested parties to compare quarterly losses, additions, and movements and to analyze the data on a state-by-state basis.

For more information about USDA NASS survey programs, including the bee and honey program, visit www.nass.usda.gov/Surveys/Guide_to_NASS_Surveys

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NASS is the federal statistical agency responsible for producing official data about U.S. agriculture and is committed to providing timely, accurate and useful statistics in service to U.S. agriculture.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay)

PO Box 26793
Salt Lake City, UT 84126

Project Apis m. and the National Honey Board Announce a Request for Research Proposals to Support and Enhance Honey Bee Health.

 

Salt Lake City, Utah, September 23, 2019 – Scientific research provides us with the foundation of knowledge we rely on in order to understand honey bee health threats and address them.

 

Project Apis m. and the National Honey Board are requesting research proposals to support and enhance honey bee health. Proposals will be accepted between September 23, 2019 and October 23, 2018. Please visit www.ProjectApism.org/rfps to view the full RFP.

In June, 2016 Project Apis m. (PAm) and the National Honey Board (NHB) announced that PAm would begin administering the NHB Production Research funds in 2017. This collaboration has streamlined efforts to support the beekeeping industry, by merging the NHB research funding opportunities with several other efforts coordinated by PAm. This collaboration allows opportunities to consider a broader spectrum of efforts linked to supporting the industry, to support collaborations and synergy, and harmonize and access deeper resources when necessary for projects that need larger time or money commitments. Merging efforts has also resulted in one less round of work for all of our hardworking bee researchers who write proposals, the scientific reviewers who read them, and selection committees and administrators who see these processes through.

 

The National Honey Board (NHB) is an industry-funded agriculture promotion group that educates consumers about the benefits and uses of honey and honey products. NHB research, marketing and promotional programs are funded by an assessment on domestic and imported honey and are designed to increase awareness and usage of honey by consumers, the foodservice industry and food manufacturers. For more information please visit www.honey.com

 

Project Apis m. (PAm) is the largest non-governmental, non-profit honey bee research organization in the USA. Established by beekeepers and almond growers in 2006, PAm bridges industry needs with efforts by top researchers and scientists and has infused nearly $8 million into honey bee research to support and enhance honey bee health and pollination security. In addition to funding a variety of research projects, PAm programs supplement bee forage in agricultural landscapes, and PAm supports graduate students through scholarships to encourage their pursuit of science-based solutions to honey bee challenges. For more information please visit www.projectapism.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 19, 2019

MEDIA CONTACT:
Will Dempster, (202) 224-9813

 

Hirono, Senate Democrats Press USDA to Justify Critical Honeybee Data Gaps

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) and 22 Senate Democrats wrote to Sonny Perdue, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, expressing concerns over the Department’s National Agricultural Statistics Service’s (NASS) decision to reduce or even suspend the collection of honeybee data across the nation.

 

“In July NASS announced that it would suspend the collection of quarterly data for the annual Honey Bee Colonies report. The Honey Bee Colonies report, first published in 2016, is the only national survey tracking honeybee loss that is overseen by the federal government. It not only provides key data to beekeepers, the honey industry, and farmers whose crops rely on honeybees for pollination but also helps to guide honeybee management decisions and identifies colony health stressors. USDA’s recent announcement that it would resume the Colony Loss Survey, following a one-quarter suspension, to inform the Honey Bee Colonies report is welcome news. However, USDA’s prior actions to suspend or scale back the collection of additional honeybee data remains a concern,” the Senators wrote.

 

The Senators’ efforts are supported by national groups such as the American Honey Producers Association and the American Beekeeping Federation. Local support includes Big Island Bees, an apiary on Hawaii Island that Senator Hirono visited last month to learn more about the importance of honeybee production in Hawaii.

 

“The NASS reports on colony numbers, honey production and pollination contracts are foundational data reports upon which the industry, academia and government agencies base decisions. Without these reports, we can only regress in our understanding of what is happening to the health and vitality of America’s honey bees and America’s beekeeping operations,” said Eric Silva, Federal Policy Counsel, American Honey Producers Association. “As an industry, we need more not less data if we hope to arrive at better solutions for ensuring that honey bees stay alive and thrive to produce high quality honey and pollinate $20 billion in specialty crops annually.”

 

“The American Beekeeping Federation is in full support of USDA’s decision to resume the NASS on the health of managed honey bees,” said Tim May, President of the American Beekeeping Federation and commercial beekeeper. “Honey bees are so important to our country’s agriculture and with their continued declining health it is imperative that the USDA continue to monitor colony health regularly it is critical to the future of U.S. agriculture production.”

 

"Data collection has saved our operation. Without an understanding of the issues we face, we would be left out in the dark on how to best keep our bees alive. Information provided in USDA reports and surveys allows researchers to develop methods that allow us to maintain healthy colonies,” said Garnett Puett, Big Island Bees co-owner and beekeeper. “The more data we have, the better our ability to protect honeybees here in the U.S. and across the globe.”

 

The Senators also requested the following information related to the decision to limit fiscal and program resources:

 

  • The Fiscal Year 2019 funding amount that Congress provided NASS to collect information for the Cost of Pollination Survey and the Honey survey.

  • The amount of money that remained in the budget for the aforementioned surveys at the time that NASS announced the decisions to suspend or scale back each of these surveys.

  • The cost savings incurred by NASS to scale back or suspend these surveys.

  • The current location of the cost savings incurred because of these decisions.

 

Joining Senator Hirono on the letter to Secretary Perdue are U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Angus King (I-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Jack Reed (D-R.I), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)

 

The full text of the letter to Secretary Perdue is available here 

Bees will be used to deliver a new organic pesticide, but will it save them?

The product recently approved by the EPA is intended to help stem the decline of the bee population in the U.S.

 

Sept. 16, 2019, 3:12 AM MDT

By Lucy Sherriff

An organic pesticide recently approved by the EPA and intended to help ease the decline of the bee population in the U.S. will be delivered in a novel way — by bees themselves as they alight on field and flower.

The fungicide Clonostachys rosea CR-7, also known as Vectorite, was created by Bee Vectoring Technologies in Canada for use on “high value” crops, such as strawberries, blueberries, almonds and sunflowers and is set to be rolled out this fall.

Beekeepers in the U.S. have reported a nearly 41 percent loss of their honey bee colonies over the past year, with winter losses the highest ever recorded. Some crops, including blueberries and cherries, are 90 percent dependent on honey bee pollination. Other bee-dependent crops range from carrots and tomatoes to onions and broccoli.

Honey bees pollinate $15 billion in food crops in the U.S. every year. Worldwide, three out of four crops across the globe that provide food for humans depend on pollinators.

The decline of bees has been linked to pesticides, and agricultural land is now 48 times more toxic to them than it was 25 years ago. In 2017, scientists were “alarmed” to discover fungicides, a type of pesticide targeted at mold, are one of the strongest factors linked to steep declines in bumble bees across the U.S.

The EPA was recently sued by environmental justice group Earthjustice after the government agency expanded the uses of “highly toxic” pesticide sulfoxaflor. John Swanson, who runs a sunflower, soybean, corn and wheat farm with his son in northern Minnesota, has been experimenting with CR7 for the past three years as he worked with BVT to carry out trials.

“Most farmers are very concerned about using products that can hurt the environment,” he said.

“Bees are important to the sunflower crop. I have worked with seed production for about 40 years, and bees are the only pollinator for hybrid sunflower seed production."

He said one of the main challenges to sunflower crops is a fungi called sclerotia.

“This fungicide suppresses sclerotia by about 40 percent," he said. "It’s the best product I’ve seen so far.”

Despite efforts to introduce bee-friendly pesticides, some experts say it will not solve the problem because farmers will continue to use insecticides, which are a form of pesticide, to kill crop-eating insects.

BVT uses bumble bees and honey bees to distribute Clonostachys rosea CR-7, a naturally occurring organism that blocks disease. The system, which has been in development for more than a decade, has bees walk through a tray dispenser of inoculating powder before they exit their hive.

The powder clings to the bees’ fur, and spores of the fungicide are dropped on plants as the bees travel. When absorbed by a plant, the fungicide enables it to block disease, such as botrytis in strawberries, which is the most widespread strawberry disease in California.

The EPA says Vectorite is the first EPA-approved pesticide to be delivered by bees.

Ashish Malik, CEO of Bee Vectoring Technologies, said he hopes Vectorcide will reduce, if not negate, the need for chemical fungicides. He said it has been evaluated under stringent criteria to ensure it has no adverse effects on bees.

Other companies have also come up with innovations to protect bee populations. Agribusiness giant Monsanto has developed an RNA interface that aims to kill parasites by disabling their genes, and Eltopia MiteNot monitors bee activity and delivers a blast of heat to stop male mites from fertilizing mite eggs on bee larvae.

The USDA regularly updates its list of permitted organic products, although natural substances are not necessarily less toxic than their synthetic counterparts.

But Malik said his company's product is the first to be delivered by bees and because the application is targeted, far less is needed compared to traditional spray applications. “Bee vectoring is an all-natural approach that simply makes sense, and our vision is to develop this system to become a viable alternative to the inefficient practice of spraying crops globally,” Malik said in an interview.

Commercially managed bumble and honey bees are already used by farmers to pollinate crops.

“We piggyback on this, and are adding an additional value proposition on this already established industry practice,” Malik said.

BVT chose its particular microbial strain, Clonostachys rosea CR-7, because it can quickly colonize plant tissue around the flower of the plant.

“It protects crops against pathogens that enter and attack the crop in or through the flower area," Malik said. "This makes it an ideal choice for delivery using bees.”

Sheila Colla, a conservation biologist at the University of York, said BVT's method does not provide the answer to halting bees’ decline.

“Insecticides are applied to crops to stop pest insects from harming the crop, and I assume these farmers will continue to use insecticides in addition to these fungicides for fungal diseases," she said. “I don't see evidence of this replacing insecticides.”

Colla said using managed bees to deliver the product actually poses a threat to wild bee populations because pathogen spillover from managed bees to wild bees is one of the main threats to declining wild bee populations.

“It is most likely that our species, which have rapidly declined, such as the endangered Rusty-patched bumblebee, likely did so because they were exposed to a novel disease from managed bees,” she said.

While tech might be able to find solutions to issues with applying pesticides and dealing with pests, ensuring the sustainability of agricultural ecosystems will require a more holistic approach, Colla said.

“This includes protecting our native pollinator biodiversity for longterm sustainability," she said. "Biodiversity is resilience, especially under a changing climate.

“By moving our systems to relying more on managed bees, we put all of our eggs in one basket, so to speak," she continued. "If something happened to those few managed species and they collapse, as we saw with the Western bumblebee and with colony collapse disorder in U.S. honeybees, we put our ability to pollinate crops at risk.”

New Tool Improves Beekeepers’ Overwintering Odds and Bottom Line

By Kim Kaplan
September 18, 2019

TUCSON, ARIZONA, September 18, 2019—A new tool from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) can predict the odds that honey bee colonies overwintered in cold storage will be large enough to rent for almond pollination in February. Identifying which colonies will not be worth spending dollars to overwinter can improve beekeepers' bottom line.

Beekeepers have been losing an average of 30 percent of overwintered colonies for nearly 15 years. It is expensive to overwinter colonies in areas where winter temperatures stay above freezing. So a less expensive practice of overwintering bee colonies in cold storage is becoming popular.

This new tool calculates the probability of a managed honey bee colony surviving the winter based on two measurements: the size of colony and the percent varroa mite infestation in September, according to ARS entomologist Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman, who headed the team. DeGrandi-Hoffman is research leader of the ARS Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson, Arizona.

By consulting the probability table for the likelihood of a colony having a minimum of six frames of bees—the number required for a colony to be able to fulfill a pollination contract for almond growers come February--beekeepers can decide in September if it is economically worthwhile to overwinter the colony in cold storage.

"The size of a colony in late summer or early fall can be deceiving with respect to its chances of making it through the winter. Even large colonies with more than 12 frames of bees (about 30,000 bees) have less than a 0.5 probability (50 percent chance) of being suitable for almond pollination if they have 5 or more mites per 100 bees in September," DeGrandi-Hoffman said.

Even with this cost-cutting help, the research team found that revenue from pollination contracts by itself is not likely to provide a sustainable income to a beekeeper anymore. They followed 190 honey bee colonies and recorded all costs.

Considerable resources were expended to feed colonies and on varroa mite and pathogen control. Costs were about $200 per colony.

Almond pollination contracts paid an average of $190 per colony in 2019.

One way for beekeepers to remain economically viable as a business, is to produce a honey crop from their bees. This is most often facilitated by moving colonies to the Northern Great Plains where bees can forage for nectar and pollen from a wide variety flowering plants.

"The situation has changed a lot. It is more expensive to manage honey bees with costs to feed colonies when flowers are not available and to control varroa mites. And it is more difficult to find places for honey bee colonies that provide the diverse nutrition they need," said DeGrandi-Hoffman. "Pollination revenue alone is just not adequate for beekeepers to stay in business. But we need beekeepers because managed bees are a lynchpin in agricultural production today."

Successfully using cold storage will help beekeepers' bottom line, but we are really just learning what the best management practices should be with cold storage," she added.

We asked readers which species they’d save—here are the top responses

Is yours on the list?

PUBLISHED May 30, 2019

If you could dedicate your life to saving one species, which would you choose?

National Geographic posed the question to its readers on Facebook, and the most common answer was somewhat surprising: bees.

The insects beat out (by far) other charismatic animals, including elephants, tigers, whales, and polar bears, which round out the top five in that order.

People commented on just how important these insects are for ecosystems and its inhabitants: For instance three-fourths of flowering plants and about a third of crops rely on pollinators like honeybees to reproduce. As one reader wrote: “If bees go, we all go.”

A recent review published in the journal Biological Conservation found that nearly half of the bee species in the world are threatened with extinction. Seven species of Hawaiian yellow-faced bee, decimated by invasive species and habitat loss, were the first bees ever to be added to the U.S. Endangered Species List, in 2016.

Habitat loss drives bee loss, as well as pollution, which includes contamination from pesticides such as neonicotinoids. (Related: Why insect populations are plummeting—and why it matters.)

The second most popular result was elephants, which people appreciate for their intelligence and large family groups. Indeed, the animals are some of the smartest in the animal kingdom, and have extremely complex social interactions that allow them to form societies with different cultures. They can also distinguish age and ethnicity in human voices and use tools.

What Food-Related Causes Do U.S. Consumers Care About Today?

CPG, FMCG & Retail | 03-06-2019

A conscious awakening has occurred within the U.S. consumer packaged goods (CPG) and food grocery landscape. Shoppers are increasingly adopting a “healthy for me, healthy for we” mindset and aligning their personal beliefs with the products they purchase. Across communities and organizations in the U.S., consumers overall awareness and interest in reading labels is on the rise. This food and label literacy reflects shoppers’ desire to be more conscious and to make more informed product decisions and is fueling the demand for greater transparency.

For companies to successfully fulfill this demand, they need to be in tune to what causes and concerns consumers care about. Why? Because what consumers care about today will fuel the transparency claims of tomorrow. So what do consumers care about? And what topics are currently top-of-mind or rising in ranks? A recent Nielsen study identified 16 hot topics related to today’s food/grocery industry and noted Americans’ level of awareness and interest in these topics. The research showed that social awareness varied widely, with no one topic tipping the majority.

CONSUMERS’ LOVE FOR LOCAL ENDURES

Within this study, buying local had the highest consumer awareness, topping the chart at 46%. It is clear that consumers are aware of the importance of buying local and continue to show a hunger for hometown, locally grown products, especially for items such as produce, baked goods and eggs.    

Interestingly, on the other end of the scale, just 13% of consumers were aware of the topic of carbon footprint of shipping and transporting foods long distances.  

Source: Nielsen Omnibus Survey, December 2018

Interest in Transparency Claims Is Growing—Particularly Among Younger Consumers

Beyond general awareness, the study’s findings reveal that consumers are showing interest in learning more about bee health, pesticides and antibiotic use claims. The same study dove deeper into understanding consumers’ level of interest by asking those respondents that were aware of a topic what their interest was in learning more. Nearly every claim tipped the majority scale with only two falling below: livestock’s impact on climate change (49%) and fair trade (48%). Younger shoppers lead the way in wanting more information with Millennials and Gen X having the most interest in learning more about all but two topics—trade tariffs and sugar reduction, which the Greatest Generation had more interest in.

 

A peek into the transparency claims of tomorrow

Source: Nielsen Omnibus Survey, December 2018

Are shoppers putting dollars toward their interests?

Aligned with their personal beliefs, consumers are purchasing products that matter most to them. Looking at the top 10 topics of interest to consumers in the same study, dollar sales of locally grown/sourced (3.6%), no added sugar (1.8%), free from GMO (7.8%) and antibiotic free (3.6%) products were all up during the 52-week period ending Dec 29. 2018. Interestingly though, despite consumers’ awareness of the decline in bee populations, dollar sales of bee byproducts such as food items with honey in them have grown by 39% over the past year.

As consumers’ interests continue to diverge, it is critical to understand what topics are truly the most important to your consumer, category and brand. The loudest voices are not always the most numerous and dedicated research to understand their awareness, interest and motivation to change is key table stakes for companies’ business strategies.

https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/article/2019/what-food-related-causes-do-us-consumers-care-about-today/

September 9, 2019

Senator visits beekeeper, blasts research cuts

By Sarah Eames Staff Writer
Sep 5, 2019

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., samples honey from a jar of honeycomb produced by Chuck Kutik, right, owner of Kutik’s Everything Bees in Oxford, where Schumer made an appearance Thursday to pledge his commitment to restoring federal funding for collecting statistics and research on honey bees.Sarah Eames | The Daily Star

OXFORD — In an appearance Thursday at Kutik’s Everything Bees, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, pledged to advocate to restore federal funding for honey bee research and data collection.

“I am here to tell all the beekeepers, farmers and all the related auxiliary industries that depend on our bees that I’m going to do everything I can in the upcoming budget to restore this money,” Schumer said. “If there was ever a place that would be penny wise and pound foolish to cut this money, which is very small in terms of its benefit, it’s here, and we’re going to stop it from happening.”

Chuck Kutik, owner of Kutik’s Everything Bees, said the United States Department of Agriculture announced in July it would stop collecting data for its honey bee colonies report, which is released annually and tracks active bee colonies, new colonies and lost ones.

With the Oct. 1 budget deadline approaching, Schumer decried the proposed cut, calling the decision “under-the-radar” and demanding the USDA restore funding and commit additional resources to protect the country’s bee population.

“We discovered this — it was my staff that worked with some of the folks around here who discovered that they cut this money out,” Schumer said.

“Our hives are collapsing,” he continued. “In the 1940s, there were 6 million honey bees; now there are about 2.5 million. In New York state alone, we have lost since 2018 — one year — 14,700 bee colonies.”

“We need to know why our honey bee population is declining,” Schumer said. “It’s a mystery.”

Kutik said fungicides are “generally considered safe and bee-friendly, but there’s no evidence to prove one way or another what they do to the young brood inside the hive — that really needs to be studied.”

“Agriculture is such an important industry, not just for Chenango County, but for all of New York state,” Schumer said.

Bees pollinate $1.2 billion worth of crops in New York state annually, Schumer said, noting the role pollinators play in the combined $132 million generated by agriculture in Broome and Chenango counties each year.

“There’s lots of things that go into agriculture. We’re familiar with some of them — land, climate and water,” he continued. “But for a large part of New York agriculture, which is roots, vegetables and specialty crops, we need honey bees because they do the pollinating — they are crucial.”

“Every piece of fruit that you eat, every vegetable that you eat, every nut that you eat, has to have been pollinated, in most cases, by honey bees,”

said Ken Smith, executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chenango County. “The honey bee colonies have been collapsing for reasons that are not really well-understood. Colonies die and evaporate — it’s been a terrible problem.”

Schumer observed that honey production is “on the rise,” highlighting local honey from Kutik’s and ice cream made with it by Gilligan’s Island in Sherburne.

“It’s important to protect our beekeepers because they’re essential to agriculture,” he said. “Take apples — we’re the second-biggest apple state in the country. Without our honey bees, we wouldn’t have any apples.”

 

Although the USDA did not publicly justify cutting its honey bee research funds, Schumer suggested that the “bean-counters” dismissed the need for the funding as “unimportant or frivolous.”

He also suggested that the federal government is denying the effects of climate change and seeks to eliminate the scientific evidence that would be revealed by such research.

“The most nefarious explanation — one possibility — is that some pesticides and other kinds of products that are put into the ground have killed off the bees,” he said. “Speculation could be that one of these pesticide producers or the pesticide industry got to the USDA and said ‘stop this.’”

“No explanation is a good one, and none justifies the small cost and enormous benefit,” Schumer said. “When we know what’s happening, we can figure it out. Without this information, we’re lost.”

AHPA Note-Chuck Kutik is an AHPA Executive Board member

PRESS RELEASE

NATIONAL HONEY BOARD CELEBRATES HONEY MONTH

WITH FREE HONEY LOCATOR LISTING

 

Longmont, Colorado, September 4, 2019 – The National Honey Board (NHB) is pleased to announce it is celebrating National Honey Month with free listings for the Honey Locator.

The Honey Locator is a valuable search tool that is integrated into the NHB's website, www.honey.com. This interactive search tool helps consumers, foodservice professionals, bakers, brewers, distillers, and many more, find honey companies and suppliers to purchase honey from. This tool includes ways to search for specific honey varietals, as well as different forms of honey, like honeycomb or whipped honey. Honey purchasers can also search for honey from a particular location, such as their home state.

“We are excited to be able to offer the industry an opportunity to list their company on the NHB’s Honey Locator throughout the month of September, free of charge. We hope that the honey industry will take advantage of this useful tool so that potential customers will be able to find what they’re looking for when purchasing honey.”  Margaret Lombard, CEO

 

For further information about Honey Locator and to see if your company qualifies to be listed, visit the Board's website, https://www.honey.com/honey-locator/instructions.

 ABOUT NATIONAL HONEY BOARD

The NHB is an industry-funded agriculture promotion group that works to educate consumers about the benefits and uses for honey and honey products through research, marketing and promotional programs. The Board's work, funded by an assessment on domestic and imported honey, is designed to increase the awareness and usage of honey by consumers, the foodservice industry and food manufacturers. The ten-member-Board, appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, represents producers (beekeepers), packers, importers and a marketing cooperative. For more information, visit www.honey.com

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FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

For Media Inquiries and Press Information:

Jessica Schindler | jessica@nhb.org | (303) 776-2337

 

NATIONAL HONEY BOARD

PO Box 2189

Longmont, CO 80502

Phone: (303) 776-2337

www.honey.com

2019 North American Mite-A-Thon

THE MITE-A-THON IS NOW LIVE AND WILL RUN UNTIL SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2019!

Mite-A-Thon is a tri-national effort to collect mite infestation data and to visualize Varroa infestations in honey bee colonies across North America within a two week window. All beekeepers can participate, creating a rich distribution of sampling sites in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Their Varroa monitoring data will be uploaded to www.mitecheck.com.

The parasitic mite, Varroa destructor (Varroa), and the viruses it vectors is a significant driver of this honey bee colony mortality. Yet, indicators suggest that many beekeepers are not monitoring honey bee colony Varroa infestations and therefore not able to connect infestation to colony loss.

OBJECTIVE: 1) To raise awareness about honey bee colony Varroa infestations in North America through effective monitoring methods. 2) Management strategies will be made available for discussion within bee organizations utilizing Mite-A-Thon partner developed information and outreach materials.

DATE: Starting the week of September 7, 2019, with a practice test during summer 2019

PARTICIPANTS: All beekeepers in North America are encouraged to participate

COST: There is no cost. You can create your own test materials or kits can be purchased online and at your local bee supply store.

OUTREACH: Promotion of Mite-A-Thon will be through local bee clubs, state beekeeping organizations, and national associations (see partners for examples)

DATA COLLECTION: Participants will monitor the level of mites (number of mites per 100 bees) using a standardized protocol utilizing two common methods of assessment (alcohol wash or powdered sugar roll) and then enter data, including location, total number of hives, number of hives tested, local habitat, and the number of Varroa mites counted from each hive. The published information will not identify individual participants.

SPONSORS: Sponsorships are being solicited to underwrite costs and grants, as necessary.

CONTACT: Miteathon@pollinator.org or 415-362-1137

TO DO: Determine your preferred method of testing for mites and commit to a day for testing, either individually or through beekeeping organizations, and report your data (see above).

CLICK HERE: https://www.pollinator.org/miteathon

Ninth Circuit Asked to Save Bees by Swatting EPA Revival of Pesticide

MARIA DINZEO, September 6, 2019

Ninth Circuit Asked to Save Bees by Swatting EPA Revival of Pesticide

MARIA DINZEO, September 6, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Beekeepers asked the Ninth Circuit on Friday to block the federal government’s approval of the unrestricted use of the pesticide sulfoxaflor, claiming it will decimate bee populations throughout the United States.

Michele Colopy, a beekeeper and program director of the Pollinator Stewardship Council, said sulfoxaflor is highly toxic to bees and other pollinators. “If a bee is sprayed with it, it will kill them,” she said by phone Friday.

Plants growing near cropland will also absorb and retain residue from the pesticide during aerial

spraying.

“If they’re doing aerial applications, it makes that pollen toxic and will kill all the bees when they take it back to the hive,” Colopy said.

It can also harm the hive’s reproductive success if fed to the queen.

Colopy added that ironically, sulfoxaflor also kills beneficial insects like ladybugs that eat crop-destroying pests.

The appellate court ordered sulfoxaflor removed from the market once before over concerns about its toxicity to bees and other pollinators. In 2015, the court found the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s initial approval of the pesticide “was based on flawed and limited data.”

Manufactured by Dow AgroSciences – now Corteva Agriscience – sulfoxaflor was reinstated by the EPA in 2016 with significant restrictions to minimize its exposure to pollinators, by limiting spraying on crops attractive to bees.

But in July, the agency announced it would remove previous restrictions and allow new uses of sulfoxaflor on crops like alfalfa, corn, oats and sorghum. It also added citrus, cotton, cucurbits, soybeans and strawberry back to the list.

“All regulatory data requirements for assessing pollinators have now been addressed and the EPA has adequate data to demonstrate that there will be no unreasonable adverse effects to honeybees resulting from the expanded registration of sulfoxaflor,” the EPA said in a memorandum.

Dismayed by the decision, organizations representing the honey and beekeeping industries have again petitioned the Ninth Circuit to vacate sulfoxaflor’s registration.

In a statement following its July announcement, the EPA said the pesticide is an effective and necessary tool for preventing crop loss from troublesome pests like aphids and the tarnished plant bug lygus.

“Growers may have seen substantial losses (up to 50% for certain crops) due to pests that can now be treated with sulfoxaflor,” the EPA said.

But Colopy said it is pollinators, not pesticides, that save crops.

“Sulfoxaflor is a new chemical that has been manufactured by man. We have all fed generations of people before sulfoxaflor was released. This continual fearmongering that we have to have pesticides to grow food forgets the history of farming. We are not going to starve,” she said, adding, “Pollination increases crop yield, not pesticides.”

The Pollinator Stewardship Council joins the American Beekeeping Federation and is represented by Earthjustice. Its petition follows a similar one filed last month by Environmental groups Center for Food Safety and Center for Biological Diversity.

The EPA said it does not comment on pending litigation.

July 16, 2019

JOINT RELEASE: Partner Agencies Release Insect to Control Invasive Brazilian Peppertree

Biocontrol part of ongoing partnership to fight invasive species and protect America's Everglades

A joint partnership of state and federal agencies released an insect at Tree Tops Park in Davie today. The insect, known as thrips, was reared to combat the invasive Brazilian peppertree that is threatening the native ecosystem in South Florida. This insect is the latest biocontrol introduced to combat invasive plants as part of ongoing Everglades restoration efforts. Click on the image to learn more about Brazilian peppertree, thrips and other biocontrols.

DAVIE, Fla. - Several local and federal agencies today took another step in protecting America's Everglades by releasing an insect reared to combat the invasive Brazilian peppertree. The insects, known as thrips, were reared as part of a joint partnership between the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the National Park Service, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) to combat invasive plants in South Florida's ecosystem.

 

"Floridians have invested billions to restore and protect our Everglades for future generations," said SFWMD Governing Board Member Ron Bergeron at the thrips release event today at Tree Tops Park in Davie. "Using biological controls like this insect to control the spread of invasive plants is using the tools Mother Nature herself has given us to protect that investment in the Everglades."

 

Officials from several partner agencies at the thrips release event discussed how biological methods like the use of insects are being used to manage the spread of invasive plants in South Florida such as melaleuca and lygodium. 

 

"Agricultural and natural systems are overrun with non-native invasive species, costing the public hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Finding sustainable, cost-effective and safe methods of pest control is badly needed," said Dr. Gregory Wheeler, Research Entomologist at the USDA Agricultural Research Service. "Our goal is to develop biological solutions to weed out problems in natural and agricultural systems."

 

At today's event, officials released dozens of vials containing thrips (Pseudophilothrips ichini) insects that are native to Brazil and feed on the Brazilian peppertree. Officials anticipate this insect will reduce the growth of this invasive plant by 80 percent without negatively impacting native Florida plants and wildlife. 

 

"University of Florida researchers worked as a team to study and gain approval for the release of specialized insects that will manage the invasive Brazilian peppertree," said Ronald Cave, Professor and Director for UF/IFAS Indian River Research and Education Center. 

 

Pedro Ramos, Superintendent of Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks added, "The invasive species problem we face threatens the delicate and important Everglades ecosystem. Efforts like this are critical in our fight to ensure our environment will be healthy and sustainable in the long term."   

 

First introduced to Florida in the 1800s as an ornamental tree, the Brazilian peppertree is one of the most aggressive, non-native plants in Florida, with more than 700,000 acres statewide, including portions of America's Everglades, impacted. Brazilian peppertree creates a dense canopy that crowds out native plants and creates poor habitat for native wildlife.

 

After the release event, officials also toured the USDA's Invasive Plant Research Laboratory at 3225 College Road in Davie. This facility was built by the USACE and is jointly operated by SFWMD in cooperation with the USDA. The lab rears insects such as the thrips that are successfully controlling invasive species in South Florida.

 

"Invasive species management is a key part of Everglades Restoration," said Lt. Col. Jennifer Reynolds, USACE Deputy Commander for South Florida. "The construction of the research and quarantine facility was the first project component of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan to be completed. The ability to conduct research, rear biocontrol insects and pass the rigorous process for release approval is critically important. Without the tools to manage invasive species, such as the biocontrols we are releasing today, we cannot accomplish Everglades Restoration."

  

Kipp Frohlich, Director of the FWC's Division of Habitat and Species Conservation, added, "The FWC is proud to be a part of this project and we're dedicated to continued work with our partners to find innovative ways to eliminate invasive nonnative plants in our state."

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Learn more about Brazilian peppertree, thrips and other biocontrols

After Bears Kept Coming To This Man’s Bee Farm To Steal Honey, He Decided To Turn Them Into Honey Tasters

Andželika Jasevičiūtė
BoredPanda staff

Bears simply love honey and it’s not surprising that they go to extreme lengths to get some of it. In fact, they love it so much that they can’t resist raiding beehives and cause a true headache for many beekeepers.  These adorable apex predators are very common guests at many bee farms, yet they are very unwelcome as the damages they cause are sometimes worth thousands. However, many beekeepers, such as Ibrahim Sedef, try their best to keep them away from beehives.

According to DHA, Ibrahim Sedef lives in Trabzon, Turkey, and is an agricultural engineer who works in beekeeping. For quite some time, Sedef has been struggling to prevent lickerish bears from trashing the hives in an attempt to get that precious honey.

To protect the hives, he tried to secure them by putting metal cages around them. Sedef also tried leaving food such as bread, fruit, and honey in an attempt to prevent bears from treating themselves to snacks directly from the hives. However, that didn’t work well and some hives still got damaged.

So, the beekeeper decided to learn more about the bears’ movement and behavior. He did that by installing photo trap cameras to track the bears roaming his bee farm.

While trying to figure out how to outsmart these greedy animals, Sedef came up with a brilliant idea.

He decided to turn these bears into honey tasters because they clearly have a good taste for honey.

The beekeeper set up a table with 4 kinds of honey for the bears to feast on. He wasn’t disappointed with the result. As it turns out, bears have quite an expensive taste.

Sedef told DHA that bears were drawn by the smell of Anzer honey as they always tasted it first, sometimes without even touching the cherry blossom honey.

2 pounds of the famous Turkish honey, Anzer, sells for more than $300.

Watch the Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ov5dEBgRkQ&feature=youtu.be

American Honey
Producers Association

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Cassie Cox
Executive Secretary
PO Box 435
Mendon, UT 84325
office:281-900-9740
cassie@ahpanet.com