View Poll Results: How many beekeepers test their hives for diseases at least once per season?

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  • Yes

    31 64.58%
  • No

    17 35.42%
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  1. #1
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    Thumbs Up Bees, lies and evidence-based policy

    http://www.nature.com/news/bees-lies...policy-1.12443

    "It is simply impossible to interest millions of members of the public, or the farming press, with carefully reasoned explanations. And politicians respond to public opinion much more readily than they respond to science."

    thumbs up
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Bees, lies and evidence-based policy

    http://scientificbeekeeping.com/amit...r-insecticides

    "The second special situation where spraying fungicides during bloom can cause problems is where the honey bee keepers are using the insecticide/miticide amitraz for control of varroa mites in the hive. Most tree fruit growers will remember amitraz as Mitac which was used heavily for pear psylla control in the past. This product was routinely used for synergizing organophosphate and pyrethroid insecticides in crops like cotton where key pests had developed resistance, because it shut down the enzymes insects used to detoxify pesticides. This raises concerns about amitraz being used to treat mites in honey bee hives. While it may be effective in controlling varroa mites now that they have quickly developed resistance to the organophosphate coumaphos and the pyrethroid fluvalinate, adding this synergist to a hive basically shuts off a bee’s immune system to pretty much any pesticide with which it later comes into contact."
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Bees, lies and evidence-based policy

    ....
    Last edited by Ian; 10-05-2014 at 07:47 PM. Reason: double post
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Bees, lies and evidence-based policy

    An old but pretty well balanced article.

    "And because of such reports, and a recent risk assessment from the European Food Safety Authority, we can be fairly sure that the decision on whether to restrict neonicotinoid use in Europe will not be made on the basis of avoiding 20% yield losses in crops, or saving the world’s bees from extinction."

    Has there ever been an issue like this where both the science for and against is so muddy?
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Bees, lies and evidence-based policy

    Ian, what do you think of the OBA's approach that is calling for a permit based system for neonics rather than a ban? Does anyone really think that planting only treated seed is a good idea? Isn't there enough preliminary evidence to be cautious with at least corn and soybeans.

    http://www.ontariobee.com/issues-and...oid-pesticides
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Bees, lies and evidence-based policy

    zhiv9,
    This is a extremely risky move. As a beekeeper I go out of my way to keep excellent relations with my land renters and area neighbours. You must realize I also farm 3000 acre cereals and oil seeds so when I read this from your link, I got a bit mad myself;

    >>Allow farmers to apply for one-time use of a neonicotinoid seed treatment only if they can:
    a) Demonstrate through a soil test or monitoring program that their crop will be threatened by pest pressure and,

    b) Demonstrate that there are no alternative control options; <<

    The last thing farmers want is to have to work through another bureaucratic restriction. Farmers will blame all the BS that accompanied with this permit on beekeepers... those land owners are going to grow angry and it will tarnish our relationship with farmers. Because they don't see the evidence this seed treatment harming honeybees. Farmers hate working through bureaucracy to please environmentalist. Thats a fact, and our name is tagged to the entire issue.

    I take a lot of flack on this site and with local beekeepers holding this opinion on Neonics. But its kinda like this, if an environmental movement removed beekeepers ability to treat for mites with Amatraz, there would be lots of angry beekeepers out there followed by lots of dead hives. If the product is going to be removed from use, be sure to have an alternative treatment to be able to fully replace that product.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  7. #7
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    May 2014
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    Default Re: Bees, lies and evidence-based policy

    The American Bee Journal had an article this month that suggested the products beekeepers use to treat for mites is not particularly harmful by itself. It suggests that the same may be true for the neonics. The real spike in damage occurs when the bees are exposed to both.

    I like the old serenity prayer about dealing with things we have control over. I am old enough that I don't think the farmers will change their ways during my lifetime. I can change mine.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Bees, lies and evidence-based policy

    Ian, isn't a permit system better than an outright ban? This is already a compromise position for the OBA.

    What did you use before neonics? Did you treat 100% of your crops with it?
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Bees, lies and evidence-based policy

    Quote Originally Posted by zhiv9 View Post
    Ian, isn't a permit system better than an outright ban? This is already a compromise position for the OBA.

    What did you use before neonics? Did you treat 100% of your crops with it?
    A compromise of what? A compromise from farmers to not use a product because it MIGHT have implications to beekeepers hives. Try selling that idea to farmers when there is very little to prove it.

    We use to use COunter 5 G, and anyone who remember this product would take a neonic seed treated crop anyday. Dad use to mix the seed in a full respirator suit. Nothing lived in the field after seeding... and the ocassional cattle heard when left over seed was improperly stored. We would not go back to this product as it IS banned for use. We would go to a generalized complete farm broadcast with the available insecticide, probably tank mixed with our herbicides. I can assure you, most of the sprayers you see in the fields right now are herbicide or fungicide. If seed treatments are banned, most everytime you see a sprayer, it will be tank mixed with an insecticide. I am not exaggerating to make a point. This situation has already been talked about around our business table.

    Beekeepers need to be aware of what they are asking for. Possible problems from a systemic when the beekeeper manages their hives a certain way, or the bombardment of spray drift of overland spraying on all the land throughout the entire spring...

    Which ever way you cut it, we beekeepers are going to have to manage our hives in a chemical environment. That is not going to change no matter how much I want it to. We need to support the lesser of the evils. There is no way around this point.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Bees, lies and evidence-based policy

    Ian, don't take my questions the wrong way. I am asking because I know that in your business you see both sides of this, with the exception that you haven't experienced high losses that you would attribute to neonics the way many beekeepers in Ontario have. The OBA had originally called for an outright ban on neonics and their compromise position is supporting a permit based system. Do 100% of corn, soybeans and canola acres need to be treated? Shouldn't farmers always have to make the conscious choice to spray or plant treated seed instead of it being the default?

    Isn't there enough early science to indicate we should be cautious with neonics. Using the as valuable tools where necessary and not on every acre of every crop. Especially when there is little science demonstrating that there is a need to use them wholesale.

    Randy's article on Amitraz is very interesting and I am glad that I don't use it.
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Bees, lies and evidence-based policy

    Farmers have two choices. They can treat the seed or spray in crop. Which one would you prefer?

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Bees, lies and evidence-based policy

    Quote Originally Posted by Haraga View Post
    Farmers have two choices. They can treat the seed or spray in crop. Which one would you prefer?
    Spray every acre or as needed?
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Bees, lies and evidence-based policy

    Quote Originally Posted by zhiv9 View Post
    Spray every acre or as needed?
    It works out to spraying every acre.
    Kinda like Beekeepers treating for mites, every hive gets the treatment because of logistical reasons.
    It would be nice to say the other would prevail but... My fortune teller is more bleak.

    I use Apivar, and found no issues as of yet.

    Adam, I keep bees in 100% seed treated country. Corn soy and canola, sunflower. How is Ontario different than the neonic use on the prairies ? Why the overwhelmeing issue and not so much here?

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Bees, lies and evidence-based policy

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    Adam, I keep bees in 100% seed treated country. Corn soy and canola, sunflower. How is Ontario different than the neonic use on the prairies ? Why the overwhelmeing issue and not so much here?
    That is a very good question, but with an average loss of 58% last winter, there is something going on.
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Bees, lies and evidence-based policy

    Quote Originally Posted by zhiv9 View Post
    That is a very good question, but with an average loss of 58% last winter, there is something going on.
    Yes it's called a government program that pays for any registered bee losses over 40%.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Bees, lies and evidence-based policy

    Quote Originally Posted by Haraga View Post
    Yes it's called a government program that pays for any registered bee losses over 40%.
    That's pretty cynical. You had to declare in th fall what you overwintered and then declare in spring your losses. Compensation was only $100 and only for hives over 40%. Bee inspectors could/did audit the loss.
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Bees, lies and evidence-based policy

    Quote Originally Posted by zhiv9 View Post
    That is a very good question, but with an average loss of 58% last winter, there is something going on.
    Has the provincial extension apiarist run any disease level samples in the high loss apiaries?
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Bees, lies and evidence-based policy

    Quote Originally Posted by zhiv9 View Post
    Spray every acre or as needed?
    A professional farmer would better be able to answer this but I can relate a relevant story from years before neonic seed treatments. My father in law,who was an excellent farmer, went out one morning to monitor his crops and found that, literally overnight, cutworms had leveled a great deal of his crop. I was there that morning and drove back out with him as he was assessing the damage. I remember him lamenting how random the destruction was and that the acerage that had been tilled prior to planting were generally ok but those where he had chosen the, then, new no till farming method was where the majority of the devastation occurred. My guess is that farmers plant so much treated seed because it's cheap and insect damage happens quickly and is impossible to predict.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Bees, lies and evidence-based policy

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    Has the provincial extension apiarist run any disease level samples in the high loss apiaries?
    Oh Ian. You come up with the funniest questions.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Bees, lies and evidence-based policy

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    Has the provincial extension apiarist run any disease level samples in the high loss apiaries?
    I am sure they did, though we won't see that information for months. These were big commercial beekeepers, I would assume that they were monitoring this themselves as well.
    Adam - Zone 5A
    www.adamshoney.com

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