Australia provides a very useful smokescreen for the pesticide lobbyists because:
a. It's very far away
b. It's very big - 6th largest country in the world -7,690,00 sq km
c. Very few Americans have been there
d. Beekeeping there is largely 'bush-beekeeping' - in wild country
The honeys which are most-valuable from Australia are wild-floral honeys like acacia, manuka, eucalyptus, bush mallee, myrtle, meadow honey and a dozen others. About 90% of Australia's landscape is 'wild' - the great centre of the country is either desert or bush. Relatively little beekeeping is concerned with pollination of arable crops. Many beekeepers, according to Jeffrey Gibb, live solitary lives, ranging through the wild bush, collecting wild honey for sale. So, exposure to neonics is probably only in those areas where wheat, canola are grown and of those only neonic treated canola probably presents a real threat.
So, most of Oz beekeepers have little contact with neonics. The ones who run migratory pollination businesses in arable crop areas, like Warren Jones - are suffering large losses.
From The Buzz About Bees website run by Amanda Williams:
It is often claimed (by the pesticide industry) that Australia's honey bees are healthy despite the fact that neonicotinoids are used there.
The question is raised: “If neonicotinoids kill bees, why aren’t Australian beekeepers losing theirs?” or “Neonicotinoids are used in Australia and they have healthy honey bees”.
So is this true? Is everything hunky-dory for Australia's honey bees?
What do we know about Australian beekeepers and their experience of neonicotinoids, honey bees and beekeeping?
In June 2007 a very revealing document was produce by Mr Warren Jones, President of the Australian Crop Pollinators Association - see right.
Warren Jones explains about his role:
You’ll see from the document that Warren Jones’ beekeeping experience and service to agriculture spans 34 years.“I am the President of the Crop Pollination Association Inc. This association represents the beekeeper pollinators that service agriculture's pollination requirements across a broad range of crops in all eastern states, Western Australia,Tasmania and NT. We provide representation to AHBIC, the peak body established to represent all sectors of beekeeping.”
In relation to this issue, of particular interest was this comment:
By Autumn 2009, Warren Jones comments to The Australian Organic Producer in his article:“There has been a wide use of neonicotinoids to treat a large range of pasture seed and other seed prior to planting, which includes most of our horticulture and vegetable production. Consequently our bees are continually in contact with neonicotinoids from the agricultural environment. We are finding it very difficult to maintain our hives at pollination strength, requiring an increase in use of young queens and replacement nucleus hives to maintain our hives”
[B]“Where Have All The Bees Gone?”: [/B]
In this article, he makes it very clear that he believes neonicotinoids represent a real threat to Australia's honey bees, and comments:
He also points out that- one reason we have heard very little about the impact of neonics in Australia is that there is NO RESEARCH PROGRAMME OR RESEARCH INSTUTE STUDYING THE PROBLEM. Australia does not even have a bee-lab capable of detecting neonics at the ppb level.“Currently in Australia the demand has never been higher for bee pollination but until more control on the use of neonicotinoids is established available bee numbers are unlikely to improve."
Meanwhile, Jeffrey Gibbs, in his article [B] Neonicotinoid Pesticides: To Australian Beekeepers from an Australian Beekeeper[/B], highlights concerns about neonicotinoids and provides some interesting insight into why Australian beekeepers seem to be relatively quiet on this issue – or at least not making a major public fuss.“To be a successful crop pollinator you have to have full knowledge of how the chemicals being used in a crop could harm the pollinating bees. We have to use either our own personal experience or overseas studies as there is no current Australian research available,”
DOWNLOAD ARTICLE HERE: http://pierreterre.com/blog/neonicot...oid-pesticides
Jeffrey's article has some interesting quotes too, such as:
(Jack is referring to the fact that neonicotinoids are highly persistent – i.e. they remain in the soil for years after the first planting. They can then be absorbed by other plants growing in that soil, and because they are systemic pesticides, they permeate the plant as it grows, and the poison may then be presented to bees and other non-target insects, through nectar and pollen, at toxic levels. This effect has been observed in scientific studies, such as Bonmatin et al 2004).“Last October, I was helping Jack Alt of Deepwater, New South Wales shift a sizable load of bees, from a NEONIC seed treated canola plot at Premer NSW. We were shifting the bees back onto clover, closer to Jack's home. Although the bees had been on a bumper crop of canola, Jack was disturbed that his load of 250 hives had suffered premature swarming, loss of queens, loss of bee numbers and dead-outs. Jack then replaced queens, kept working the bees (as we all would), and kept the load on clover for the next few weeks. I observed the same hives later on a Silver Leaf [Iron Bark] flow. In my opinion there were less than half the bees there should have been, or even less. This was Jack’s second Adverse Experience with his bees foraging canola over the last two years. I asked Jack: “Do you think that this may be because of the seed treatment on canola?” Jack replied, “I don’t think we’ll be working canola anymore.”
Jack is concerned about the (contamination with neonics) of the pollen of Turnip Weed and Salvation Jane coming up afterwards, in the same paddocks.”
In September 2012, this Australian item was published on the net:
"Concern from beekeepers prompts review of some insecticides":
“Anxious apiarists have prompted the nation's chemical regulator to review regulations around insecticides used in the grains, cotton and vegetable industries. The Australian Pesticides and Veterinery Medicines Authority is examing those products which contain neonicotinoids, a relatively new class of chemicals used as seed dressings”.
Find it, by copying and pasting this link into a new web page:
So contrary to the view that Australia’s bees are having no problem with neonicotinoids, there is evidence that suggests otherwise. Seems like yet another argument to defend neonicotinoids that is not based in truth.
So let's see if the attack dogs respond to this by
addressing the issues
addressing the facts
engaging in reasoned debate
. . or are we back to personal attacks, harassment, invasion of privacy etc.
I think I can guess in advance what we will see.