Okay, I read the report on toxicity. Tactic is permethrin. Correct me if I'm wrong.
The study demonstrated that permethrin was the most toxic of the four chemicals available when the report was completed in 1988.
The study fed chemically-laced sugar syrup, which is different IMHO than soaking cloths or strips in permethrin and placing them in a hive. The study took place almost 20 years ago and I wonder what changes have occurred in the world of bee genetics and what alterations have taken place in the chemical formulations that would generally transcend the findings of this study.
Anyone else read this report and come to some other conclusions?
Taktic contains amitraz, not permethrin. Amitraz is an amidine. Permethrin is a pyrethroid.
As far as the government only approving chemicals offered by chemical companies, believe me that Taktic (or amitraz in any other form) is offered by chemical companies. Who else would produce it?
"Powdered sugar" is considered a food, not a pesticide, and therefore does not require EPA registration as a pesticide.
I can only agree with the last two posts. Apparently no real research has been done on Amitraz and its effects on queens, mites, residues etc. Unfortunately, as with all home remedies, it is applied in many different concentrations and applied in so many different ways (even one report of spraying on at full strength) I fear that another potentially good weapon may just end up being ineffective before much longer. Hopefully the purity of our products (primarily honey and beeswax but also pollen) isn't compromised as a result.
>I can only agree with the last two posts. Apparently no real research has been done on Amitraz and its effects on queens, mites, residues etc.
I believe it was used (and I assume tested) extensively in Europe and it's presence in honey and wax is often tested for because it is in common use. I haven't tried to research this, since I had no intentions of using it, but that's the impression I was under.
I think that the USDA has limits for it in honey left over from when it was approved for use in bees. When some keepers in Florida (I think) lost hives and sued the company the company pulled the product but the USDA never withdrew the limits for Amitraz.
I have asked around to some of the bigger beekeepers I know. Most said they used to use it. But all have stopped. Mites do develop resistance to Taktic, Some large honey buyers do test the honey for it, they all had heard of One Beekeeper, who had a load of honey turned away (66 Barrels) because of contamination (No one knew who that unfortunate guy was rumor/fact?). But Taktic has been widely used, and is still in use. And several beeks said it keeps shb in check also.
Ever wonder why someone, way back when, affixed the word 'pure' to honey. I suspect it was to differentiate his honey from that other stuff.
Come on guys, the mavrik, taktic thing was an admitted mistake made by the 'big boys' almost 20 years ago! Most that did it bypassed the pesticide treadmill in favor of the pesticide landslide. Then, inspectors, consumers, etc. knew little about this. And those who did, turned a blind eye. It was a different time when testing honey for contaminants was non-existent. And multiple treatment options were non-existent.
Repeat the mistakes of the past? Enjoy those same old results. Almost! Back then it was a fast way to contaminate bee equipment beyond use. And most of those guys quickly left beekeeping when bees couldn't thrive and then even survive in their stuff.
Today is a different situation. You could be out, even before the bees get poisoned out. When the fines, lawyers and the consumer lawsuits, disposal fees are settled, keeping bees might not be very profitable and certainly not much fun.
It's a new day. Learn from the past. Work smarter, not harder.
Thinking it might be time for a "Really Truely Pure Honey"
My apologies for my confusion on the link posted to the toxicity study back on 10-13, and my response/question that follows. I must be on drugs myself. I got the names/chemicals mixed up, and in part, I thought the toxicity study was directly linked to our discussion on Taktic.
I heard that there will be more beekeepers added to the Adee story on the home page. States are cracking down on the unlabeled use of pesticides by beekeepers.
Thank you Dennis for posting this response! I've been reading this thread most of the time with my jaw dropped and not believing that this is still an "accepted" practice. I just don't have enough history to put it in perspective as you did so well. I know that my customers are more than willing to pay a premium price for "Really Truly Pure Honey".
Last edited by Barry; 03-04-2012 at 07:58 AM. Reason: quotes
So it is the same as commercial fishing. We either add the price for the government approved treatments in to sell our honey or keep our prices low and we might get by without a profit on our honey sales. Who checks the imported honey for chemicals?
Comparing it to commercial fishing and shrimping the imports are putting true blooded Americans out of business due to price. It is a shame that imports of shrimp, etc. are cheaper than some one in the STATES trying to make an honest living fishing and can not make it. Imported honey is in the same boat.
Pull together and raise the price to treat by government standards or do it as a hobby as I am. Just trying to keep my bees alive.
My proposed solution is simple. We should do as we have for all other food products....Manditory testing of all wholesale honey for any chemical that may be used as a medicinal treatment and poses a risk to human health. That applies to imports as well as domestics. Guess what...that strategy works as well: Every year thousands of pounds of tainted milk, meat, fish, poultry, fruit and vegetables from the states and abroad are withdrawn from the market and the producers fined. I don't like government regulation, but Adee's and others on this website have shown it to be necessary.
Interesting point, there, at the end of Aspera's post:
Do you (anyone, not just Aspera) believe that mandatory testing would have caught Adee Honey Farms?
The chemicals they were caught using illegally were fluvalinate (different formulation, but would likely leave the same residue in any honey as the legal form) and oxalic acid (which some proponents of OA claim is a chemical naturally found in honey anyway).
Seems like I remember a time when most American beekeepers were repeating the 'dirty offshore honey chant' in response to some cheap, tainted import honey that flooded the American market.
To differentiate America's 'pure honey' from the other stuff, some on the Honey Board suggested a quality assurance program for American honey. The results.....silence from the American beekeeping community. No quality assurance, ie testing for domestic honey, wanted here!
Wonder why not, if we produce the clean stuff? I don't because I've been around commercial beekeeping for more than 35 years.
Now, the offshore producers have cleaned up their act. Or maybe found ways to appear so. But I know we American beekeepers can do better.
I've know from personal experience that bees can thrive and still remain clean. The information is out there for anyone who desires to do the same.
Costs? Profit? Beekeepers are squeezed to the low economic end throughout the world, as are most primary agricultural producers. The difference some are willing to live in a muddy field with a leaky tent as their shelter. Others can't live without their new 4 wheel drive pickup.
How to survive? Produce a clean, niche market honey and value add to it. Think Whole Foods rather than Sam's Club. Or forget honey and pollinate almonds. The almond guys don't care whether the bees or honey are clean.
well what would you do if you were adee honey farms and had 100,000 hives of bees?
Last edited by lake thompson honey; 10-24-2007 at 09:51 PM. Reason: changed my mind
I would divide my operation into organic honey production and pollination. On the honey end, lobby for higher standards. On the pollination end, use this operation as a sink for hives that must be treated. Unfortunately, I feel that the Chinese learned ALL of their dirty tricks from us. Chinese honey is cheap because Chinese labor is cheap and we haven't been able to automate much of beekeeping. They just took their cues from us that tainted honey is A.O.K. for everything that corn syrup can't do.
I don't know if by "organic" you mean "certified organic" or not. Here (not very far at all from the business headquarters of Adee Honey Farms) "certified organic" -- even if there was such a designation for honey -- would be a practical impossibility. Finding any location with a three-mile radius of "all organic" crops would be very, very difficult, compounded by looking for a roadless area (all roadways around here are sprayed with herbicides and some insecticides around here), compounded still further by seeking such sites for many, many hives.
Again, I say, concerning Adee's fines specifically and any proposed "higher standards," how would you distinguish "off-label fluvalinate" from "label fluvalinate?" How do you tell oxalic acid added to the honey through fogging/dribbling from oxalic acid that occurs naturally in honey?
And, how do you keep your bees from foraging in fields that might be sprayed with pesticides like Taktic?
Two items, though:
1) "Certified organic," a USDA designation, means that livestock are only fed "certified organic" feed, too. In the case of a certified organic dairy farm, that means that the cows must be fed certified organic crops to produce certified organic milk.
2) Unlabeled or labeled, the active ingredient is the same, and detection methods would pick either/both up equally. Fluvalinate applied as an unlabeled formulation or fluvalinate applied as "Apistan" or fluvalinate encountered by foragers in the field: they're all the same active ingredient. The concentrations in honey might differ, but the ingredient would not.
So, where do we set the standards for pesticides in honey? Zero? Then very few, if any, of us would be able to legally sell honey. Limited to certain concentrations of labeled pesticides and lower concentrations of pesticides that might be encountered by the foraging bees? Then we're still left with the problem of detecting unlabeled formulations of pesticides that also have labeled formulations as miticides in bee hives (i. e. fluvalinate).