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  1. #21
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    I have seen products like Surround used in commercial orchard operations (transitioning to organic). While it does work to a point, it and other organic options do not offer the level of control that conventional pesticides do. This is okay if the consumer is willing to pay higher prices (look at what organic produce costs) due to the reduction of yield for the grower. The consumer is also going to have to be willing to pay more for a lower quality product (insect damage,scab,etc.).

    Many want to have things both ways. They want cheap perfect fruit produced without chemicals. While this would be nice, it is unrealistic. The same consumer will not think twice about buying an apple (for example) from China where they are not held to standards even close to U.S. growers.

    Others do not seem to care and want "organic" produce at any cost. This is a selfish view in my opinion. Modern agricultural practices have brought us greater yields and higher quality from less acres. As anyone who lives in an agricultural area can see, farm land is not expanding it is shrinking (due to development, higher production costs, increased regulation, etc.) We can hardly feed the world now even with all of these advancements, so what would we face if some had their wish and all food was produced "organically"? Many, even in this country, simply cannot afforded to pay the higher prices that "organic" products must receive.

    A look at the current "biofuel" craze demonstrates the unintended consequences of what seems to be a great idea. Food prices are on the rise and global food stocks are at an all time low. The costs of farming have risen as well as our groceries, and I would not look for them to fall. Countries that were net exporters (i.e. China, India) have put restrictions on exports as they can hardly feed their own populations. And we want to run our vehicles on food?

    What does all of this have to do with beekeeping? In this time of change I believe that beekeepers, growers and the consumer need to work together and not jump to conclusions. Remember that in the "good old days" a typical spray program included Wettable DDT, Lead Arsinate, Phygon, etc. Somehow we made it through that.

  2. #22
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    Aug 2003
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    Lancaster, Ky. / Frostproof Fl.
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    Cool

    I will agree that it is yet to be proven and may never bee, hard to prove something when the evidence is gone! (bees). But for the life of me I cant figure out WHY Mr. Fisher is so pro Bayer! Is he on their payroll?(just joking). The way the neon nictinoids kill certainly resembles CCD ie flying off and not returning (Not proof but certainly suspicious). ANd they have been shown to be present in pollen! even though it is small amounts. I know Dave Hackenberg personally and I lost 280 colonies 1 mile from his at the same time he discovered his losses. I am 100% convinced neon nictinoids played a roll.....on Tuesday colonies looking great...perfect brood patterns....no mites........4 frames brood.....on Friday....maybe a handfull on newly hatched bees and a queen.....you tell me.....but I would bet my life it wasnt mites or nutrition......look at how these insectidides kill.....weakening the immune system and mental/social abnormalities....just co-insidence? I doubt it!!! I know I cant prove it and neither can MR Fisher prove his point....but I can GUARANTEE you one thing......BAYERS data will be in their favor!!!!! Its all about $$$$ and they sold over a BILLION dollars of it last year!

  3. #23
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    Dec 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Fischer View Post
    > Do you have links to the details of the Germany incident?

    No, I am getting information from a composer friend who has
    recently moved from Manhattan to Germany, and is translating
    the press accounts in the local German press for me.

    Her English is excellent, her German is her native language,
    and she knows a bit of beekeeping, but she is 85 years old,
    and is not about to type me full transcripts of what she
    reads and hears. She is merely summarizing for me.

    The good news is that here in the USA, the seed companies
    buy the pesticide from Bayer, and also buy the exact polymer
    that Bayer suggests they use, and follow a strict process for
    seed application. My understanding from a few US seed companies
    is that Germany does not permit Bayer to "dictate" to the seed
    companies, so they can use whatever polymer they wish to use.

    [SIZE=2]The normal rate for corn seed treatment in Europe is a "dose" of 0.5 mg of
    clothianidin per seed. In the specific area of Germany where the bee kills
    happened, they have a problem with western corn root worm which required use
    of a much higher rate, 1.25 mg clothianidin per seed. More than double.

    The weather may have also been a factor. In this region of Germany
    the spring had started off on the cool side, then in early May it became
    warm and windy. When the weather broke, the farmers feverishly began
    planting corn, all at the same time, and this likely coincided with an
    upswing in bee foraging activity. The windy conditions likely increased the
    amount of dust that reached adjacent crops where bees were foraging. [/SIZE]


    This was nothing less than an amazing run of bad luck.
    Yes, people screw up, accidents happen, and this might happen again,
    but the odds against it are very high. The "lesson learned" here is that
    seed drills must be looked at as potential pesticide-spreading "sprayers",
    and perhaps retrofitted with dust covers, like the ones you can find on
    table saws. The seed-drills were designed BEFORE people started doing
    seed treatments, so "dust" was never more than a cloud of dry soil.

    I am a little embarrassed here because I am 2nd generation from German immigrants and know very little of my family's native tongue (even after a year of taking it in college). My father spoke it at home and my sister is quite fluent, so I may try to enlist their help in translating some of the German press releases. I have a few links to them, more would be appreciated.
    "The UNKNOWN, huh? That would be SNORBERT ZANGOX over in Waycross."

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by edenhillapiaries View Post
    Remember that in the "good old days" a typical spray program included Wettable DDT, Lead Arsinate, Phygon, etc. Somehow we made it through that.
    We made it? You mean... we survived? For what - maybe 50 years? And that is evidence that pesticides are the way forward? Have you the faintest idea how meaningless 50 years is in the context of human agriculture, let alone the life of the planet?

    Take your blinkers off and see what is happening to the world.
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

  5. #25
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    Beulah,Michigan,USA
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    Buckbee,

    In response to...

    We made it? You mean... we survived? For what - maybe 50 years? And that is evidence that pesticides are the way forward? Have you the faintest idea how meaningless 50 years is in the context of human agriculture, let alone the life of the planet?

    Take your blinkers off and see what is happening to the world.

    I would like to ask what do you propose we do to feed the world and keep the farmers yields at the levels we need. What I was getting at when I referred to the chemicals that were used in the past is that sometimes one hears how easy it was to keep bees years ago (before mites, but when these chemicals were in regular use) and that we have improved our agricultural practices since then.

    What drives me nuts is when folks with lofty ideas criticize current practices without providing any alternatives. What would you have farmers do? Consumers demand cheap and perfect fruit, veggies, etc. Not everyone can afford to pay the big bucks for organic, and just to let you know most commercial organic growers end up spraying a hell of a lot more than conventional growers.

    I work in agriculture and do my part to help growers use chemicals in a responsible manner, and only target the pests that are of economic importance. The days of spraying broad spectrum insecticides every two weeks no matter what is out there are gone, and I feel good that I play a part in helping to cut down on these sprays.

    So Buckbee, what do you to help this situation?

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by edenhillapiaries View Post

    I would like to ask what do you propose we do to feed the world and keep the farmers yields at the levels we need. What I was getting at when I referred to the chemicals that were used in the past is that sometimes one hears how easy it was to keep bees years ago (before mites, but when these chemicals were in regular use) and that we have improved our agricultural practices since then.

    What drives me nuts is when folks with lofty ideas criticize current practices without providing any alternatives. What would you have farmers do? Consumers demand cheap and perfect fruit, veggies, etc. Not everyone can afford to pay the big bucks for organic, and just to let you know most commercial organic growers end up spraying a hell of a lot more than conventional growers.

    I work in agriculture and do my part to help growers use chemicals in a responsible manner, and only target the pests that are of economic importance. The days of spraying broad spectrum insecticides every two weeks no matter what is out there are gone, and I feel good that I play a part in helping to cut down on these sprays.

    So Buckbee, what do you to help this situation?
    You mean, what am I doing about the situation of the USA consuming a hugely disproportionate amount of the world's food? Not to mention oil, and just about everything else?

    Put your own house in order: there is plenty of food in the world - it is the distribution that is grossly distorted by the greed of one nation.

    And, by the way, if you had some idea that GM crops are the answer, you might like to scan this:



    EXTRACT: Let's be clear. As of this year, there are no commercialized GE crops that inherently increase yield. Similarly, there are no GE crops on the market that were engineered to resist drought, reduce fertilizer pollution or save soil. Not one.
    ---
    ---
    Genetic engineering - a crop of hyperbole
    By Doug Gurian-Sherman
    The San Diego Union Tribune, June 18 2008
    http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniont...e18gurian.html

    The food crisis is much in the news. It is also on the minds of the biotech industry, which is using rising food worries to suggest, contrary to the evidence, that genetically engineered, or GE, crops are needed to help the world feed itself. The recent spike in food prices is due to increased demand, drought and trade policies rather than to inadequate global production. But world population is growing, so it is worthwhile to consider the role of GE for ensuring adequate, affordable and sustainable food in the future.

    After 20 years of GE research and 13 years of commercialization, GE crops have a track record that allows us to evaluate their future prospects. And so far, they have shown little progress on the biggest food production issues, such as intrinsic yield, stress tolerance and improving sustainability. The weak performance to date raises questions about how much more of our scarce research dollars should be devoted to this controversial technology. Moreover, the lax regulation of both food safety and environmental risks from GE also remains to be addressed, especially in developing countries that often have no regulatory infrastructure to evaluate GE crops.

    Most relevant for food sufficiency are properties such as yield - producing more on available land - and better use of resources, especially in the face of climate change. Agriculture already accounts for about 70 percent of human water use, so using less water to grow crops is increasingly important. And because current industrialized agriculture often degrades soil and causes substantial pollution from fertilizers, pesticides and climate-changing gases, we need to do a better job of producing food without degrading the environment.

    Let's be clear. As of this year, there are no commercialized GE crops that inherently increase yield. Similarly, there are no GE crops on the market that were engineered to resist drought, reduce fertilizer pollution or save soil. Not one.

    The most widely grown GE crop in the United States, herbicide-tolerant soybeans, has not increased yield above its conventional non-GE counterparts, based on U.S. Department of Agriculture trend data and numerous field studies. Insect-resistant GE crops have sometimes indirectly improved yields by reducing insect damage - so-called operations yield. But such yield increases have been modest, and recent studies suggest that much of the apparent improvements may be due to other advances, such as from conventional breeding. New innovations, using new insights from our growing knowledge of crop genetics, are improving the versatility and speed of these established, productive breeding techniques, without using GE.

    What about environmental benefits? Those, too, have been modest at best.

    Cutting through the rhetoric, overall pesticide use (herbicides, insecticides and fungicides) has not been reduced through GE. Although there may have been some initial reductions, recent U.S. data suggest that herbicide use in GE crops is now significantly higher than it was prior to their introduction. Weeds that have developed resistance to the herbicide used with GE crops now infest several million acres, forcing greater herbicide use. Insect-resistant GE crops have reduced overall insecticide use somewhat, but on balance GE crops have not reduced our dependence on pesticides.

    Soil erosion and degradation can be reduced by reducing tillage. And reduced tillage often accompanies GE herbicide-tolerant crops. But reduced-till methods were on the rise prior to the adoption of GE crops. The USDA reported in 2002 that the data did not point to GE as a significant contributor to reduced tillage.

    In many cases we can accomplish the same or better results at less expense by applying the science of agroecology. Insecticide use can be reduced by alternating the use of more crop types rather than growing nothing but corn, or only corn and soybeans. Soil erosion can be largely eliminated by the common organic practice of using cover crops between seasons. These and other practices improve soil, which thereby retains more water, helping crops during droughts. Large improvements in water use can be achieved through technologies such as drip irrigation rather than wasteful methods commonly used now.

    Many of these issues are discussed in a recently published report of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development, sponsored by the World Bank and U.N., which concluded that the role of GE in improving food security in the developing world should be secondary to other approaches.

    Finally, to the extent that GE may provide benefits in the future, GE must be adequately regulated to ensure food safety and protect the environment. Unfortunately, the United States, with industry support, has neglected the regulation of GE crops. The Food and Drug Administration does not approve the safety of GE foods; it simply ushers them into the market. The FDA has only a voluntary regulatory process for GE food safety, fundamentally unchanged since 1992, that requires no specific safety tests and largely allows companies to determine the tests they conduct. USDA was criticized in 2002 by the National Academy of Sciences for insufficient scientific rigor in its environmental safety assessments, and has recently lost several cases in federal courts for its lax regulation. Its own inspector general severely criticized its regulatory apparatus in 2005. USDA is revising its regulations, but current drafts do not adequately address previous criticisms.

    The challenge of growing and distributing food for a hungry world deserves serious attention. So far the inflated claims of the biotechnology industry are not backed up by scientific evidence, but its rosy rhetoric obscures our choices. This can keep us from investing in tools such as conventional breeding and agroecology that, based on their track record, should be leading the way to helping the world feed itself.
    The Barefoot Beekeeper http://www.biobees.com

  7. #27
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    You can find articles anywhere to support any opinion. I imagine that there are articles that state that CCD is due to cell phone use.

    Reduction of insect damage and weed competition does improve yield (Agronomy 101) and GM crops do this without the need for pesticides. I personally have seen a yield increase with the use of these crops and with a yield increase comes more efficient use of fertilizers, fuel, etc. In my neck of the woods it was not long ago that 80 bushels per acre of corn (average) was the norm. With the use of the GM hybrids growers have seen the average jump to 120+. Other practices have also changed, but I know that the new corn hybrids are playing an important part. By the way, Bt (the bacteria that is placed in GM crops for insect control) is used in organic production for lepidoptera control (Dipel, etc.) If it is safe enough for organic production, why is it so harmful if placed in a crop? While many across the world hate and curse Monsanto they have brought important changes to the market and are right now working on developing a drought tolerant corn hybrid. Could they be doing this if they had not worked on RoundUp Ready hybrids?

    I do not believe that GM crops, etc. are the only answer to feeding the world, but I do believe that we have to utilize the new technologies that are available to us. They are cutting the use of herbicides (Atrazine) and soil insecticides (Lorsban, Furadan) and increasing yields. What I still am waiting for from the so-called environmentalists is their solution to the problem. I imagine that when Langstroth suggested his ideas for movable frame bee hive that many beekeepers resisted these changes and stuck with their log hives and skeps.

  8. #28
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    >>What I still am waiting for from the so-called environmentalists is their solution to the problem

    They dont have the solution, they just expect the food to come from some distant land, and be readily available for everyone to feed on.

    The reality is the world is working on a real tight food supply, and cropping failures have put many countries in a pinch. Eliminate the technology to grow our crops, and more than just the poorer countries will feel the same pinch.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  9. #29
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    Mar 2005
    Location
    Odessa, Missouri
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    Smile

    Interesting topic. Each day the case against the neonicotinoids gets stronger. BucKbee makes excellent points.

    In the future I predict those beekeepers which side with Bayer will be the minority. To hear some talk all the French, German and U.S. beekeepers which have *seen* hives crash in areas of the neonicotinoids ( personal experience) are simply wrong.( thousands and thousands of beekeepers and a crowing number of researchers see the neonicotinoids as a problem).

    Bayer says all problems are simply caused by missapplication although they say in press releases missapplication is rare.

    Which is it Bayer?

    "the rest of the story"

    The amounts of the neonicotinoids found in dead bees is on the rise. My opinion is the repeat use of insecticide treated seed on the same field is leading to higher and higher amounts of the neonicotinoids found in soil. Then in pollen etc. I was in the Usda office this week and looked at the number of farmers planting the same pesticide treated seed crop over and over in the same field and was shocked. No rotation out of pesticide treated seed. many had planted the same pesticide treated seed on the same ground for up to 8 years without rotation to a cover crop.

    corn after corn etc.

    Current farming has gone to planting corn after corn (with no end in sight) on the best corn land.

    Soybeans after soybeans on the best soybean land. Missouri/Arkansas & Alabama commercial beekeepers have had huge losses in the delta bottoms.


    The person at the office assured me that rotation is a practice which has no practical application.

    The chemical companies control the Farmers and tell the farmers what chems to use. Todays farming is all about chemicals. The soil those crops are grown in has not a single earthworm A dead growing medium.



    Time will tell the story. Until then many of us will have to:
    "agree to disagree"
    Bob Harrison

  10. #30
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    > Each day the case against the neonicotinoids gets stronger.

    No, Bob, each day more and more evidence mounts that neonics
    are a massive improvement over the pesticides they replaced.

    What is lacking is science to support Bob's "case".

    But the "case" continues to ignore the data, and tries to gloss over
    the details. Beekeepers hope that a pesticide company will be able
    to be sued for damages, which would be easier than keeping bees,
    and allow a few beekeepers to dream of early retirement.

    The problems being blamed on pesticides are more and more being
    linked to off-label miticide use by beekeepers themselves. If one
    looks at the MaryAnn Fraizer data, one finds an embarrassing level
    of miticide misused by beekeepers who want to blame neonics.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Harrison View Post

    The person at the office assured me that rotation is a practice which has no practical application.
    You've got to be kidding me. These are row crops, not trees. Rotation seems like a no brainer to me, although I admittedly own no land.

  12. #32
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    Mar 2005
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    Odessa, Missouri
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    Aspera,
    I come from a long line of farmers. I worked on my families farms during the summers and only recently dropped farming off my tax form.

    I too was shocked. I spoke today with a large area row crop framer in town. He said the chemical companies suggested over five years ago that you could plant (at first) soy beans year after year on the same ground ( using their products of course). not many bought into the idea at first but went soy beans went to record highs they soon came on board. Now after around 5-8 years doing beans after beans with no serious issues the practice has been accepted.

    Now with corn at record prices farmers are doing the same thing. The practice only caught my eye around four years ago with soybeans.

    I never liked the idea of burning off land with herbicides and then drilling in the pesticides treated seeds among the weeds ( without ever plowing or tilling the ground) but the practice is common today if not the standard.

    As a beekeeper the issue is the buildup of imidacloprid in the soil from years of using pesticide treated seed EACH year. When pesticide treated seed came on the market we were told buildup would never happen due to crop rotation.

    Has the scenario changed now as in many cases farmers are not rotating out of pesticide treated seed?

    Are people even checking? I think not.
    Bob Harrison

  13. #33
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    Jim,
    I am on the front lines. Trying to keep losses down and figure out what is going on with our bees. Our researchers have came up with nothing so far.

    Everything they suggest we have looked at years before they have suggested it.

    I have seen first hand the dead hives from the neonicotinoids.

    I was around in the days of "disappearing disease".

    Beeks worked through the problems ( like many of us will this time) without any answers from the researchers.

    "disappearing disease" remains unsolved. In the cold case files. Soon CCD might be added.

    2 and a half million hives spread over the U.S. and those looking for the problem are enough to barely scratch the surface. Like congress those looking rarely agree on what they are looking at.
    Each group of researchers seem to thing CCD (whatever CCD is) is caused by the area they are researchers in and with enough funding can solve the problem.

    Quote from jeff Pettis from the National convention:
    " I don't know what CCD is but I know CCD when I see it"



    Bob Harrison

    48 years beekeeping
    beekeeping as project in Future Farmers of America
    Started not as hobby but as migratory beek in Florida years ago.
    Has kept bees in Florida,texas and California
    Numerous articles in BC & ABJ
    Bob Harrison

  14. #34
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  15. #35
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    At the joint meeting of the AHPA & ABF plus inspectors Jeff pettis was supposed to give a presentation on CCD. The groups only meet once a year and all know months in advance about the meeting. The head of Beltsville always gives a presentation. Around 1500 people attended with standing room only in many presentations. The CCD presentation was the most attended and the most purchased CD's.

    The first words out of Jeff Pettis were he could not stay long as he had to leave. Approx fifteen minutes into the CCD presentation he left.

    Never before have myself or my friends ever saw such an exit. I guess questions after the presentation or afterwaords during the convention would be out of the question from Jeff.

    What was his hurry we wondered? What was so important he said a few words and fled?

    Leaving his help to *take the heat* so to speak.
    Bob Harrison

  16. #36
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    >>What was his hurry we wondered? What was so important he said a few words and fled?


    Why, do you think Jeff deserves the abuse of the beekeepers? IF the beekeepers will not listen, and presist into heated argument, for no other reason than to vent, do you feel it is fair for Jeff to take the heat for the problem? His presentation is just what it was, and if beekeepers cant listen to that and handle the information respectfully, then well, I guess they better head to the streets as they did in France and be sure everyone is listening to them,
    There they can get things done wheather it is right or not!
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

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