Tag-Archive for » neonicotinoids «

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 | Author:

Oregon Dept. of Ag issues temporary restrictions on dinotefuran after large bumblebee kill
Compiled by staff
Published: Jul 2, 2013

The Oregon Department of Agriculture estimates 25,000 bees are dead after feeding on blooms of linden trees that were treated with dinotefuran earlier in June, leading to a temporary ban on the pesticide, announced Thursday.

The ODA has determined the application of dinotefuran – which is part of a group of pesticides known as neonicotinoids – was directly related to the bee deaths. The application was originally intended to control aphids.

In implementing a temporary restriction on the pesticide, ODA said it’s “in abundance of caution” to avoid similar large bee kills.

ODA Director Katy Coba said the ban will be in effect “until such time as our investigation is completed and we have more information.” Specifically, the ODA is allowed to enforce the ban for 180 days, after which time ODA is expected to complete its investigations.

Oregon Dept. of Ag issues temporary restrictions on dinotefuran after large bumblebee kill

Oregon Dept. of Ag issues temporary restrictions on dinotefuran after large bumblebee kill

The investigations will determine if the pesticide applications were in violation of state or federal laws.

The ODA restriction focuses on ornamental, turf, and agricultural pesticide products that are used by both professional applicators and homeowners. Products with the active ingredient dinotefuran registered in Oregon for other uses, such as flea and tick control on pets or home ant and roach control, are not affected by the restriction. ODA’s concern is focused on those uses that may impact pollinators.

Officials have also covered the treated trees with netting to prevent other bees from returning to the trees’ blooms.

Concern about bee health has been ongoing in both the U.S. and the E.U., where European Commission officials earlier this year instigated a full ban for three pesticides classified as neonicotinoids – clothianidin, thiametoxam and imidacloprid — on fears that the pesticides were harming pollinators.

The ban, which will be effective December 1, 2013, prohibits the sale and use of seeds treated with the three neonicotinoid pesticides in question, and restricts the use of the products to professionals.

The USDA has avoided issuing any similar enforcements, but has completed a joint study with the Environmental Protection Agency to address increasing incidences of bee deaths. The study found several factors have been contributing to bee decline, and categorized the issue as a “complex problem.”

According to the USDA, one out of every three bites of food depends on bees, butterflies, bats and other pollinators.
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Tagged: usdadepartment of agricultureEnvironmental Protection Agencyoregon department of agriculture

Sunday, January 31st, 2010 | Author:

Report on Bee Mortality and Bee Surveillance in Europe

from http://www.isaaa.org/kc/cropbiotechupdate/online/default.asp?Date=12/18/2009

AFSSA, the French Food Safety Agency completed a 218-page report on honey bee mortality and the ways that colony losses are monitored in Europe, December 8, 2009. The European Food Safety Authority commissioned the study and published the report. Initially, AFSSA set up a consortium of seven European bee disease research institutes in France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

The project covers 1) a description and critical analysis of surveillance programs that measured colony loss; 2) the collection and analysis of the epidemiological data sets on colony losses; and 3) a critical review and selection of relevant literature on the possible causes and risk factors of colony losses.

The researchers found that bee colony losses in Europe and the USA are multifactorial which include beekeeping and husbandy practices, environmental factors, biological agents as well as excessive use of pesticides. The interaction of these factors create stress, weaken bees’ defense system allowing pests and pathogens to kill the colony. Chemical agents

The debate on chemical agents is mainly concentrated on the agrochemicals used for crop treatments. Neonicotinoids are the focus of the greatest interest in the literature (imidacloprid, clothianidin and fipronil); other publications just mention “pesticides” in general, but certainly with an implicit consideration of neonicotinoids (Figure 75). Scientists are clearly divided on the role of these pesticides, as illustrated in Table 14. Although no involvement of pesticides has been proven for colony losses or CCD, a significant amount of pesticide residues are frequently found in the studies analysing bees, pollen and wax, usually at sublethal levels. A question arises, therefore, about the possibility for a conjunction of chemical residues present in the hive at sublethal concentrations, which may produce a lethal effect or clinical signs affecting the ability of colony to survive. Several authors mention these pesticides as factors contributing to stress or weakening of colonies which, once again, may “open the door” to other causative factors. Biological agents

A significant number of biological agents are reported to be involved in colony losses. Viruses are the biological agents most frequently mentioned (Figure 73). As more than 15 different viruses are known to infect bees, often without any clinical symptoms and since, co-infection with several viruses is not uncommon, they are the subject of much research. Due to their frequent presence, they are found in many colony losses cases where it is very difficult to determine whether they are at the origin of the losses, or just co-factors. Of the eight viruses mentioned in the literature, IABPV is the most frequently mentioned, and some scientists consider it as a “marker” of CCD in the United States (Figure 74). Varroa, Nosema spp and Acarapis woodi infections are the three other most commonly mentioned biological factors. Some scientists consider them to be causative factors in a certain amount of colony losses (for Nosema mainly in Spain). Others consider that they are co- factors, contributing to the stress of the colony or contributing to the “expression” of colony mortality as causative factor of death for a colony already weakened by other stress factors. This is why the factors “multiple infection” and “unidentified disease” appear in the assumptions made by the authors. All these hypotheses open the floor to a debate on possible treatments to prevent or cure these infections. This links together these biological agents with chemical factors and beekeeping practices because beekeeping practices and chemical treatments are used to control infections. The debate on the involvement of the various biological agents is clearly expressed in the author’s opinions summarised in Table 13 with a high rate of “possible involvement” and balanced reports between “unlikely” and “very likely”.Scientific Report on Bee Mortality and Bee Surveillance in Europe

3.2.4 Conclusion and perspectives

The work package on literature review allowed the development of a specific methodology for literature search and analysis. The “priority 1″ references selected and reviewed validate the objectivity of the literature search which is expressed through the variability and the balanced topics included. The results of this work regarding risk and causative factors involved in colony losses have to be taken as a “snap shot” of the scientific community’s opinion as they are today; these are also “time sensitive”, and evolving due to the amount of ongoing research which will likely lead to new findings and a better understanding of the factors involved in the coming months or years.

To summarise this picture, common consensus amongst the scientific community about the multi-factorial origin of colony losses in Europe and in the United States (in the two aspects of this term: combination of factors at one place and different factors involved according to place and period considered) suggests the following factors are important, namely: beekeeping practices (feeding, migratory beekeeping, colony husbandry, treatments applied and so forth), environmental  factors (climate, available forage, biodiversity, etc.), chemical factors (pesticides) or biological agents (Varroa, Nosema spp, etc.) which together create stress, weaken bees’ immune systems that then allow pests and pathogens to kill the colony (e.g. one or several parasites, viruses, etc.).

Figure78. Factors involved in colony losses

Questions remain about the sequence of events that lead to colony mortality, and future studies should be designed and conducted to address this:

- There are many inconsistencies in the ways in which “colony losses” are defined. Up to 17 different definitions for CCD in the literature. This means that involved persons may not always be referring to the same phenomenon, and this creates confusion when trying to explain the origin of what has been identified in the field. The described pathology is varied, with authors/using the same descriptions for different sets of circumstances. A specific study should be undertaken to clearly categorise and quantify the various expressions of colony losses in the field. This study will be closely linked to the strengthening of surveillance systems;

- High concentrations of pesticides have rarely been identified in relation to colony losses (CCD in USA and winter colony losses in Europe) although acute events of pesticide toxicity are well described during the production season (and clearly differentiated from CCD and winter colony losses). However, the questions of possible synergistic effects of various pesticides and the effect of chronic exposure to sublethal doses of pesticides remains, and requires further investigation;

- Biological agents such as parasites, viruses or bacteria, alone or in combination, have clearly been identified as important factors in colony losses. Nevertheless, there is still a lack of knowledge about the exact mechanisms and/or interactions involved, that must also be addressed;

- Even though the multifactorial origin of colony losses is well acknowledged, the respective role of each factor as a risk or causative agent is unknown, and no hierarchy of relative threat posed by each one has been established. These matters require further investigation using appropriate epidemiological studies (case control and longitudinal studies).


This bee surveillance project sought information on both the prevalence of honey bee colony losses, and the surveillance systems respectively in 27 European countries. Through a standardised questionnaire, each of the surveillance systems collecting these data was evaluated. In addition, a thorough literature search of the existing databases, as well as relevant grey literature about causes of colony losses was completed, and the literature evaluated.

The main conclusions from project activities can be summarised as follows:

  • General weakness and high variability of most of the surveillance systems in the 25 systems investigated;
  • Lack of representative data at country level and comparable data at EU level for colony losses;
  • Common consensus of the scientific community about the multifactorial origin of colony losses in Europe and in the United States and insufficient knowledge of causative and risk factors for colony losses.

From these finding the consortium makes the following recommendations:

1. Implementation of a sustainable European network for coordination and follow-up of surveillance, and research on colony losses to underpin monitoring programmes;

2. Strengthen standardization at European level by harmonization of surveillance systems, data collected and by developing common performance indicators;

3. Build on the examples of best practice found in existing surveillance systems on communicable and notifiable diseases already present in some countries;

4. Undertake specific studies that build on the existing work in progress to improve the knowledge and understanding of factors that affect bee health (for example stress caused by pathogens, pesticides, environmental and technological factors and their interactions) using appropriate epidemiological studies (case control and longitudinal studies);

5. The set up of the coordination team at European level. This is a crucial issue and the coordination team should be organized in such a way so as to ensure its sustainability and to enable effective surveillance programme activities at the European level.

Complete report attached and also here: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/scdocs/scdoc/27e.htm

When their link breaks, download the PDF here: Scientific Report on Bee Mortality and Bee Surveillance in Europe

Monday, March 09th, 2009 | Author:

This blog gets a fair amount of traffic, and this commentary on “colony collapse disorder” from a well-known pollination broker in California deserves attention. Also interesting is to read what he had to say about the idea of “beekeepers receiving government subsidies” almost 10 years ago in 1999. This topic is current again in the news.




Joe Traynor

The following is distilled from the reams of disparate dispatches from the CCD front. I have tried to condense this mass of information into a coherent whole. None of what follows is original — all has been expressed in one form or another by others.

When CCD first came on the stage in 2006-2007, a number of possible causes entered the stage at, or close to, the same time:

Drought in many areas
Difficulty in controlling varroa mites
Nosema ceranae (believed to be widespread since at least 2006)
Decreased bee pasture + increased corn acreage
Chemical buildup in comb
Neonicotinoid pesticides

A good argument can be made for any one of these as the main, or sole cause of CCD; a better argument for a combination of two or more. If only one of the above had occurred, it would have been much simpler to either designate or eliminate it as the cause of CCD.

Based on field reports, CCD can devastate a given apiary in a short period of time, sweeping from one end to the other, leaving previously populous colonies with only a handful of bees and a queen. Since rapid decline of an organism (consider, as many have, a honey bee colony to be an individual organism) is typical of a pathogen, current thinking is that a pathogen, either N. ceranae or a virus (or a combination of both) is the basic cause of CCD.

If a virus causes CCD, is it a new “super” virus, or one of the known bee viruses – Kashmir, DWV, APV et al. — or perhaps a mutation of a known virus to a more virulent form? We don’t know, but assuming that a virus causes CCD allows us to speculate on remedial measures.

Consider other CCD-like problems in humans and plants:

Main Vector
W.Nile virus

In each of the above instances, the Target can withstand the Vector in the absence of the Pathogen – mosquitoes are a minor concern to us if they don’t harbor a pathogen; without a READ THE REST…

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009 | Author:

First UK supermarket chain – and Britain’s biggest farmer – to prohibit chemicals implicated in the death of over one-third of British bees

Alison Benjamin

guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 28 January 2009 11.40 GMT

The Co-op today became the first UK supermarket to ban the use of a group of pesticides implicated in billions of honeybee deaths worldwide.

It is prohibiting suppliers of its own-brand fresh produce from using eight pesticides that have been connected to honeybee colony collapse disorder and are already restricted in some parts of Europe.

The Co-op said it will eliminate the usage of the neonicotinoid family of chemicals where possible and until they are shown to be safe. The Co-op has over 70,000 acres of land under cultivation in England and Scotland, making it the largest farmer in the UK. Since 2001, it has already prohibited the use of 98 pesticides under its pesticide policy.

Simon Press, senior technical manager at the Co-op group said: “We believe that the recent losses in bee populations need definitive action, and as a result are temporarily prohibiting the eight neonicotinoid pesticides until we have evidence that refutes their involvement in the decline.”

Laboratory tests suggest that one of the banned chemicals, imidacloprid, can impede honeybees’ sophisticated communication and navigation systems. It has been banned in France for a decade as a seed dressing on sunflowers. Italy, Slovenia and Germany banned neonicotinoids last year after the loss of millions of honeybees. And the European Parliament voted earlier this month for tougher controls on bee-toxic chemicals.

Read rest: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jan/28/bees-coop-pesticide

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008 | Author:

Today’s juicy find on da Net delivered via google news alert came from a little story in the Meadville Tribune which included a reference to MAAREC, “a regional group focused on addressing the pest management crisis facing the beekeeping industry in the Mid-Atlantic Region.”

“The focus of MAAREC research has been on the identification of alternatives to chemical controls and promotion of less reliance on chemical pesticides for mite control. (More) http://maarec.cas.psu.edu/

New On This Site:

  • New! “How to Live With Black Bears” by Craig Cella, June 2005 Am. Bee Journal (Part 1, Part 2)
  • New! Participate in NASA sponsored climate and scale hive study (3/11/2008)
  • New! Pesticide Residue Testing (3/11/2008) - (see copy of PDF below)
  • New! Online Beekeeping Course – University of Delaware (3/11/2008)
  • New! Häagen-Dazs recently presented a gift to Penn State to support entomology research and education on the honey bee crisis. (press release) The ice cream company has unveiled a new interactive website promoting honey bee education and research on colony collapse disorder. (2/22/2007)
  • Mid-Atlantic Beekeepers’ IPM Priorities Survey


Pesticide Analysis of Honey Bee Hive Products and Matrixes

Many beekeepers have expressed an interest in having their hive products or other materials within the hive, such as pollen, wax or nectar, tested for pesticide residues. Because these pesticide analyses are costly, we are working with potential funding agencies to generate monies that would allow us to share the cost of the analysis with beekeepers. This program to share the cost of the analysis would have additional benefits. The information from individual samples would become part of a large centralized, and confidential database maintained at Penn State. Pesticide preparation

We could then provide individual beekeepers with their information in light of all samples analyzed up until that point in time (their levels compared to the average levels in the entire data base). We could also provide additional information about the pesticides detected, such as their relative toxicity to bees (LD50).

To date we do not have the monies to fund this program, however we are working to obtain these funds. In the meantime, beekeepers who wish to have samples analyzed can send them directly to the USDA-AMS-National Science Laboratory (see directions below). If you are willing to allow your data to be available to the Penn State research group working on pesticides for inclusion into the overall database, please state this in writing when you send your sample(s) to the NSL. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Maryann Frazier at mfrazier@psu.edu or by phone at 814-865-4621.

Direct testing through the USDA-AMS-National Sciences Lab

USDA-AMS-National Science Laboratory (NSL)
801 Summit Crossing Place, Suite B
Gastonia, NC 28054

The NSL can provide fee-for-service pesticide residue testing of honey bee hive products, including honey, wax, pollen, royal jelly, bees, brood, and bee bread. We can also test other sample types upon request and consultation.

The fee schedule is as follows: Comprehensive pesticide residue testing of 170 pesticides and metabolites – $252.00

Focused pesticide residue testing of Amitraz and its metabolites (2,4-dimethyl aniline and 2,4-dimethylphenyl formamide), Coumaphos and its metabolites (Coumaphos oxon, Chlorferon and Potasan), and Fluvalinate – $126.00

Samples can be submitted directly to the laboratory address above with the attention to Roger Simonds.

The information needed for any sample submittal is as follows:
• Sample type
• Unique identifier
• Type of testing desired
• Contact information of sample submitter

The results will be reported directly to the sample submitter unless permission is given in writing with the sample that PSU or any other party is to also receive the results.

The sample size should be no less than 1 gram if possible, and preferably greater than 10 grams. A larger sample size is more representative and also allows us to subsample and save some of the original material in case a re-extraction is necessary due to a problem during analysis. Samples should be submitted in very clean, leak-proof, crush-proof (preferably not glass), containers.

Does anyone know of other pesticide testing labs and pricing? Comment here.

Amitraz Tick collar
Etofenprox and Methoprene collar
ZODIAC pet warning… yikes!
Carbaryl flea collar
Permethrin Flea collar
Propoxur flea collar

Incidentally, I was in a feed store/hardware store in Mendocino County, CA on March 1, and noticed the flea collars, and remembered reading about neonicotinoids being suspected of lowering honey bee immunity and causing “CCD” and how they are in flea collars and pet products. Well, I took some pics for later research. Turns out fipronil is the active ingredient in FRONTLINE cream, and that was a substance banned in France in 2004 for killing bees! Is this substance under EPA and public scrutiny? Imagine where all those used collars end up… landfills, garbage cans, places where insects and worms are supposed to thrive and do the work of breaking down our waste. Imagine all the places your dogs and cats wander around outdoors, laying, rubbing against, scratching away hairs that contain residues of this chemical. How long does the chemical survive? Is it one of those found in water supplies across the U.S. by the Associated Press Investigative team (followup)? Who’s got a report back on the EPA status of this “active ingredient, fipronil?” A 10 second google search found this public discussion… Comment, please.

Flea collar with fipronil - product name “FRONTLINE”