Items of potential interest to beekeepers 31 October 2018

Rosanna Mattingly Editor, Western Apicultural Society Journal Editor, The Bee Line, Oregon State Beekeepers Association
IN THIS ISSUE… Honeybees and Drought Animal of the Month: More to the bee than just honey Moths are key to pollination in Himalayan ecosystem Pollination in an agricultural landscape Temperature and food preference The U.S. imports this bee by the gallon Bee Understanding Orlando Teen Has a Brilliant Plan to Save the Bees GEAC approves field studies of GM mustard on honey bee The Great CSU Bug Migration Messing with Fruit Fly Gut Bacteria  WASBA is on Facebook Roundup weed killer lawsuit hits a snag 46th Apimondia International Apicultural Congress in Montréal 

FROM CATCH THE BUZZ 1. Panhandle Beekeepers and Hurricane Damage 2. USDA Spending Cut 3. Bees during a Total Eclipse  4. Hours of Service for Livestock Drivers 5. Glyphosate and Honey Bee Larval Development 6. Expansion of Flupyradifurone Use 7. Honey Adulteration in Australia 8. 2018 North American Pollinator Protection Awards FROM POLLINATOR-L sDiv Call for Working Groups, Individual Postdocs, and Sabbaticals


Honeybees And Drought—What’s At Stake?

Abigail Beckman

The effects of the current drought in Colorado are hard to miss—water levels are down in rivers and reservoirs. Hay prices skyrocketed over the summer. Wildfires have been fueled by dry conditions and a lack of moisture. But the drought has also caused problems for pollinators, specifically, honeybees. 91.5 KRCC’s Abigail Beckman spoke with Mike Halby of the Pikes Peak Beekeepers Association about how honeybees – both wild domestic – fare when things dry out…

On how honey bees are doing right now

This year, they’re struggling. Early on, before we did get the rain in the summer, it was so dry that the plants weren’t producing any nectar and there wasn’t anything out there for them to forage on. So, we were feeding them sugar syrup to replace the nectar. There are also commercially produced pollen supplements on the market, which the bees will collect and store as pollen.

Comparing the current drought’s impact on honeybees to conditions in 2002

This year is significantly better, although, not good. From the drought we had then, we lost an awful lot of our feral colonies. We judge that based on the number of swarms we collect. Prior to that, we would collect somewhere between 30 and 45 swarms a year. That particular year, or the year after that, it was at least cut down by half during that time frame. There wasn’t food out them to collect to store for the winter and they starved.

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Animal of the Month: More to the bee than just honey

Sydney Cameron

Great truths are often so pervasive or in such plain view as to be invisible. This is the case with bees and their food plants, the world’s quarter million flowering plant species, especially because it’s easy to overlook small things in a world in which whales and elephants hold the imagination of the public. Little do most of us know that the more than 20,000 species of wild bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Anthophila) on our planet are working behind the scenes to pollinate most fruit and vegetable crops and wild plants, providing approximately one-third of the food humans consume. We are familiar, of course, with the domesticated honey bee and its large social colonies, and the occasional bumble bee seen in the garden. But behind the scenes are thousands of small, solitary bees living in the soil and in the pithy stems of overwintering plants, each of which plays an important role in pollinating much of the world’s flora.

From: Insect Systematics and Diversity

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Moths are key to pollination in Himalayan ecosystem

Shiv Sahay Singh

Moths are widely considered as pests, but a recent study by scientists of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has revealed that these group of insects are pollinators to a number of flowering plants in the Himalayan ecosystem.

Under the project titled “Assessment of Moths (Lepidoptera) As Significant Pollinators in the Himalayan Ecosystem of North Eastern India”, scientists collected moth samples from different ecosystem. The analysis of proboscis, a long and thread-like organ used to suck flower sap, of a dozen moth species’ revealed the presence of pollen grains.

“Most of the studies on plant pollinators or plant- pollinator network are focused on diurnal interactions between the insects and plants. This particular study is based on plant- moth interactions, as a nocturnal phenomenon, ” Navneet Singh, principal investigator of the project, told The Hindu.

The study was carried out in states such as Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and West Bengal. According to Dr. Singh, proboscis of different moths belonging to families of moths, such as Erebidae and Sphingidae, were found to contain pollen of several flowering plants, including Rhododendron.

Unique structure

What came as a bigger revelation was the structure of the proboscis in different moth species, he said.

“On observing the proboscis under scanning electron microscope, we observed that these structures are not only meant for sap sucking, but are morphological designed for pollination. In some species of moths, the organ is found to be modified into a spine like structure and in others, a lateral canal to arrest and disperse pollen,” Dr. Singh said.

Experts also pointed out that similar studies on ascertaining the role of moths in pollination are being undertaken different parts of the world.

Kailash Chandra, director of ZSI, emphasised that the study was unique, as scientist are looking at a new group of insects (moths) as pollinators. Usually bees, wasps and butterflies are considered as prominent pollinators.

“About 90% of the world’s flowering plants are pollinated by animals. Therefore, pollinators are essential for the genetic exchange among flowering plants and the biodiversity among plants,” Dr. Chandra said. In India, estimates put the number of of moth species at nearly 12,000.

Researchers have pointed out that almost two-thirds of common large moth species have declined over the last 40 years in some parts of world. One of main reasons for the decline is light pollution (an increase in artificial light in moth habitats).



Pollination in an agricultural landscape

Andrew M. Sugden

Plants and their insect pollinators form ecological networks across landscapes, networks that can be altered by human activity, principally agriculture. Redhead et al. assessed the composition and structure of plant-pollinator networks across Great Britain, assembling citizen-science records of all plant-pollinator interactions. By simulating extinction of plant species from communities, they were then able to assess the relative robustness of these networks to changes in community composition. They found that networks in highly agricultural landscapes are more robust to perturbation, as the pollinators in these landscapes tend to be generalists, and the plants less extinction prone. Nevertheless, they note that managing landscapes for crop pollination may not be a recipe for wider biodiversity conservation.

Ecol. Lett. 10.1111/ele.13157 (2018).



Temperature and food preference

Beverly A. Purnell

On a cold day, hot soup seems nice. This desire has a fundamental evolutionary basis that may lie in survival. Brankatschk et al. provided Drosophila fly larvae with a choice of food types: one containing only yeast and another consisting only of plant material. At moderate temperatures, yeast was preferred, but at cold temperatures, the larvae’s preference shifted to plant material. When these larvae metamorphosed into adult flies, they showed increased cold resistance and improved survival in the winter, possibly because the plant fatty acids enhance membrane fluidity and motor coordination.

Dev. Cell. 46, 781 (2018).


—— The U.S. imports this bee by the gallon. Why can’t we raise our own?

Matt Mikus Elisabeth Wilson drives to a small field every day to check her nests set out along a research field at North Dakota State University. They’re home to the alfalfa leafcutter bee.

This species is nothing like a honey bee. It lives a more solitary lifestyle. They’re smaller and they don’t live in hives. Instead, they create nests in tiny, deep holes.

Every year farmers spend thousands of dollars to purchase larvae from bee brokers in Canada. The bees are sold by the gallon and shipped into the United States. In 2016, more than 70,000 gallons of leafcutter bees were exported from Canada.

But these bees struggle to reproduce. Most of their offspring die in the U.S. — it averages out to a half a bee surviving per female leafcutter imported. However, each mother bee in Canada can produce about two and a half larvae.

Now, scientists like Wilson are trying to find out why there’s a disparity.

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Bee Understanding

Ben Sallmann

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to take part in the filming of a documentary by The Honey Bee Health Coalition’s Bee Understanding Project, and it turned out to be a very fun and informative experience! The point of the film was to show the relationship between the almond and beekeeping industries through a job swap, where each participant, almond grower and beekeepers, could better see the other’s perspective. Unlike many other recent honey bee documentaries, this film does not portray commercial beekeepers or almond growers as the bad guys, but rather is fair in describing the challenges each of them faces as our agricultural systems become more industrialized. This short film took an optimistic approach and featured the collaborative efforts of beekeepers and almond growers working toward a more sustainable future.

Beekeepers Russell Heitkam and Jason Miller worked together with Almond growers Ben King and Blake Davis. In addition, the project also enlisted Bo Christie, a Pest Control Advisor specializing in almond pests and treatment, and myself as a honey bee health consultant and a Tech Team member for the Bee Informed Partnership. We all hit it off very well from the start and enjoyed sharing our expertise. It was entertaining watching the film crew try to get into bee suits and work around the bees. They were all good sports, and although no one got stung in the end, it was an experience they won’t soon forget!

To continue reading: ——

Orlando Teen Who Got Stung 42 Times Has a Brilliant Plan to Save the Bees 

Peter Hess

Like all teens, Varun Madan gets distracted from his homework. One evening, rather than reading about butterflies for a school assignment, he accidentally tumbled down an internet rabbit hole of honeybee research. That detour led the Orlando teen to compete in one of the biggest middle school science fairs in the United States this week, armed with his plan to save the world’s bee colonies from total collapse.

Madan, now in the ninth grade, will tell you all about how bees pollinate billions of dollars’ worth of agricultural crops around the world. He will also explain they’re dying at an alarming rate, a mysterious phenomenon called “colony collapse” driven by disease, pesticides, and poor nutrition. But most importantly, he’ll tell you about a discovery he made about the guts of bees that just might prevent their demise.

“It’s been going on for a really, really long time,” Madan tells Inverse. “There’s so many unsuccessful things that people have tried for this.” His entry to the Society for Science and the Public’s Broadcom MASTERS science fair in Washington, D.C. this month was his plan to save them.

Enamored with the bees, Madan met Jamie Ellis, Ph.D., a professor of entomology at the University of Florida who specializes in honeybees. Ellis clued Madan in to an important leading hypothesis about what’s driving global honeybee declines.

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GEAC approves field studies of GM mustard on honey bee DTE Staff

A year after the government put the commercial release of genetically modified (GM) mustard on hold, the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) has approved field studies of GM mustard on honey bee and other pollinations at its recently held 136th meeting.

The trials have been approved at two locations–Punjab Agriculture University (PAU), Ludhiana and Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi. The approval was taken in consultation with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research-All India Crop Research Project (AICRP).

The committee approved the protocols for conducting field studies on honey bees and other pollinators on total area up to 5 acre sonly. It said that any pesticide that adversely impact honey bees should not be used.

While the commercial release of genetically modified (GM) mustard got technical clearance last year, the decision to hold it was on the basis of opposition from anti-GM activists, citizens, farmer groups and non-profits.

According to news reports, states including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Delhi, Punjab, West Bengal and Kerala government have stated their opposition to approve GM mustard.

The GEAC in March this year had called for similar field studies to collect data on honey bees, pollinators and soil diversity.

Activists had objected to the field trials saying that they were inadequate. A co-convenor of the Coalition for a GM-Free India in an interview to the media challenged, “What are “field demonstration” in regulatory parlance? Where is it present in the guidelines? Why is GEAC yet again asking the applicant to submit a detailed protocol for consideration and approval? Doesn’t GEAC have the expertise and guidelines for these tests? Will the tests be conducted with herbicide usage, as is going to the reality.”

The Centre is trying to aggressively push for GM mustard and it would have been the first transgenic food crop to be allowed for commercial cultivation. Poor experience with BT cotton has made farmers and agricultural experts sceptical about its prospects.

Mustard DMH 11, the transgenic crop in question, is an herbicide-tolerant crop that has been made resistant to Bayer’s glufosinate, which is even more toxic than the carcinogenic. Glufosinate is a broad spectrum herbicide that causes nerve damage and birth defects and is toxic to most organisms. It is also a neurotoxin for mammals that doesn’t easily break down in the environment.

Source: —–

The Great CSU Bug Migration

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — In the heart of Colorado State’s campus, on the basement floor of the Hartshorn building, resides one of the most terrifying insects in North America. Known as the tarantula wasp, this four-inch winged creature has an affinity for hunting fuzzy tarantulas. It also boasts one of the most painful stings you can encounter in North America.

So, what should you do if you happen upon this nightmarish insect? Don’t run; that won’t help. Instead, ask research associate Chuck Harp for help. He’ll tell you all about the wasp, which is safely pinned inside a display case.

The tarantula wasp is just one of the many draws of the C.P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity. Technically, it’s just one of 3.5 million specimens; a staggering collection of insects that represents 80 percent of the grasshopper varieties found in the country. For decades, the collection was housed inside Laurel Hall on the historic CSU Oval, but a lack of space and funding couldn’t keep up with the growing collection. Specimens were tucked away wherever there was space: windowsills, dusty office corners, hallway space, and even at the homes of research associates and volunteers. That is, until this past August, when the collection finally found its new home in Hartshorn, a move that was roughly 17 years in the making.

To continue reading: —— Messing with Fruit Fly Gut Bacteria Turns Them into Speed Walkers

Researchers have found a new link between gut and brain.

By signaling to nerve cells in the brain, certain microbes in the gut slow a fruit fly’s walking pace, scientists report. Fruit flies missing those microbes — and that signal — turn into hyperactive speed walkers.

With the normal suite of gut microbes . . .

To continue reading: —– WASBA is on Facebook

By Paul on Oct 28, 2018 03:50 pm

The Honey bee is an amazing social insect and sharing your experiences with your favorite beekeepers is something we enjoy.

WASBA is now on Facebook! Please follow us and share!

Link —— Roundup weed killer lawsuit hits a snag

WASHINGTON (THE CONVERSATION) — On Aug. 10, 2018, a San Francisco jury handed down a US$289 million award to Dewayne Johnson, a groundskeeper who is dying of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Johnson sued Monsanto, the maker of the weed killer Roundup, claiming that glyphosate – the active ingredient in Roundup – caused his cancer. The jury awarded Johnson $39 million in compensatory damages and $250 million dollars in punitive damages.

Now, in response to a request from Monsanto for a new trial, Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos has partially overturned that verdict. Judge Bolanos let stand the jury’s finding that Roundup caused Johnson’s cancer, but decided that the punitive damage award was too high, and offered Johnson two alternatives: accept $39 million in punitive damages ($78 million in total), or submit to a new trial on the punitive damages. The compensatory damages of $39 million would remain intact either way.

This new twist in the case highlights key questions in tort litigation: What is the meaning of “proof of causation,” and what constitutes fair compensation once “cause” has been “proven”?

To continue reading: —— 46th Apimondia International Apicultural Congress in Montréal 

As many of you know, APIMONDIA is the International Federation of Beekeepers’ Associations. Its major objective is to facilitate the exchange of information and discussions by organizing Congresses and Symposia where beekeepers, scientists, honey-traders, agents for development, technicians and legislators meet to listen, discuss and learn from one another. Apimondia meetings are fabulous events that offer great opportunities to learn about all the aspects of the beekeeping world. During these meetings, from morning until late evening, participants explore various exhibits and learn about cutting edge research from all parts of the world.

For more information:




Bob Barrett

Beekeepers in the central panhandle are working to salvage their hives and rebuild their colonies after the destruction of Hurricane Michael. The storm took down buildings and shattered lives and livelihoods across the central panhandle.  It also destroyed a massive amount of beehives in the region.

“There are somewhere in the neighborhood of about 500 beekeepers, representing about 50,000 bee colonies in the area. And that ranges from beekeepers who are hobbyists, maybe keeping one or two colonies, to beekeepers who are commercial beekeepers keeping many thousands of colonies. Five, 10, maybe upwards of 15,000 colonies,” said Dr. Jamie Ellis, a professor of entomology at the University of Florida. He says so far it’s difficult to determine the amount of damage done by the storm. “A lot of beekeepers are finding it very difficult to get into their apiaries. We’re certainly getting some reports where the wind damage and the rain damage blew over colonies and some of them are outright dead.”

For colonies that have survived the storm, there is the issue of finding food. “Because of all the trees and plants that have gotten blown down, the bees in many areas have very little to eat. So one of the greatest needs that beekeepers have at the moment out there is just for food.”

The Florida State Beekeepers Association and other groups are organizing to bring tankers of sugar syrup to help feed the bees that survived the storm. A GoFundMepage has been set up to raise money for the effort. Once the syrup is available, they will be working to get word to beekeepers in the affected area about locations where they can pick up the food for their bees.

The lack of food is a serious problem, but it’s not the only challenge facing beekeepers in the hurricane area. “There are a lot of things that can happen over time. For example, the colonies that were compromised or damaged or outright dead are very susceptible to a particular beetle that we get. So we expect the beetle population that affects these bees to skyrocket over the next few weeks. When colonies are compromised they rob the honey from one another which can spread a particular bacterial pathogen around significantly among the bee colonies. So right now it’s food, but in a couple of weeks it may be diseases and pests.”

Dr. Ellis says having healthy hives in that area of the panhandle is very important. “That area of Florida is really unique among all other areas (in the state) in that they are a major honey producing stretch through that area. For example one of Florida’s, and for that matter, the United States’ most famous honeys, Tupelo Honey, is produced right in the area that the storm went through.”

The bees are also vital to pollinate crops in Florida and nearby states. “So not only is honey production threatened when these bees are affected significantly, but potentially pollination of some very important food crops.”

The Florida State Beekeepers Association is accepting donations on GoFundMe and at their website Floridabeekeepersorg.




Chuck Abbott

Under orders from President Trump to cut spending by 5 percent, the USDA may try to slash the taxpayer-subsidized crop insurance program, eliminate a green-payment program, or take an ax to its research agencies, if recent proposals are any indication. Crop insurance has been a target every time Trump has sent a budget package to Congress.

The president told cabinet officers on Wednesday “to come back with a 5-percent cut for our next meeting. … Some of you will say, ‘I can do much more than 5.’ ” Trump indicated earlier that the cuts would be “for next year.”

“USDA stands with the president and his goal of being fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars and will absolutely meet his target,” said a spokesman. “When Secretary [Sonny] Perdue was governor of Georgia, five of the eight budgets he submitted were smaller than the previous year’s.” The spokesman did not respond to a question about where cuts would be made at the USDA.

The budget-writing process for next year is already well underway across the federal government. In the past, Thanksgiving has coincided with the White House “pass back,” often with directions for alterations, of agencies’ first-round proposals for outlays in the fiscal year that will not begin for 10 months. The White House typically unveils its budget proposal soon after the annual State of the Union speech.

“It sounds like a replay of the levels proposed this past spring and the year before that, and I suspect many of the proposals will look familiar — cuts to agricultural research, cuts to rural business development, cuts to nutrition, and cuts to conservation even while they are spending $12 billion to make up for the tariff war they started, and even while the farm bill languishes due solely to the intransigence of the House GOP leadership and the White House,” said Ferd Hoefner of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, a small-farm advocate.

The budget package released last spring included the ill-fated “America’s Harvest Box” for SNAP recipients, a 33-percent cut in spending on crop insurance, elimination of the USDA’s first green-payment program for land stewardship, elimination of the Rural Business and Cooperative Service, and large cuts in the Economic Research Service and the Agricultural Research Service.

Lawmakers turned their backs on the ideas. The Harvest Box was hooted down despite Perdue’s argument that it was “a bold, innovative approach to providing nutritious food” to the poor while costing less — an estimated $129 billion over a decade. Under the Harvest Box idea, some 80 percent of SNAP recipients would have received half of their benefits in a monthly box of dry, processed, and canned foods. The administration also proposed changes in SNAP eligibility that one think tank estimated would cut enrollment by 10 percent.

Other ways to modify SNAP are on the USDA’s agenda. In a White House document, the department said on Wednesday that it is working on regulations to tighten so-called categorical eligibility for food stamps and to constrain states’ use of waivers that allow able-bodied adults aged 18 to 49 and without dependents to receive food stamps for more than the usual limit of 90 days in a three-year period.

SNAP work requirements and eligibility rules are major disputes in House-Senate negotiations over the 2018 farm bill. The GOP-written House farm bill would require an estimated 7 million “work-capable” adults aged 18 to 59, including those with children over age 6, to work at least 20 hours a week or spend equivalent time in job training or workfare to qualify for food stamps.

Last February, a White House proposal on crop insurance called for cutting the premium subsidy by 15 percentage points for policies with the Harvest Price Option, the most popular type of coverage, and for cutting the subsidy for other policies by 10 points. Cuts to catastrophic coverage were not included in the proposal. The government pays 62 cents of each $1 in crop insurance premiums in addition to sharing the burden of severe crop losses with insurers.

Crop insurance is the largest strand in the farm safety net and is a frequent target of farm policy reformers, budget hawks, and farm activists as well as presidents of both parties. The program is popular in farm country and would escape major changes in the 2018 farm bill.




Susan Milius

When the 2017 Great American Eclipse hit totality and the sky went dark, bees noticed.

Microphones in flower patches at 11 sites in the path of the eclipse picked up the buzzing sounds of bees flying among blooms before and after totality. But those sounds were noticeably absent during the full solar blackout, a new study finds.

Dimming light and some summer cooling during the onset of the eclipse didn’t appear to make a difference to the bees. But the deeper darkness of totality did,

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WASHINGTON (October 15, 2018) – Today organizations representing livestock, bee, and fish haulers across the country submitted a petition to the Department of Transportation (DOT) requesting additional flexibility on Hours of Service (HOS) requirements. The petition asks for a five-year exemption from certain HOS requirements for livestock haulers and encourages DOT to work with the livestock industry to implement additional fatigue-management practices.

Current rules limit drive time to 11 hours and limit on-duty hours to 14. Instead, the organizations request that livestock haulers be granted approval to drive up to 15 hours with a 16-hour on-duty period, following a 10-hour consecutive rest period. Any livestock hauler wishing to operate under the extended drive time would be required to complete pre-trip planning and increased fatigue-management training.

The full press release can be found here:




Diego E. Vázquez, Natalia Ilina, Eduardo A. Pagano, Jorge A. Zavala, Walter M. Farina

As the main agricultural insect pollinator, the honey bee (Apis mellifera) is exposed to a number of agrochemicals, including glyphosate (GLY), the most widely used herbicide. Actually, GLY has been detected in honey and bee pollen baskets. However, its impact on the honey bee brood is poorly explored. Therefore, we assessed the effects of GLY on larval development under chronic exposure during in vitro rearing. Even though this procedure does not account for social compensatory mechanisms such as brood care by adult workers, it allows us to control the herbicide dose, homogenize nutrition and minimize environmental stress. Our results show that brood fed with food containing GLY traces (1.25–5.0 mg per litre of food) had a higher proportion of larvae with delayed moulting and reduced weight. Our assessment also indicates a non-monotonic dose-response and variability in the effects among colonies. Differences in genetic diversity could explain the variation in susceptibility to GLY. Accordingly, the transcription of immune/detoxifying genes in the guts of larvae exposed to GLY was variably regulated among the colonies studied. Consequently, under laboratory conditions, the response of honey bees to GLY indicates that it is a stressor that affects larval development depending on individual and colony susceptibility. To read:




PORTLAND, Ore.— The Center for Biological Diversity today urged the Environmental Protection Agency to deny Bayer CropScience’s request to allow the highly bee-toxic pesticide flupyradifurone to be sprayed on tobacco in states like Kentucky and North Carolina.

Although flupyradifurone is known to harm pollinators like bees and freshwater invertebrates like mussels, the pesticide maker is asking the EPA to approve its use across more than 300,000 acres in areas that are home to more than three dozen protected species.

“Expanding use of this dangerous chemical will threaten many endangered species, as well as bees already battered by neonicotinoid pesticides,” said Tara Cornelisse, a senior scientist with the Center. “Pollinators and many aquatic invertebrates across the Southeast are already struggling. Approval of yet another highly toxic pesticide for tobacco will add to their toxic load and likely result in further losses.”

Flupyradifurone is a systemic pesticide with the same mode of action — and potential for harm — as neonicotinoid pesticides, a leading cause of pollinator declines. While the pesticide industry has touted flupyradifurone as a replacement for neonicotinoid pesticides, it poses many of the same risks to non-target species as neonicotinoids.

For example, flupyradifurone impairs learning, memory and affinity for nectar rewards in honey bees. Further, flupyradifurone is highly water soluble and decreases the viability of freshwater mussel larvae; it also negatively impacts aquatic mayfly larvae survival at levels comparable to neonicotinoid pesticides like imidacloprid and clothianidin.

Because flupyradifurone’s negative effects worsen with increased dosage, its use on tobacco would compound the harm already caused by widespread use of other neonicotinoids on corn and soy in tobacco-growing counties.

“Approval of this harmful neurotoxin would create a dangerous double-whammy for bees and freshwater mussels already suffering from exposure to neonics,” said Cornelisse. “Expanded use of this harmful pesticide is a risk we can’t afford to take.”

Among the 38 threatened and endangered species living in areas where tobacco is grown are 17 species of freshwater mussels that play essential water-purifying roles in aquatic ecosystems.

The greatest amount of tobacco acreage under consideration for the pesticide’s use is in North Carolina and Kentucky. Other areas include Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia and South Carolina.

Endangered freshwater mussel species that would face increased harm include the Georgia spinymussel, dwarf wedgemussel, rayed bean and orangefoot pimpleback.

In addition, flupyradifurone is likely to harm and kill native bees that are important for the pollination and survival of nine endangered flowering plants, including smooth coneflower and Short’s bladderpod.

To continue reading:



Alan Harman

Australian honey testing and the scandal over the purity of honey continues with the release of a new study that implicates local honey.

The new study on the global honey industry conducted by Macquarie University scientists and peer reviewed and published in the Nature journal, Scientific Reports, looks at testing undertaken by the National Measurement Institute, the same high-security government lab used to test drugs seized by Border Force.

The study found that almost one in five of 38 Australian honey samples sourced from supermarkets and markets had been adulterated by mixing honey with other non-honey substances.

The adulterated honey was sourced from Victoria, Queensland, NSW and Tasmania, while samples sourced from South Australia and Western Australia tested pure.

“Manufacturers have been producing adulterated honey, which is typically bulked up with sugar syrup or other products, to boost production artificially,” according to IBISWorld Senior Industry Analyst, Nathan Cloutman.

Previous controversy initiated discussions about honey testing methods but now with the latest report showing honey sourced along the eastern seaboard of Australia including boutique brands, to be fake, this global scandal over the impurity of honey is growing.

Results of the study are expected to put pressure on authorities to start testing local honey. In Australia, only imported honey is tested.

Using a reportedly decades-old C4 sugar test, only five per cent of imported honey is tested and the C4 test can’t detect adulterations such as added rice syrup which is used by fraudsters to dilute honey.

Peter McDonald, the chairman of the Australia Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC), a peak body for the industry, said local honey was not tested by the authorities.

“It is up to the individual companies that actually buy the honey to then test,” he said.

The scientific team doing the testing was led by Professor Mark Taylor from the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Macquarie University who expressed surprised at the findings from Australian-sourced honey.

“We know that the issue of adulteration is a prevalent problem but we didn’t think it would be that persistent in Australia for Australian-produced products.”

Believing the research to be robust, Professor Taylor also stated the results could be conservative given the official honey test, the C4 test, was used, which has come under attack for its inability to detect substances used by fraudsters to beat the tests.

According to IBISWorld, global demand for honey shows no sign of slowing down, supporting Australian and Kiwi beekeepers, driving growth in honey production.

“Australian honey production has grown significantly over the past five years. Rising demand for honey has led agriculture companies to increase their output and encouraged new independent beekeepers to enter the market,” Mr Cloutman says.

“Domestic honey producers are also benefiting from Australia’s reputation for producing high-quality agricultural products, with natural honey exports expected to grow at an annualized 8.8 per cent over the five years through 2018-19,” he adds.

“However, high demand for honey is likely to continue incentivizing companies to produce adulterated or counterfeit honey to increase output volumes.”

Food fraud is a $US40 billion a year industry and growing as criminal gangs exploit weak regulation and outdated government tests. Honey is reportedly the third most adulterated food in the world, behind milk and olive oil.

Read more at;





2018 North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) Award Winners –

2018 Pollinator Advocate and Farmer-Rancher Award winners from the United States, Canada and Mexico will be honored by Pollinator Partnership and the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) on October 16 at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, DC, which features a diverse collection of flora benefiting multiple pollinator species.

NAPPC is a collaborative body of diverse partners, including respected scientists, researchers, private sector stakeholders, conservationists and government officials working to find common ground on innovative initiatives that benefit pollinators. NAPPC’s 18th annual conference will be held October 17-18 in Washington, DC.

“We are pleased to be able to recognize the outstanding efforts of these special individuals, who are leading by example and taking innovative actions that help make the North American landscape a better place for our pollinating partners … the bees, butterflies, birds, bats, and other species that we all rely upon” says Val Dolcini, President and CEO of the Pollinator Partnership, which facilitates NAPPC.

A brief description of award winners and their actions follows:

2018 NAPPC Pollinator Advocate – United States

Dr. Andony Melathopoulos of Oregon State University is an entomologist with a passion for promoting bee health and educating growers, forest landowners, landscapers, the general public, and pesticide users. He has worked with various stakeholders to make tremendous strides in helping develop a strategic plan to promote the health of both wild and managed bees in the State of Oregon. In early 2017, he was instrumental in the creation of the Oregon Bee Project, a multi-agency initiative aimed at protecting bees from pesticide exposure, increasing habitat, reducing impacts of diseases and pests on bees, and expanding understanding of the bees of Oregon. As part of this initiative, Dr. Melathopoulos has trained 163 individuals and formed 10 regional volunteer groups to collect and pin bees for the Oregon Bee Atlas. For Pollinator Week 2018, he coordinated 20 events across the state. He has also produced 50 episodes of PolliNation Podcast, which feature special guests and highlight issues bees face. Since September 2016, Dr. Melathopoulos has personally presented to more than 2,500 pesticide applicators on practices to minimize pesticide exposure risk to bees.

2018 NAPPC-NACD Farmer-Rancher – United States

John and Nancy Hayden have been proprietors of The Farm Between in Jeffersonville, Vermont for 26 years. The Farm Between is a 20-acre certified organic nursery and fruit farm specializing in production and sale of pollinator-dependent fruit and berry crops, shrubs, and trees, and more than half of the farm’s area is devoted to pollinator habitat enhancement. John, a trained entomologist, has made a number of significant contributions in the area of pollinator conservation and management, including the establishment of a 14-acre pollinator sanctuary at a former dairy farm, where he conducts long-term bee species diversity monitoring and demonstrates effective pollinator land management practices. In 2007, John and Nancy founded Seeds of Self-Reliance, a nonprofit organization with international scope working to promote biological diversity of pollinators and other organisms in the context of sustainable agriculture. A related program, Pollinator Pathways, provides outreach and education in Vermont on the importance of pollinators to our food systems. In 2016, John was appointed by Vermont’s governor to serve on the state’s Pollinator Protection Committee, and he is frequently asked to testify before legislative committees on pending legislation related to pesticide use, pollinator conservation, and sustainable agriculture.

2018 NAPPC Pollinator Advocate – Canada

The Farmlands Trust Society (FLT) is a charitable not-for-profit organization located in Saanichton, British Columbia. The FLT works to enhance farming capacity in the Greater Victoria area by protecting local farmland, protecting eco-sensitive and culturally special areas, producing food for those in need, providing relevant educational opportunities, promoting the economic viability of farmland, and providing community access and public awareness programs. Since 2012, the society has been gradually returning the 100-year-old historic Newman Farm in Saanichton to active agricultural uses. FLT leads the “field to plate” initiative at Newman Farm where FLT volunteers grow, harvest, and donate local fruits and vegetables to those in need at Our Place Society in Victoria to aid in relieving poverty and mitigating food insecurity for marginalized populations in society. They are also important, active members of the Island Pollinator Initiative.

2018 NAPPC Farmer-Rancher – Canada

Cody Straza and Allison Squires are co-owners and operators of Upland Organics, a 2000 acre certified organic grain farm near Wood Mountain, Saskatchewan. Their vision is to create a family orientated, environmentally and economically sustainable organic farming operation, which contributes in a positive and significant way to both the local community and the greater organic agricultural community. To this end, they are working towards converting their entire farm to no-till. Cody serves as the Vice President of SaskOrganics, allowing him to promote the organic industry across the prairie provinces. He also joined the Organic Value Chain Round Table, bringing the prairie farmer’s perspective and input to national level discussions. Allison promotes involving organic producers at the individual farm level and believes that it will contribute to the overall applicability of research in this sector. She has helped implement several on-farm research projects at Upland Organics, and serves as director on the Canadian Organic Growers board. Upland Organics is a certified Bee Friendly Farm through Pollinator Partnership. They are one of the few large-acre farms in Canada to hold this certification.

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FROM Dr. Christina Grozinger of POLLINATOR-L sDiv Call for Working Groups, Individual Postdocs and Sabbaticals Please find below all information on the application process. Most importantly, we only accept proposals submitted via the iDiv application portal. Registration is required for being able to create your application. It is possible to safe and change data at any time during the application process until the final submission. Please contact sDiv for any assistance!

  • This call is for working groups, individual postdocs and sabbaticals that would begin September 2019 or later.
  • All topics and questions related to synthesizing biodiversity research are welcome.
  • Each proposal needs at least one iDiv member as participant or PI/Co-PI. sDiv encourages all candidates to be pro-active in communicating with suitable project partners (assistance of the sDiv coordinator Marten Winter if needed).
  • Proposals are only accepted via the iDiv application portal.
  • NEW: Submit pre-proposal before 06 December 2018 (14:00/2:00 PM CET) via the iDiv application portal.
  • Full proposal deadline is 13 March 2019 (14:00/2:00 PM CET).

Please thoroughly read all sDiv call documents! Submit the final proposal (using the proposal templates below) via the iDiv application portal (as a PDF file).

For more information, see: