Update on Neonicotinoid Pesticides and Bee Health: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pubs/...tinoid-eng.php
Corn Growing Regions of Canada (1 red dot = 5000 acres)
Reported bee incidents attributed to neonics (acute or chronic)
This is one interesting thread for sure.
I can truthfully say, I have never been more fickle about anything in my life as I am on this neonic issue. There are so many sides to this and so many factors that need to be looked at. It really isn't black and white on any side.
Firstly, I'd like to say that I am surprised by the way beeks feel like they can come on here and slam other beeks. Why do that? The internet makes people bold I know. Having a argument and degrading another human without actually having to look them in the eye is easy eh? It's pretty low, and you know it. So let's get away from that...shall we? I don't see anyone on here bashing Mendes. Why? Cause we all respect him. Yet he has been pretty vocal on this topic in the past too.
Anyway, it has to be remembered that some beeks are big because they know the value of their asset, which is their hives. They didn't get big to get money from a program. They got big because they wanted to make money from bees, and figured out that having lots of live hives was a good way to do it. So to accuse the big beeks of not caring about their bees isn't fair. I'm not saying guys make the right choices all the time, but it simply isn't true that guys like the ones we are discussing don't know how to keep bees alive.
Being from ON I'm at the hotbed of this issue. Why is that? Well in spring 2012 there were thousands of hives that good decimated from dust while planting. That's a fact. Not a myth. No one is disputing that, not even Randy O or Bayer.
At that time no one here even knew what a neonic was, nor could we pronounce it properly without looking stupid. However, there were plenty of us that didn't see the same issues. But that was mostly because of geography and the time in which some of us got our bees out of areas which would have been problematic. (we moved for pollination). Being on the OBA BOD I have been heavily involved in the process for the past 4 years, and can truthfully say I have not always been supportive of the direction the board has gone. In fact, I was the Canadian Honey council delegate for one year, and was removed by our BOD from that position because I wasn't hard line anti-neonic enough from the majority of the BOD.
In the past 4 years I have read more studies and been exposed to more research that I ever thought possible. Which makes me so fickle. I see good studies on both sides. Someone like Krupke, isn't stupid. His research is real. But someone like Randy, (and others) who are pro neonic, find results that would support systemics. I don't know what to believe.
Myself, I have not seen anything in my bees (we run many thousands) that I can say is certainly neonic damage. But I have definitely seen with my own eyes acute damage in my friends hives, many times. (planting dust) What remains confusing are the claims of chronic damage. There are 2 beeks in ON who are suing Bayer as well. (I don't support that action) Both of these guys are quiet and soft spoken, and have a long history of keeping bees alive. They're not the guys that desire publicity and want to be in the papers. But, I'm not saying they're correct at all in their assumptions to why their bees continue to die. They are in heavy corn in soy areas, and are both used to making good crops.
Like Roland, It's the summer loses that has me confused. Why are the bees dying off in season, and at quite high rates? I can tell you, it's certainly not because I'm after a money grab that we lose 20% plus during that summer, because there is way more money in having those bees alive. So let's not go down that path. I know of not one single beek in Canada using off label mite treatments, so that isn't the issue. But I'm also not convince it's neonics either.
Here are some facts:
-Guys that used to have very low loses started to get very high loses consistently since 2007.
- 2003 was the first time bees went from ON to the Maritimes for blueberry pollination, and the number of loads moving have increased substantially every year since then. This brings with it a desire to make early splits in the season with imported queens to get max number of hives to the blueberry fields in late may. Could the mid season loses be from crap we picked up in the blueberry fields?? Lots of guys are losing bees that don't do to blueberries too.
- the date of increased demand for blueberry hives also mirrors the exponential upward use of neonics on all crops, BUT also mirrors the upward price trend on cash crops. As we all know vast areas of marginal land have been converted to crop land and in most areas it's corn and soy. This also perfectly mirrors BSE in Canada and much pasture and hay land being lost due to very low cattle prices.
So really I don't know why I am writing all of this. Mostly just to say I'm so confused. Am I making very good money in bees? yes. Would I be doing way better without these continued loses? Absolutely! Are our mite levels really low? yup, we have never tested over 3% in the past 5 years. Can I point the finger at neonics? not really.
a couple of more facts:
-neonics show up in pollen of many plants, including corn and soy. But most studies show that it is below the levels that kill bees. Whatever that means.
-yes, neonics have replaced more "hardcore" pesticides, at least we are told they are not too hardcore. (Did OP's show up on corn pollen that bees forage? When a whole crap load of bees got killed from a spray incident, did they bring that chemical back to the hive and store it in the pollen and bee bread? that's what happens with neonics. )
- we all know that bees do better on a great flow in mid to late summer. This is what the guys in AB and SK and MB who have because of the gazillion acres of canola have...a great flow every year. There are also a gazillion tons of neonics on canola, but no one out there seems to be complaining of mid season loses or exceptionally high winter loses. Is this because neonics "don't kill bees"? Is it because the strong flow helps the bees "clean up" and not fall prey to the many virus and that are effecting hives in "non flow" areas?
I don't friggin' know! But I want to!
I will continue to keep bees, and it seems as though I'll continue to do it successfully without without a ban. (which by the way I am not advocating for) But there is no doubt that many things changed since the mid 2000's, and I for one would actually like to know what it is. I mean really know. Not just guess.
I hope my points were clear. I am not calling for a ban on anything. I am not into slamming people online. And I don't think we are in the middle of a beepocalypse, but it is not as easy to keep bees alive as it was 10 years ago, and I believe there are many reasons for that. One which could very well be neonics, but I don't think it's the only smoking gun.
Last edited by B&E; 01-25-2016 at 01:06 PM.
the sad part is that no one side has been well represented. Beeks are suing, bleeding hearts are crying in the papers, and pro neonic beeks are accusing questioning beeks of being poor beekeepers or money grabbing swine.
The most important things for me right now is to keep my bees alive, and keep good relationships with land owners and also big ag. Without pollination, or places to put our bees for honey, they might as well be dead.
Could the queen stock be the cause of some of these losses? For example, queens that have mated with drone stock that has a lot of AHB genetics might be producing stock that can't withstand cold climates.
Dominic, if you're planting and then watering the field with so much water, it runs off and fills ditches, you're extremely bad at farming, just saying. Zhiv, I liked your pictures, is there one with Canola represented? B & E, some good points. I'm on the fence as well, but I don't think definitive correlation is being made anywhere which makes the issue that much tougher. How are the EU bees doing since the 2 year ban? Also, hasn't the last few winters been extremely tough in some of the Canadian areas in question? The only issue I have with Zhiv's over lay, is bees do not work field corn heavily, unless it's the only thing around to work I guess, which then leads to perhaps a nutrition factor during key forage months. I had my first colony near 20 acres of Pioneer experimental plots, they sprayed it weekly and it wasn't pleasant stuff, and who knows what kind of seed treatment was on it. Although the field sounded like it was buzzing, you didn't see many bees actually working the stuff, but plant some sweet corn and they'll be all over those tassles.
This video (I think from 2015) presents some very interesting things going on with bees and commercial pollinators- things many of us would never has considered if we've never done it. It is from the perspective of a State Apiarist from a State that brings in commercial pollinators.
If you are short on time, skip to about minute 50. And thanks to the folks in NJ who post lots of great videos.
Thanks for posting that Karla. Interesting listen.
Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...
Are the concentrations dangerously high? Maybe, maybe not. Issues don't limit themselves to acute toxicity, and chronic toxicity is much harder to properly evaluate. However, the one thing it does is show that crops aren't the only issue, which shows how absolutely ridiculous the latest EPA assessment on imidacloprid (and how Canada's new position) are outrageously incomplete: you can't just look at the concentration of the pesticide in the crop's nectar to determine if the product is safe or not when 97% of the imported neonics didn't come from the treated crops themselves, but rather by the leaching off treated crops onto wildflowers, where the concentrations are often higher than in the crop itself. I also don't have access to the article right now to see just how high the concentrations got in those wild flower samples, and if they surpassed the amount required for observable harm.
As above, the problem with corn isn't (mostly) with the concentrations in the pollen, despite what some of the half-wits at the regulatory agencies try to claim. The problem is that corn is an annual that is planted as early in the season as possible, despite needing a lot of heat for vigorous growth, when heavy precipitations are common, and right when important bee plants are blooming (dandelion). The neonics get leeched off the seed (for the most part) and go to the ditches where the dandelions and other perennials are, and then when the bees forage those they get their shot of neonics. Plus, since they are addictive, the neonics encourage the bees to forage the contaminated parcels over clean ones. Meanwhile, the crop (corn), that represent the majority of the surfaces, offers next to nothing to the bees in compensation, other than a very un-nutritious pollen. Canola, in comparison, offers a lot of nectar and very nutritious pollen. And while corn requires a lot of heat to start germinating and growing, canola requires much less, thus probably absorbs a great portion of the neonics. And that's not to mention fall-seeded canola, where the colonies are already strong and where the laced nectar is probably going into what the beekeeper is going to harvest as honey, and thus exported from the hive.
That article didn't mention any corn, only canola. Also, there were a lot of inconsistencies in data and reporting that the comments and response to the comments discuss which just leads to a bunch of speculation from both parties, no real science.
" I don't see anyone on here bashing Mendes. Why? Cause we all respect him. Yet he has been pretty vocal on this topic in the past too."
You don't see anyone bashing Dave Mendes, because A. He wasn't a subject of the article under review. B. No one is bashing anyone. C. Dave Mendes doesn't own any bees anymore.
"But someone like Randy, (and others) who are pro neonic, find results that would support systemics. I don't know what to believe."
I think Randy Oliver would find it interesting to learn that he is proneonic. I believe that he would dispute that claim and say that he is proscience and interested in finding the truth of the matter before making declarations.
B&E, how do you like the Ontario Pollinator Protection Plan? Do you think it is going to help protect bees and beekeepers in Ontario?
sqkcrk: with regards to my comment on Randy. I wasn't using proneonic as a negative term. Just an observation. I have spoken with him at length. He has made many comments supporting the use the neonics and is even featured on a video on Bayer's website. I haven't heard or seen written anything by him that would suggest limiting their use. That being said, I have not read the ABJ's from 2015 yet. That sounds pretty pro. And again, that's not a dirty term, although most guys in the beekeeping world read it as an insult. And yes, he is pro science I agree.
Are you referring to the new plan that was released on Friday? I haven't actually had a chance to read all of it yet. However, I don't see how reducing the use of any insecticide, neonic or not, can be bad for bees and pollinators.
I know a farmer who has gone back to conventional beans exclusively. (4000 acres) Not because he is "trying to save the bees" but because he "used to make more money and was a better farmer" when he saved his own seeds and paid closer attention to what is going on in his fields, rather than relying on the miracle powers of Cruiser MAX!
In NY State the NYS Highway Authority does a lot, and has done a lot over the last ten years, to preserve, promote, and maintain plants that are beneficial to pollinating insects. Which NYS Beekeepers maintain is what the State should do to help protect pollinators and help produce better honey crops. Whether there is any evidence of cause and effect is not known. I don't know how anyone would figure that out.
So, by window dressing I mean that the State is doing what beekeepers say it aught to to enhance forage without any evidence that what people assume is correct or not.
I guess I would be called pro neonic too. Where I live I would not be able to raise bees before neonics. The way they sprayed to control aphids and Colorado Potato Beetle, every 7-10 days with airplanes emitting fogs of organophospates and carbamates, bees had no chance. Neonics are not great, but they are way better than what they replaced.