Update #4 ·

Update on May 30, 2013

New Report Details Mounting Bee Losses (http://www.beyondpesticides.org/dailynewsblog/?p=10504)
Beyond Pesticides, May 13, 2013

According to preliminary results of a survey (http://beeinformed.org/2013/05/winter-loss-survey-2012-2013/)
by the Bee Informed Partnership, 31.1 percent of managed honey bee
colonies in the U.S. were lost during the 2012/2013 winter.  Though
these preliminary loss reports are similar to the past six year average
of 30.5 percent, the new loss numbers represent a 42 percent increase
compared to the previous winter. Survey participants indicate that they
consider a loss rate of 15 percent as "acceptable," but 70 percent of
participants suffered losses greater than this. With continued winter
bee losses of over 30%, and concern whether there will be enough bees to pollinate U.S. crops (http://m.npr.org/news/Science/181990532)
this year, beekeepers and environmentalists say it is imperative that
regulators act by banning the neonicotiniod pesticides that have been
implicated in the global decline of honey bee populations.

In addition to this national report, several state level incidents of
large scale honey bee colony losses have been reported. In a recent
incident in Florida, (http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=5fd2b1aa990e63193af2a573d&id=d35e939f49)citrus
groves experienced an acute foliar poisoning that resulted in severely
damaged colonies. Oranges had an early bloom this year, and were still
blooming near the end of April. One beekeeper's colonies suffered
immense losses due to drift from an application of Montana 2F, animdacloprid (http://www.beyondpesticides.org/gateway/index.php?pname=imidacloprid.php)-based
insecticide, from a neighboring grove. 1000-1500 colonies were killed,
while 10,000-13,000 colonies suffered severe damage. Citrus trees were
sprayed while bees were actively foraging during daylight hours. The
foliar application directions on Montana 2F's label (http://www.keystonepestsolutions.com/labels/Montana_2F.pdf)clearly
state, "Do not apply during bloom or within 10 days prior to bloom or
when bees are actively foraging." Imidacloprid is one of the neonicotinoid (http://www.beyondpesticides.org/pollinators/chemicals.php)pesticides that have been linked to dramatic bee declines. Recently, the European Commission voted to ban the use of these chemicals (http://www.beyondpesticides.org/dailynewsblog/?p=10368).

In Maryland (http://www.baltimoresun.com/features/green/blog/bs-md-honey-bees-killed-20130507,0,2979081.story?page=1),
close to 60 percent of the managed hives died during the 2012/2013
winter, according to the state bee inspector and local beekeepers. "This
is the worst I've seen in 35 years. We didn't all get stupid at once. I
don't know what it is, but it isn't our stupidity," said Steve
McDaniel, a 35-year beekeeper and retired chemist. Maryland depends on a
robust honey bee population to pollinate a large volume of the state's
crops.  These crops — apples, melons, berries and pumpkins — are valued
in excess of $40 million.

In Canada (http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/bees+creating+buzz+Canada/8363028/story.html),
beekeepers are calling on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to allow
commercial beekeepers to import package bees from the U.S. because of
higher than expected bee losses this past winter. Some beekeepers
reported average losses of up to 50 percent of their hives. Though
weather is seen as a major factor in the wintering losses of Canadian
honey bees, the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists also
argue that the use of systemic pesticides are connected to these
dramatic bee loses.

In study (http://www.moraybeedinosaurs.co.uk/neonicotinoid/Sublethal%20doses%20of%20imidacloprid%20decreased%20size%20of%20hypopharyngeal%20glands%20and%20respiratory%20rhythm%20of%20honeybees.pdf) after study (http://beyondpesticides.org/pollinators/documents/Palmeretal_2013_Neonicscauseneuronalinactivationinhoneybees_NatComm.pdf)
pesticides, specifically neonicotinoids, have been linked to bee
declines. These chemicals are used extensively in U.S. agriculture,
especially as seed treatment for corn and soybeans. Agriculture is not
the only concern however, as pesticide applications in home gardens,
city parks, and landscaping are also prime culprits in the proliferation
of these harmful chemicals. The systemic residues of these pesticides
not only contaminate pollen, nectar, and the wider environment, but have
repeatedly been identified as highly toxic to honey bees.

Recently, Beyond Pesticides launched a comprehensive campaign called BEE Protective (http://www.beyondpesticides.org/pollinators/index.php) to
support nationwide local action aimed at protecting honey bees and
other pollinators from pesticides.  BEE Protective is releasing a
variety of educational materials, including a BEE Protective Habitat Guide (http://www.beyondpesticides.org/pollinators/documents/BeeProtectiveHabitatGuide.pdf),
providing information on creating native pollinator habitat in
communities, eliminating bee-toxic chemicals, and other advocacy
tools. The campaign also encourages municipalities, campuses, and
homeowners to adopt policies that protect bees and other pollinators
from harmful pesticide applications and create pesticide-free refuges
for these beneficial organisms. In addition to scientific and regulatory
information, BEE Protective also includes a model community pollinator resolution  (http://www.beyondpesticides.org/pollinators/documents/PollinatorDeclaration_resolution2013.pdf)and a pollinator protection pledge (http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/7106/p/salsa/web/common/public/signup?signup_page_KEY=7574).

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