Tallow Tree Information
CRITICAL BEEKEEPER ACTION ALERT
What’s Happening: APHIS plans to release 2 non-native pests (a moth & a beetle from China) to eventually eradicate the Tallow tree from the USA. Tallow has been in the USA since the 1700s and is an important source of nectar and pollen for up to a million beehives. This will negatively impact all scales of beekeepers nationwide.
Why it Matters: Releasing a beetle from China & a moth (with the potential to jump hosts) to control the most bee friendly tree in the USA is the last thing our honeybees need right now. Tallow provides irreplaceable forage for spring build up in the south, tens of millions of pounds of honey, and accounts for up to 90% of all honey produced in some states. The loss of the tallow crop could permanently impact all scales of beekeepers nationwide as queen, nuc & package producers suffer the loss of critical forage. Operations will go out of business, and nationwide supply will be disrupted. The scale & threat of this impact cannot be overstated.
What You Can Do: This is the last chance we have to stand up against this reckless attempt. Join with thousands of fellow beekeepers, almost every southern State Beekeeping Association, and both major National Beekeepers Associations to comment against the loss of one of the most critical sources of clean forage for bees. Comment as a concerned beekeeper, business owner, beekeeping club, or someone who opposes the intentional release of more insect pests from China.
SAMPLE LETTERS ARE BELOW
APHIS Announces Availability of an Environmental Assessment on Agents to Biologically Control Chinese Tallow
Published: Jan 21, 2021
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is accepting comment on an environmental assessment (EA) that addresses the environmental impacts of releasing the insects Bikasha collaris and Gadirtha fusca to biologically control the invasive Chinese tallow tree (Triadica sebifera) in the contiguous United States.
Chinese tallow is a weed with dark green bark and hairless leaves that grows as a large shrub or a tree reaching up to 60 feet tall. Tallow is one of the most aggressive and widespread invasive weeds in the southeastern United States. This weed, native to China, has been reported primarily in 10 states including North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, and California. Tallow invasions alter species composition, community structure, and ecosystem processes in many native habitats.
After careful research, APHIS scientists have determined that releasing Bikasha collaris (a small beetle) and Gadirtha fusca (a moth) will not have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment. APHIS is making the EA available to the public for review and comment for thirty days starting on January 21, 2021. We will consider all comments that we receive on or before February 22, 2021 at:
http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2020-0035 . *This deadline has been extended to April 23.*
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Beekeeper – Honey Impact Letter
Concerning: Possible Chinese Flea Beetle and Noctuid Moth Introduction to Southern USA
As a Louisiana beekeeper, I want to express my strong opposition to the possible USDA release of the non-native Flea beetle (Bikasha collaris) and Noctuid Moth. Chinese tallow trees provide valuable forage for honey bees and other threatened pollinators. The impact of reduced tallow forage would negatively impact many beekeepers and honey producers in the South. Despite early research, I'm also concerned that the release of this flea beetle (as a non-native insect) could have unanticipated and possibly disastrous consequences to many facets of agriculture and other unanticipated entities.
[ SUGGESTED TO INCLUDE IN YOUR LETTER ]
How this affects me:
I hope that you will consider my views and focus on the overall economic and ecological risks of a decision to release this form of biological control.
City and State:
**Please note** This letter is from 2020 and does not include the Noctuid Moth.
Please make sure that your letter includes the Flea Beetle AND the Noctuid Moth.