Items of interest to beekeepers March 20 2017

Supplied by Fran Bach Editor of both WAS and Washington State Beekeepers newsletters





Beekeepers can work with growers and applicators to find alternatives to applying bee toxic pesticides, as well as problematic tank mixes of pesticides, while bees are on-site.  A variety of smartphone apps are available for download to Apple or Android phones.  Some smartphone apps are for specific pesticides registered in Canada or the USA, so make sure you review the app features for applicability in Canada or the United States.  A few apps may charge a subscription fee since they have to continually update the data for pesticide labels and chemical registration, so check out any fine print before you purchase an app.

The National Pesticide Information Center  (NPIC) offers a variety of apps from pesticide label information to reporting pesticide incidents.

Mobile Access to Pesticides and Labels (MAPL)

“Search for pesticide products by name, site, pest, EPA Registration Number, registrant, or search for a combination of these. For example, search for products registered for use in apple orchards against fire blight, or products with citronella that can be used on horses. When you find the right product, you can bookmark the results, bring up the federal label (pdf), and browse the product’s ingredients, registered use sites, signal word, formulation, and more. This web app is optimized for mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, and works on desktop computers as well.”

Herbicide Properties Tool (HPT)

The HPT is a “collection of herbicide ingredient properties presented with references as a decision-making aid. Decision-makers may need to compare herbicide active ingredients according to their water solubility, half-life, sorption potential, and other factors. These properties can help to predict an herbicide’s movement through soil, water, and air.”

NPIC Product Research Online (NPRO)

“Designed for professionals using desktop computers, this tool performs powerful product searches and is lightning quick! Search for pesticide products by name, EPA registration number, manufacturer, use site, active ingredient, pest, product type, formulation, signal word, or a combination of these. Refine previous searches using additional criteria, and view individual product information in a simple format. See synonyms for active ingredients and follow them directly to EPA’s ChemSearch related science and regulations. Product details and federal product labels can be bookmarked or shared.”

Pesticide Education & Search Tool (PEST)

“Designed for the general public as they search for pest control solutions, this app brings together product search functions and new pest control information, written by NPIC. Users are prompted to pick a pest or pick a product. When you pick a pest, you’ll find a bullet list of action items grounded in integrated pest management (IPM). When you pick a product, you’ll find a one-stop interface with options to view the formulation, ingredients, the signal word, and the pests controlled by the product. Interpretive statements make the technical information easy to understand.”

Pesticide and Local Services (PALS)

This app allows you to “ Find pals in your state to help you 1) report pesticide incidents, 2) get pest control advice, 3) learn about area-wide pest control in your neighborhood, 4) get licensed to apply pesticides or contact pesticide law enforcement professionals, 5) determine whether pesticide poisonings are “reportable” in your state, 6) comply with occupational standards and select appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment), and 7) dispose of unwanted pesticides.”

NPIC Apps are available at http://

The Pest Smart™  app created by Pollinator Stewardship Council Science Advisor, Dr. Susan Kegley, has information for “over 18,000 pesticide products. “Find the Hazard Tier ranking you need to make informed decisions about pesticide use.  The PRI Pest Smart™ app ranks each pesticide product utilizing a three-level Hazard Tier based on potential for health and environmental impacts.”

-Hazard Tier 1 = High Hazard
-Hazard Tier 2 = Moderate Hazard
-Hazard Tier 3 = Low Hazard

With this app “you can quickly find hazard-ranked pesticide products to manage pests in commercial buildings, on landscape and turf, or in the home and garden. The Pesticide Research Institute (PRI) Pest Smart™ mobile app is a new user-friendly tool for LEED professionals, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) professionals, and anyone with an interest in finding information about pesticide products, including identifying the least-toxic products.”

A user of the Pest Smart™  app will be able to:
“-Conveniently look-up pesticide product information on your mobile phone while on the job, in the store, or at home.

-Quickly verify the eligibility of a pesticide product for use in the LEED v4-certified Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program.

-Search by product name or registration number.

-Search by pest to find pesticide products that target common household and garden pests like ants, fleas, cockroaches, lawn weeds and aphids.

-Compare products and find least-toxic alternatives to streamline decision-making.

-Link to PRI’s Pest Management Bulletins to learn about low-impact methods of pest control that minimize pesticide use and exposure.”  The Pest Smart™ app only provides information on pesticide products available in the United States.  For more information about this app go to

“Grow Smart, Grow Safe® began as a Local Hazardous Waste Management Program publication in 1998, it went online at  and is now available free at the iTunes App Store.”

“Use Grow Smart, Grow Safe® to choose a safer garden product. The app lists over 1000 lawn and garden chemicals and natural gardening tips.  It’s designed to help Pacific Northwest gardeners find safer products and learn more about what they already use.  Gardening without pesticides is always the safest choice. In Alternatives you’ll find great ideas on how to deal with those pesky pests without using pesticides and tips on creating a beautiful, healthy yard and garden. Your health, and your children’s and pets, can be impacted by pesticide use. Pesticides can have lasting impacts on the environment, fish, wildlife, birds and bees. Natural yard care, natural lawn care and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) give in-depth information to help you learn more.”  More information is available at  and on the app store

Pesticide Labels is an app allowing  “users to search for labels registered for use in Canada by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA). Users can search by:

• Product Name
• Active Ingredient
• Registrant Name
• Full Label Contents

The results will provide details about the product, along with a PDF version of the label. Users can save their searches, as well as download the labels as ‘Favourites’ for offline access.” For more information go to http://

Another smartphone app for Canada is Pest Manager by the Grain Farmers of Ontario.  “Pest Manager allows you to identify, map and find integrated management options for common weeds, insects and disease in corn, soybean and cereal crops. A user can also look up information on a pest and specific pesticide.”  For more about this app go to

Beekeepers need to have information at their fingertips to work with growers and applicators to select the best pesticides for crop pest management and to protect honey bees.  Farmers want to have their crop pollinated and protect it from pests.  Beekeepers want to protect their livestock so they have a strong field force to fully pollinate a crop.  Most importantly, beekeepers want to be able to have healthy honey bee livestock to pollinate the next farmers’ crop.  Working together beekeepers and farmers can protect crops, increase crop yields through pollination, and ensure sustainable agriculture for the farmer, the beekeeper, and the next farmer and their crop.



Dear Cover Crop Planters!

Many of you have asked whether we are ever looking for field sites for research. Ecdysis Foundation (Blue Dasher Farm) is interested in conducting a farmer-participatory research project of how cover crops affect insect communities.
Over-arching aim is to explore how cover crop diversity affects insect communities. More specific questions we are asking include:

How does cover crop diversity correlate with insect diversity?
Do cover crops and cover diversity inhibit pest populations?
Which species of cover crop are positively associated with predators and pollinators?

We are looking for fields with a limited set of traits

At least 10 acres in size
Fall planted cover crop, with spring growth (we will be sampling before mid-summer).
Annual cropping systems.
No insecticide sprays in the past 12 months.

What would you have to do to participate in this project?

Answer some questions regarding the site history of the sampled field.
Conduct a sweep sample in your cover crop (we send the gear).
Take a photo of the vegetation with your phone.
Send us the bag of frozen bugs and images.

To process these samples, we will need to hire help and purchase supplies. So we are asking $200 per field to participate in this study (if you can’t afford it, please let us know).

What does this project provide you?

• We will send you the equipment and supplies need to conduct the experiment.

• You will receive an inventory of the beneficial and pest insects on the cover crop phase of your operation. This can be used in decision making regarding pest management inputs in your operation.

• Your datapoint will be one of a large network that can help you and other farmers to make decisions to optimize the profitability of your operation, know what other farmers are doing in your region as far as cover cropping practices, and help form the scientific basis of state and national policies surrounding cover crops and conservation practices.

From a scientific standpoint, this project will be a game-changer. All results of the project will be anonymous, but publicly available. We have never had such a comprehensive dataset of information regarding plant diversity and the function of agroecosystems. And this is just the start. This type of research project (with strong farmer involvement, scale of the project, real-world farming systems) has not really been conducted before, so we will all learn together as we go.

Space is limited for 2017, so please sign up early. We are hoping to ship supplies prior to the 2017 planting season.

If you have questions, thoughts, or concerns, please contact me.

Dr. Jonathan Lundgren
Director of Ecdysis Foundation and the Blue Dasher Farm Initiative



Scientists have just decoded another bit of honey bee speech, and the newfound “word” the bees are buzzing is “whoop.”

In a study published in the journal PLOS One, researchers with Nottingham Trent University (NTU) have learned that a particular honey bee vibration signal long presumed to be a warning about danger outside the hive might also be a kind of startle response, issued when the tiny fliers bump into each other in the hive.

Prior to the study, the signal was thought strictly to be used to silence a bee that was in the middle of telling the rest of the colony about a food source location. Honey bees communicate to each other about a new food supply – say, a field full of flowers – by performing a “waggle dance,” an elaborate combination of vibrations and body movements that tell other bees where the new food can be found and how far away it is.

Waggle dances are astonishingly accurate – able to indicate accurately to other bees the location of new food more than 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) away. The warning signal examined in the study is designed to stop the dances. Bees who get directions from the dance tend to leave the hive to go foraging, but if the location is considered a threat – other colony mates were attacked there, for example – the warning signal tells the waggler to please stop waggling so that everyone will stay home.

Now, though, it turns out that the warning signal may be the exceptional use rather than the rule. Through study of two in-the-wild hives and a manufactured observational hive, the NTU researchers were able to show that the signal happened too often and at the wrong times of day (at the evening, for example, when bees don’t waggle dance) to be purely a warning message to wagglers.


From Dr. Christina Grozinger at POLLINATOR-L –


1. Part-time Natural Areas Program Assistant at Penn State Arboretum / PSU Jobs #: 69770
Instructions for using the PSU Jobs website are available at



1. A U.S. appeals court canceled its approval of Sulfoxaflor giving environmentalists a major victory –

(Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court ruled on March 2, that federal regulators erred in allowing an insecticide developed by Dow AgroSciences onto the market, canceling its approval and giving environmentalists a major victory.

The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, is significant for commercial beekeepers and others who say a dramatic decline in bee colonies needed to pollinate key food crops is tied to widespread use of a class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids. Critics say the Environmental Protection Agency is failing to evaluate the risks thoroughly.

The lawsuit was filed in 2013 against the EPA by organizations representing the honey and honey beekeeping industry. The groups specifically challenged EPA approval of insecticides containing sulfoxaflor, saying studies have shown they are highly toxic to honey bees.

2. Open letter from Ontario Beekeepers’ Association to the Federal Standing Committee regarding management of imidacloprid

Mar 9th, 2017 3:58 PM

Comments from the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association to the The House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food Hearing on Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) proposal to phase out the main uses of imidacloprid

March 7, 2017

Dear Members of the Standing Committee,

The Ontario Beekeepers’ Association has represented Ontario beekeepers since 1881. Ontario is home to more beekeepers than any other province. Ontario is also the source of more than 65% of all the corn and soy grown in Canada. Because five million acres are planted in neonicotinoid treated corn, soy and winter wheat, the colonies managed by Ontario beekeepers (and their counterparts in Quebec) are uniquely exposed to neonicotinoids.

Ontario also grows almost 37% of Canada’s fresh fruit and vegetables. Most of these farm products require insect pollinators. Therefor the health of Ontario’s bees and all insect pollinators should be of prime importance for anyone concerned about Canada’s food security.

The broad application of neonicotinoid pesticides like Imidacloprid on most field crops including: corn, soy, winter wheat and canola has been linked to the decline in bee populations in Ontario in places where bees come into contact with dust from planting, with pollen gathered from target and adjacent crops or from ground water that translocates from the excess pesticide residues in the soil.

Health Canada’s decision to phase out Imidacloprid is the right decision given the overwhelming evidence of its harm to our environment and our food security.