Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 20 of 39 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,082 Posts
Re: "17 billion honey bees injured, killed...", Article featuring Kim Flottum.

Read something similar. Evidently there was some daytime spraying of DIY pesticide mixes there, and some locations got wiped out.

Not good news for later crops counting on those bees.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,229 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Re: "17 billion honey bees injured, killed...", Article featuring Kim Flottum.

So, why are 'The Usual Suspects' saying that increasing colony numbers is evidence that pesticides aren't having a major impact on beekeeping?

It looks like they certainly are and U.S. colony numbers are going to decline with the double punch of Almond pollination losses and a brutal winter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,053 Posts
Re: "17 billion honey bees injured, killed...", Article featuring Kim Flottum.

Bee losses are tragic for the guy losing them, but I can remember when commercial beekeepers from North Dakota quit going to pollinate Almonds because the pesticides hurt the bees so bad and started going to Texas, not to pollinate but to propagate. When you see that happening and when I see commercial beeks start wintering here instead of selling their bees to shaker operations in the fall; I will agree that almond pollination is a death sentence for bees.

That being said, a commercial beek here bypassed fruit pollination this year to come park his bees off the almonds in the snowbanks. That tells me something. The whole process is self regulating. When orchardists can't get needed bees due to their cultivation habits, they will adjust those habits.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
88 Posts
Re: "17 billion honey bees injured, killed...", Article featuring Kim Flottum.

Did anyone read this yet? 25% losses in California pollination.
This is very good news as it give beekeepers some economic leverage. You want to spray? Sure. Your cost per hive for pollination services will be oh....$750. I.e. the replacement cost of the hive and transportation as it will have to be assumed that spraying will kill the hive. And a little something extra... Just Because. So spray to your hearts content, but be prepared to pay.

To heck with more regulation that benefits the regulated. Nothing like a nice, fat check heading to beekeepers to motivate a change in behavior.

Everybody will be happy. The EPA can continue to play footsie with the pesticide industry, the state regulators can bend over backwards, forwards, or into a pretzel. It won't matter. Just be prepared to pay, pay, pay for those pollination services. So verified organic growers might be finding themselves in an enviable position for once. And beekeepers will win.

So what can we say? It's nothing personal. Just business. :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,432 Posts
Re: "17 billion honey bees injured, killed...", Article featuring Kim Flottum.

And a little something extra... Just Because.
Well, for one thing they'll have to replace all the comb which is now probably contaminated with pesticides.

Then I'd taking on a mental anguish fee for the heartbreak of losing your little pals.

Burial, disposal... Oh yeah, that adds up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
88 Posts
Re: "17 billion honey bees injured, killed...", Article featuring Kim Flottum.

Then I'd taking on a mental anguish fee for the heartbreak of losing your little pals.

Burial, disposal... Oh yeah, that adds up.
Yup. Just think about the loss of companionship, mental anguish, miscellaneous compensatory damages, burial, memorial services....amazing what it would take to make the beekeeper whole.

That said, it really is time for beekeepers price the losses into the equation. Not just the migratory beekeepers, but the hobbyists. Why not have a bee adoption contract for bee sales? You want that sweet, locally produced nuc? Great. It'll be $150. Oh, and that's the discount price because you agree that the bees will not be used for commercial pollination services. And here's a contract for you to sign that outlines basic responsible beekeeping practices that you agree to. :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,404 Posts
Re: "17 billion honey bees injured, killed...", Article featuring Kim Flottum.

The commercial guys already have all the leverage they need. Unfortunately it will cost them a lot of money to use that leverage. If all the commercial guys would band together and not move a single colony of bees to any orchard next year, they could basically re-write the pesticide spraying guidelines for the EPA. Let the farmers take the loss of produce and the consumers pay the price as well. The USDA would quickly be asking the commercial bee business what guidelines they wanted to see implemented so commercial pollination could resume.

In this country, little has to do anymore with right and wrong. Now might is right, and money is right and the silence is wrong. The pollinators can fix this problem if they want to, but it will cost them a lot of money the first year. However, I bet they would make it all back the second year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,707 Posts
Re: "17 billion honey bees injured, killed...", Article featuring Kim Flottum.

I left a lot of money on the table and stayed out of the almonds this year. We did so for a number of reasons but first and foremost is that east Texas bees traditionally fare better through the months of February and March than do our "almond bees". Ironically, the first hand reports I have had from beekeepers that had hives in the almonds have been pretty good while the east Texas weather was really bad during the almond bloom. I have no doubt that there were some issues out there, though, there always are, but I am also not sure that I am completely buying the tone of this report, the sources, or the 25% figure. It's virtually impossible to get widespread accurate reporting of the bee condition coming out of almonds because they get dispersed so quickly and it takes a bit of time to accurately analyze the condition of the bees. It isn't squaring at all with what I have heard.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,229 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Re: "17 billion honey bees injured, killed...", Article featuring Kim Flottum.

Well, we won't know the score until the reports start being published.

What Kim Flottum has reportd is over a hundred thousand almond pollination colonies damaged/lost due to pesticide application.

That's news.

Jim, I'm glad you're O.K. and in position to work in earnest to replace those losses.
You should read 'The Buzz'.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Re: "17 billion honey bees injured, killed...", Article featuring Kim Flottum.

Just about anywhere in the United States that is agricultural there is a problem hope we can survive this carnage Basically its eco genocide and we sit here and watch it all happening.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,796 Posts
Re: "17 billion honey bees injured, killed...", Article featuring Kim Flottum.

From what I have read it was a tank mix. All pesticide labels were followed but the combined effects were not good for bees. Go figure.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
648 Posts
Re: "17 billion honey bees injured, killed...", Article featuring Kim Flottum.

Andrew, if what you say is true maybe you could give us more details. What was the tank mix?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,796 Posts
Re: "17 billion honey bees injured, killed...", Article featuring Kim Flottum.

from "Catch the Buzz" a service of Bee Culture magazine:

What Happens In Almonds Doesn’t Stay In Almonds. This Year’s Devastating Bee Kill In California Hurts Apples, Cranberries, Blueberries…and Beekeepers.
News Release From The Pollinator Stewardship Council.
The last two weeks the Pollinator Stewardship Council has received reports of bee kills at the end of the almond bloom. A meeting with EPA was held by Pollinator Stewardship Council and the American Beekeeping Federation, Monday, March 24 in Los Banos, California to discuss the pollinator losses during almond pollination. More than seventy beekeepers attended in person and on a conference call.
Bees were released from almond pollination, and beekeepers began to see the effects of a tank mix that caused dead adult bees, and dead, dying, and deformed brood. A poll taken of the seventy-five beekeepers at the meeting showed 80,000 colonies damaged: 75% of them severely damaged. Additional reports place an average loss of 60% of hives in almonds were impacted. Of that 60%, 40% lost adult bees and had dying brood, 20% of the hives were dead completely. These losses were experienced by beekeepers who wintered in California, as well as those who brought their bees into almonds from southern states.
The meeting addressed the bee kills in almonds, and the new label language for foliar applications of clothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, and the two new products tolfenpyrad and cyantraniliprole. (read that here) The majority of the meeting addressed the damages beekeepers suffered from a tank mix that included an insect growth regulator (IGR) and a fungicide. The tank mix was applied “per the label.” However, the IGR has decimated the ability of beekeepers to make splits for the next crop pollination, to breed queens, or to make packages of bees. Many beekeepers expressed grave concern that the tank mix was applied in one area, but honey bees from other orchards, under another grower’s pollination contract received damaged due to drift, and foraging range. Some of the bee damage was not evident until truckloads of bees returned to their southern homes. The effects of fungicides and IGRs were delayed just enough beekeepers did not realize the impact until their hives were released from pollinating almonds. Research has shown fungicides are detrimental to pollinators. (Fungicides can reduce, hinder pollination potential of honey bees http://westernfarmpress.com/fungicides-can-reduce-hinder-pollination-potential-honey-bees)
Research and experience has shown night applications of pesticides in almonds causes less damage to pollinators. Beekeepers at the Los Banos meeting stated they have been experiencing damage to their bees in almonds for six years. The damages decreased when growers applied products at night, or did not apply any products during the bloom; but this year some practices changed, and bees were heavily impacted. The impact was so great a few beekeepers said they would not return to almonds, as they cannot take these losses to their bees and their business.
The bee kills in almonds at the end of this season were due to products used “per the label.” The fungicides, the IGRs were all used per the label. The tank mixing of products were all used per the label. Directions on pesticide labels generally state the herbicide, fungicide, insecticide “is physically and biologically compatible with many registered pesticides, fertilizers or micronutrients . . . If you have no experience with the combination you are considering, you should conduct a test to determine physical compatibility. To determine physical compatibility, add the recommended proportions of each chemical with the same proportion of water as will be present in the chemical supply tank into a suitable container, mix thoroughly, and allow to stand for five minutes. If the combination remains mixed, or can be readily re-mixed, the mixture is considered physically compatible.” One beekeeper described tank mixing this way, “The pesticide label basically instructs you to take a quart jar and mix the products you want to use into the jar. If it does not ‘blow-up’ go ahead and mix the full chemicals and apply to the crop.” (Pesticide Mixtures Have Damaging Effects on Bees http://extension.psu.edu/pests/ipm/news/2013/pesticide-mixtures-have-damaging-affects-on-bees)
Last week we reported the EPA stated the new pesticide label language will now only be required for foliar applications of clothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, and the two new products tolfenpyrad and cyantraniliprole. At the Los Banos meeting the representatives from EPA stated they had not seen a letter from Mr. Jim Jones to the bee industry, and they were not aware of the issues the bee industry had concerning the new label language. (Jim Jones’ letter was posted on our Newslist and is available here again). EPA listened politely, but made no promise to do anything, stating that changing label wording is a long and drawn out process, and one that cannot be done quickly. Beekeepers on the other hand did make promises: promises to add a pesticide surcharge to pollination contracts next year; promises that if no enforceable change to labels is made before next years’ pollination to stay in Georgia or Florida and make honey in a safe environment rather than risk another season of severe hive damage. Beekeepers at the meeting asked EPA for two things: adding a statement on the label instructing applicators when and how to apply pesticides to not damage pollinators; and curtail the use of tank mixing.
Paramount Farms, the largest almond grower in the world, testified at the meeting they use no crop protection products during almond pollination season, and have found their yields improved when they made the decision to better time their pesticide use.
At the Los Banos meeting March 24 the beekeepers did a rough tally of total estimated losses. 1.7M colonies supplied by 1300 commercial beekeepers were needed to pollinate almonds. Even with the drought, all available honey bees were utilized for almond pollination. Of the 1.7M total colonies, it is estimated fifteen to twenty-five percent were damaged (dead, loss of brood, loss of adult foragers in full or in part) which equals 255,000 to 425,000 colonies of honey bees severely impacted in almonds. The conservative value of these losses is $63,750,000 to $106,250,000; however beekeepers are still assessing their damages. This figure does not include the loss of viable colonies to satisfy subsequent pollination contracts. This figure does not take into account the losses in selling bulk packages of honey bees, queens, or frames of brood to establish new hives. With severely damaged hives some beekeepers have been forced to cancel orders.
Almonds are the beginning of the crop pollination season. Almonds are the first crop honey bees pollinate. What happens to honey bees in almonds affects the ability of crop pollination services to apples, cranberries, canola, tangelos, blueberries, squash, watermelon, kiwi, plums, apricots, cherries, seed crops, and so much of our vegetables and fruit. One beekeeper who pollinates Washington apples after almonds was short 1200 hives due to his losses during almond pollination. What happens to honey bees in almonds does not stay in almonds; it affects how many bees are available to pollinate other crops, the cost of pollinating those crops, and the cost of the food you buy to feed your family.

The Pollinator Stewardship Council works with beekeepers to collect reports of bee kills across the U.S. in rural, suburban, and urban areas. Please contact the Pollinator Stewardship Council to file your bee kill report at 832-727-9492
832-727-9492 or [email protected] .
Call
Send SMS
Add to Skype
You'll need Skype CreditFree via Skype
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,095 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,707 Posts
Re: "17 billion honey bees injured, killed...", Article featuring Kim Flottum.

Well, we won't know the score until the reports start being published.

What Kim Flottum has reportd is over a hundred thousand almond pollination colonies damaged/lost due to pesticide application.

That's news.

Jim, I'm glad you're O.K. and in position to work in earnest to replace those losses.
You should read 'The Buzz'.
I keep up on things commercial. "A hundred thousand colonies damaged/lost" is certainly open to interpretation. My experience is that a pretty high percentage of colonies suffer some degree of damage (I presume from those "safe" fungicides) but that any hive which died out in the orchards probably wasn't very good going in. Frankly I haven't liked a lot of what I have seen coming out in recent years, and it's a big reason why I chose not to go. The winter had been a tough one and I just felt it would be prudent to keep my best hives where I could monitor them and not run the risks associated with two long hauls and possible exposure to something that might set them back. I have, however, talked to a number of different commercials that all reported to me that their bees were very strong coming out this year. I played the odds and probably guessed wrong this year, though we still ended up with more than enough bees for our needs.
This report just seems a bit alarmist to me and I sense it may be something of a counterpoint to a season in which there appeared to be plenty of strong hives in the orchards together with the recent NASS honey/bee report showing hive numbers nationwide have increased in the past year. Some folks just aren't satisfied unless there is bad news brewing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,978 Posts
Re: "17 billion honey bees injured, killed...", Article featuring Kim Flottum.

I left a lot of money on the table and stayed out of the almonds this year. We did so for a number of reasons but first and foremost is that east Texas bees traditionally fare better through the months of February and March than do our "almond bees".
Jim, forgive my ignorance, but what is it that you pollinate in East Texas that time of the year? Or are you parking your hives during that time?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,315 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
648 Posts
Re: "17 billion honey bees injured, killed...", Article featuring Kim Flottum.

In Canada we use a book that lists all pesticide tank mixes that are allowed with each individual product. I have a hard time believing this statement.

Directions on pesticide labels generally state the herbicide, fungicide, insecticide “is physically and biologically compatible with many registered pesticides, fertilizers or micronutrients . . . If you have no experience with the combination you are considering, you should conduct a test to determine physical compatibility. To determine physical compatibility, add the recommended proportions of each chemical with the same proportion of water as will be present in the chemical supply tank into a suitable container, mix thoroughly, and allow to stand for five minutes. If the combination remains mixed, or can be readily re-mixed, the mixture is considered physically compatible.” One beekeeper described tank mixing this way, “The pesticide label basically instructs you to take a quart jar and mix the products you want to use into the jar. If it does not ‘blow-up’ go ahead and mix the full chemicals and apply to the crop
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,707 Posts
Re: "17 billion honey bees injured, killed...", Article featuring Kim Flottum.

Jim, forgive my ignorance, but what is it that you pollinate in East Texas that time of the year? Or are you parking your hives during that time?
We, like many commercials, winter here and use the beautiful east Texas spring to rebuild and requeen our hives. Most everyone I have heard from is pretty much done splitting down their almond bees already.
 
1 - 20 of 39 Posts
Top