Honey bee populations begin to improve

by Alan Bjerga, Bloomberg

The number of U.S. honeybees, a critical component to agricultural production, rose in 2017 from a year earlier, and deaths of the insects attributed to a mysterious malady that’s affected hives in North America and Europe declined, according a U.S. Department of Agriculture honeybee health survey released Tuesday.

The number of commercial U.S. honeybee colonies rose 3% to 2.89 million as of April 1, 2017, compared with a year earlier, the Agriculture Department reported. The number of hives lost to Colony Collapse Disorder, a phenomenon of disappearing bees that has raised concerns among farmers and scientists for a decade, was 84,430 in this year’s first quarter, down 27% from a year earlier. Year-over-year losses declined by the same percentage in April through June, the most recent data in the survey. Continue reading

European study shows various results with neonic-honey bee interactions

A study in Europe that tested bee health in neonicotinoid treated fields had different results in two countries, supporting previous statements that bee declines are the result of multiple factors.

The study, which was the largest field study ever conducted on bees and neonics, was featured in Science this past week. Scientists monitored bees in 33 locations in the United Kingdom, Germany and Hungary. Bees in each location were in canola fields, some of which had been treated with neonics and fungicides and others that were treated only with fungicides. Continue reading

Neonicotinoid Insecticides: Efficacy, Non-target Effects, and Best Management Practices

What will you learn?

Participants will learn about the efficacy and nontarget effects of neonicotinoid seed treatments and management practices that should be considered to minimize adverse impacts on pollinators and other nontarget organisms. Learn more…

Presented by USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service – Science and Technology

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EPA Releases Four Neonicotinoid Risk Assessments for Public Comment

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has published preliminary pollinator-only risk assessments for the neonicotinoid insecticides clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran and also an update to its preliminary risk assessment for imidacloprid, which we published in January 2016. The updated imidacloprid assessment looks at potential risks to aquatic species, and identifies some risks for aquatic insects.

The assessments for clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran, similar to the preliminary pollinator assessment for imidacloprid showed: most approved uses do not pose significant risks to bee colonies. However, spray applications to a few crops, such as cucumbers, berries, and cotton, may pose risks to bees that come in direct contact with residue. In its preliminary pollinator-only analysis for clothianidin and thiamethoxam, the EPA has proposed a new method for accounting for pesticide exposure that may occur through pollen and nectar. Continue reading

AgriLife Research entomologist testing potato psyllids for insecticide resistance

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

A growing resistance of potato psyllids to the neonicotinoid classification of insecticides has Dr. Ada Szczepaniec, Texas A&M AgriLife Research entomologist in Amarillo, looking to the future.

The potato psyllid is a tiny insect with sucking, piercing mouthparts that transmits a disease called zebra chip and can cause tremendous losses to producers, Szczepaniec said. Producers have used the neonicotinoid insecticides to protect their solanaceous crops, mostly potatoes, in the past. Continue reading

Preliminary Imidacloprid Pollinator Risk Assessment Technical Briefing Webinar Slated for February 18

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold an online technical briefing on its preliminary pollinator risk assessment for imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid insecticide, on February 18, 2016, from 1PM to 2:30PM (Eastern Standard Time). Register for the webinar at https://epawebconferencing.acms.com/imidtechbriefreg/event/event_info.html. Continue reading

When neonicotinoids don’t control thrips, using more isn’t better

In Southeast Farm Press

Tobacco thrips resistant to neonicotinoid class of insecticides are  proving to be more of a problem for cotton producers in North Carolina and across the Southeast.

During the annual convention of the North Carolina Agricultural Consultants Association in Raleigh, George Kennedy, William Neals Reynolds distinguished professor of entomology from North Carolina State University, shared results of research conducted in 2014 and 2015 in the 30 counties where cotton is grown in North Carolina.  The neonicotinoid resistance research, which will continue this year, seeks to find answers to what is driving resistance and what can be done about it. Continue reading