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  1. #1
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    Default Fluvalinate, Cumaphos, and Foundation

    ...thought i should post this here as well as in "meetings". video of Maryann Frazier's talk at our local bee club on March 8, 2008. CCD and chemical contamination of comb, pollen, bee bread, and foundation:
    http://www.BeeUntoOthers.com/

    deknow

  2. #2
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    Thanks for posting. I'm just an hour into it, but the part about Fluvalinate blew me away. I'd never heard about that
    information before. It also was the first I heard of a weak corellation
    between CCD and hive miticide levels. Looks like there is a great
    deal about pesticides in hives (in environment and placed in hives) that needs to be investigated with CCD.

  3. #3
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    ccd or no, anyone who is trying to be "organic" or "chemical free", or "breeding for survivors" should take another look at using foundation at all. the sample they used wasn't big (1 piece from each of 5 suppliers), but all were heavily contaminated with fluvalinate and cumaphos...as well as other ag chems.

    deknow

  4. #4
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    I would like to see a bigger study looking at that.
    One way to get organic foundation is if you can get
    unwaxed plastic foundation, and then paint roller your organic
    heated wax on the plastic. This is USDA certified
    organic approved. It does take lots of wax to do this.

  5. #5
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    well, foundationless seems easier to me...and regardless of "organic standards" (which have not been finalized, so i don't know where you are getting your usda info), given the choice between 2 "organic honeys", one made with all wax drawn by the bees, and one on plastic comb....which one would you buy?

    besides, if you don't start out with foundationless, where are you going to get clean wax to paint on your plastic comb? from comb made from contaminated foundation? i don't think so.

    deknow

  6. #6
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    ...as far as a bigger study looking at foundation, it is my understanding that it costs about $200 for each of these lab tests.

    if the findings were that all the foundation is contaminated (and there hasn't been enough testing yet to know...but 5/5 is a pretty severe result for a first look), what is the industry going to do?

    what percentage of the supply houses sales are foundation? probably a pretty big percentage. who is going to do these tests and be "the bearer of bad news"? how much foundation needs to be tested? who is going to pay for it? if these tests are done, who will have access to the results?

    deknow

  7. #7
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    Default

    also, it's not clear what "organic wax" is. are you going to accept it as chem free by what's on the box...or will you have to test it? given that the foundation they tested had all kinds of ag chems besides the ones beeks put in the hives, how clean do you really think a marketed "organic wax" will be?

    deknow

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    well, foundationless seems easier to me...
    It may seem that way, but not when you run a side by side comparison
    of foundationless against foundation hives. I like the way foundationless
    performs during the buildup period prior to swarming season and the major honey flow. Once the major flow hits, all you get is honey storage comb which is completely useless to rear more bees in. Its fine to reserve for honey supers, but I sell spring splits and having clean drawn comb early in the season for brood rearing is needed.

  9. #9
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    ...and where are you going to get clean wax for that clean drawn comb?

    as far as drawing durring the flow, you want to keep the comb drawing in the brood nest as much as possible, and put full (or not perfect worker) comb up top for the bees to fill with honey.

    deknow

  10. #10
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    Default commercial wax foundation

    is pretty clean. call dadant some time and talk with the guy in charge of that.

    he said that the rendering processing & ultrafiltration removes most of any chem comtamination. they also reject some loads of wax for foundation.

    my impression after talking with them was very very positive.

    i also take exception to the remark that the CCD brood comb was heavily cotaminated with Ag chems. the raw data i have is that fluvalinate and coumophos was in the 10,000-50,000ppm and most of the farm chems are in the single digit ppm.

    other historical studies have shown similar results. the notion that farm chems are a wide spread source of hive contamination is not backed up by any data. localized pesticides kills do happen but it has more to do with individual applicator then the false notion that any farm chem spray every time its usd is is some how getting into a bee hive and contamining the comb.

    think about it, if the ppm was that high in the "field" most bees die before depositing any pollen or nectar into the comb. contrast that contamination route to Gomer the beekeeper dumping chems directly into a hive.

  11. #11
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    ...the data i have access to is all in the video provided. i encourage you to watch it.

    deknow

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    ...and where are you going to get clean wax for that clean drawn comb?

    as far as drawing durring the flow, you want to keep the comb drawing in the brood nest as much
    as possible, and put full (or not perfect worker) comb up top for the bees to fill with honey.

    deknow
    Anyone should be able to get a lot more comb drawn in honey supers
    then they can in the broodnest during a flow. With foundation provided
    in the honey supers, a strong colony can draw it out quick. Down in
    the broodnest they are not building that rapidly at that time of year.
    Before the honey flow, they are, but not once it hits. Doing it the way
    you suggest is leaving honey, and more importantly drawn comb,
    in the field.

    Bud Dingler, I'm not sure about PPM's but we should know more
    about this new study soon. She said it will be in ABJ soon and
    a science journal after that. Or are you referring to her raw data?
    I agree, from her talk, that the real issue seems to be beekeeper
    use of pesticides. They found beekeeper pesticides in trapped incoming
    pollen. She said that means the bees themselves are contaminated
    even in the field.

    I suggest anyone interested find the time to watch the whole thing.
    There where some good questions at the end as well and good points
    about what happens when a contact pesticide, apistan, is basically
    fed to the bees via carboard or shop towels. Its not what it was
    designed for and the stuff is toxic to the bees.

    Back to deknow's comment about where you get clean wax and why
    test more foundation; I would like to see more study of exactly what
    is the contamination level of foundation. I do take only 5 samples
    seriously even though you seem to assume I don't. She offers up
    a solution, if it is an issue, in her talk. Gamma radiation could be used
    on the foundation wax. Expensive yes, but if its found to be a significant
    problem then grants could be sought out for the equipment.
    But you have to test that sort of thing out first, it could easily be no
    problem whatsoever at the level in foundation if a beekeeper either
    follows the label on Apistan and Checkmite or simply does not use them
    like I don't. She recommends Formic Acid, Apigaurd, and Apilife Var. Also
    note off label uses of Formic Acid are showing up as causing
    problems with sterile queens. Use the label folks, its there for a reason.

  13. #13
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    Anyone should be able to get a lot more comb drawn in honey supers
    then they can in the broodnest during a flow. ...Doing it the way
    you suggest is leaving honey, and more importantly drawn comb,
    in the field.
    i'm not disagreeing with you, but a couple of comments.

    1. there are all kinds of "management practices" that can result in more honey...from taking 100% of the bees stores and feeding back syrup (or killing the bees) to using antibiotics regularly. just because one can get more honey by using a particular method, doesn't mean it's "worthwhile", or good for the long term (of bees and beekeepers).

    2. if you are really looking for comb to store honey in, then i don't see a problem of letting the bees make honey storage comb in a top box if you are short of comb.

    3. the worst thing for you as a beekeeper, and as an industry, would be contaminated honey. until we can assure our customers that the comb and foundation in our hives is clean, this is going to be a problem...do you assume that honey stored in comb from contaminated wax would be clean? i don't.

    I would like to see more study of exactly what
    is the contamination level of foundation. I do take only 5 samples
    seriously even though you seem to assume I don't. She offers up
    a solution, if it is an issue, in her talk. Gamma radiation could be used
    on the foundation wax.
    ...i don't assume anything, i was just pointing out that a small sample is a significant concern when contamination is found across the board. the radiation is a _possible_ solution, not one that they have demonstrated to work yet. how many years to get the details ironed out? how long to rotate out old contaminated comb? how long for the residual levels in the colony to be near zero?

    deknow

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    i'm not disagreeing with you, but a couple of comments.

    1. there are all kinds of "management practices" that can result in more honey...from taking 100% of the bees stores and feeding back syrup (or killing the bees) to using antibiotics regularly. just because one can get more honey by using a particular method, doesn't mean it's "worthwhile", or good for the long term (of bees and beekeepers).

    2. if you are really looking for comb to store honey in, then i don't see a problem of letting the bees make honey storage comb in a top box if you are short of comb.
    Well, for one they build it slower in my observations, and 2. as I was saying, I need fresh brood comb to move into the broodnest mid april to make splits from. I'm not the only beekeeper whom has the need to move comb drawn from honey supers into brood boxes when making increase, splits, culling comb, etc. I like to give them some empty frames to build new comb in the brood nest too, but when you pull out 10 frames from the broodnest at a time, you need to put some drawn comb in there or you'll slow them down quite a bit.

    I don't disagree with your #1, and am not criticizing what you choose to do. You obviously take much more care in your managment for healthy bees than do many. My point is more that the 'all foundationless management' is not going to work for most beekepers including myself and that does not mean its because I'm pushing the bees beyond their limits. Its just not practical to do %100 foundationless in an operation where maximizing income is required to have a profit instead of a loss.

    3. the worst thing for you as a beekeeper, and as an industry, would be contaminated honey. until we can assure our customers that the comb and foundation in our hives is clean, this is going to be a problem...do you assume that honey stored in comb from contaminated wax would be clean? i don't.
    If its absorbed enough to be a concern in honey or bee health if you don't use any of those chemicals in your hives, I don't know. But I do think it would be a premature assumption to say that it would be a concern on either honey or hive health if you are talking about just what is found in foundation. Once you add more of those chemicals in the hive however, my opinion changes.
    ...i don't assume anything, i was just pointing out that a small sample is a significant concern when contamination is found across the board. the radiation is a _possible_ solution, not one that they have demonstrated to work yet. how many years to get the details ironed out? how long to rotate out old contaminated comb? how long for the residual levels in the colony to be near zero?
    deknow
    It shouldn't take any years, just a few months to see if it works if someone can get on it. Its important to encourage that kind of investigation and solution, not reject it. Many pesticides break down rapidly in sunlight, that is known, and thats what they are thinking about. If it didn't work, I think that would be a great surprise.

    How long to rotate contaminated comb is up to individual beekeepers. But one would need to clearly show it is a problem to provide the motivation, even if it seems obvious to you and me.

    As to residual levels in the colony towards zero; If you take the issue of all known pesticides in hives, you will never reach zero because of contaminates in the environment and on the farms, based on the operations she surveyed.
    Last edited by MichaelW; 03-14-2008 at 11:36 AM.

  15. #15
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    michael, all i'm saying is that your needs might change...if anyone starts testing honey, you are going to "need" to make honey that is free of residues. this is my own personal prediction, i just think that the results of honey tests would turn consumers off of eating it.

    we don't use any treatments in our hives, and no foundation. hopefully, we will get our comb tested, which will be interesting.

    my recolection is that the most specific she was about the concentrations of fluvalinate and cumaphos in foundation was "significant amounts". what that really means remains to be seen. i don't know how one can be unconcerned.

    anyone wanna have their honey tested "publicly"?

    deknow

  16. #16
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    ...as far as decontaminating the wax with radiation goes, they do have a reactor on campus, so testing isn't a huge deal.

    but the presentation was specific in that they had not had good luck with straight irradiation, and were experimenting with coating the wax with water before irradiation...with no good idea why this might be more effective.

    i'm not as optimistic as you that there will be a quick and easy solution.

    deknow

  17. #17
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    I'm not at home so I can't listen to the presentation. What I get out of the posts so far is that they're trying to make a connection between certain chemicals (Coumaphos & Tau-fluvalinate) and CCD?

    Determining the concentrations of those compunds isn't terribly difficult. $200 a sample seems a bit excessive. Prepped samples for a GC/MS run average ~10$ each.

  18. #18
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    >>do you assume that honey stored in comb from contaminated wax would be clean? i don't.

    Honey supers, storing honey in comb with no exposure to chemicals will not show up residues as if you would take comb from the brood chamber, where it has had chemical exposure. Taking comb from the chambers to extract is a bad practice, if that beekeeper is involved with a chemical program.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  19. #19
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    there is data in research papers that suggest that honey in supers and super comb wax does not pick up much if any detectable traces of contamination in brood comb. the residues are chemically locked up in the comb not wandering molecules in the hive.

    i would not worry about it.

    the untold story in that video is that the feedlot beeks have been dumping jug mixes of fluvalinate and comouphos into there hives for over a decade or more. some Gomers even use multiple treatments in fall or over the course of a season.

    these chronic off label abusers are a far cry from a hobbyist that used Apistan or checkmite a few times.

    the big honey packers test honey every day and have internal specs for the residues that are below EPA values (many have lowered them recently or they would run out of honey). they even have specs for Amitraz which is not labeled for use in bees but is a common material used by the feedlot crowd. interestingly the EPA has a spec for Amitraz in honey. i wonder why?

    while brood comb is undoubtedly contaminated in most of the hives in our fine country. the levels are far more elevated then even the worst honey a packer might find.

    we all have to realize that science has intruments that have magnitudes of resolution lower then 10 years ago.

    we live in a world where we inhale or absorbed chems all of the time. chem prescence is no big deal sometimes - the question is what levels.

    i highly doubt we will find the levels in foundation to be of concern other then an indicator of trends and whats wrong with American beekeeping.
    to imply there is a health hazard to bees and humans I think is stretching it.

  20. #20
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    >to imply there is a health hazard to bees and humans I think is stretching it.

    From what I've heard from Marion Ellis, Nancy Ostiguy and others I would say that implying there is NOT a health hazard to bees is stretching it a lot.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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