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NSERC-CANPOLIN is pleased to launch floral calendar for all of Canada.
Monday, March 31, 2014

Honey & Pollen Plants for Canada`s Beekeepers

An Annotated Floral Calendar  

 

www.beeflowerseasoncan.ca

 

(A mobile version of the website is also available - click here )

 

The electronic floral calendar offers information on over 270 honey and pollen plants found across Canada, including the type of resource it provides for bees (nectar, pollen, resins) and photos to aid in identification. The list of plants is easily searched by the scientific and common names or by blooming season (Spring, Summer, Fall).

 

Why Make a Floral Calendar?  Beekeepers are naturally interested in the flowers that provide sustenance for their bees.  Some flowers provide mostly nectar which the bees make into honey, others produce only pollen which is the protein source for bee nutrition, and most produce both.  Beekeepers find it useful to know what flowers are in bloom and when in their area of operation.  Books on the floral resources used by honeybees have always been part of beekeeping lore, and the new website makes this information readily available to anyone with internet access. 

 

The new site builds on the floral calendar previously created for Ontario beekeepers that was developed with funding from Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and launched in late 2013.  The expanded national version was created with in-kind support from NSERC-CANPOLIN and Seeds of Diversity, which is the official home of Pollination Canada.


Canadian Honey Council’s Submission to Health Canada’s call for comments on notice of intent NO12013-01
Monday, January 13, 2014

“ACTION TO PROTECT BEES FROM EXPOSURE TO NEONICOTINOID PESTICIDES”

The Canadian Honey Council represents over 8000 beekeepers managing over 700,000 colonies from across Canada. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has estimated that pollinators contribute over $2.3 billion to the Canadian economy. Honey bees and the protection of pollinators in general have taken a centre stage as a result of pesticide incidents and exposure and the CHC would like to express its appreciation for the work that the PMRA has, and continues to do. However, in certain regions of Canada, our beekeepers are suffering from the prophylactic use of seed treatments and Canada’s pesticide regulatory agency must take rapid action to reduce/eliminate the ongoing impacts of pesticide use on bees.

The Canadian Honey Council recognizes that growers, regulators, and beekeepers need to work together to mitigate risks and believes it is imperative that the use of neonicotinoid seed treatments must be reduced, and where problems exist, they must be addressed as quickly and efficiently as possible.  With support from growers and their organizations, the CHC would like to see implementation of integrated pest management procedures and a significant use reduction of neonicotinoids in those corn and soy growing areas where current problems have been identified.  This reduction should happen in the immediate future as the current situation has jeopardized many beekeeping operations.   Co-operative efforts for this to occur need to be undertaken immediately.

Comments concerning requiring the use of safer dust-reducing seed flow lubricants

The introduction of a new seed flow lubricant with lower dust emission is a positive point but may not be a definitive solution.  Although we are not privy to the testing results, we certainly hope that it lowers neonicotinoid levels in the environment, however, there could still be the possibility of the distribution for neonicotinoids through its systemic nature that warrants more investigation and study by PMRA.  The impacts of neonicotinoids on bees results from their overexposure to this new substance in numerous specific conditions. This overexposure results from both the extensive use of the products as protection on specific crops and it would appear, from the extended exposure period for the pollinators through the season.

Furthermore, while the new lubricant may theoretically reduce the number of acute toxicity incidents by lowering the amount of dust in the air, it may not be the case if the neonicotinoids are used in higher concentrations (Poncho 500 instead of Poncho 250). Bees will still be exposed though various routes like run off water, pollen or nectar at levels that may be problematic.  Again, more research is required to determine the extent but the time required to obtain the research must not interfere with the short term need to reduce the use of these pesticides.

There is a growing body of evidence that the neonicotinoid charge in the environment is building up with the years of continuous use and both the level of exposure and the impacts for the pollinators seem to be increasing particularly in corn and soy growing areas. For instance, there is an indication that bee intoxications caused by the water puddles, is an emergent problem.

Comments on requiring adherence to safer seed planting practices

While recognizing that beekeepers are not necessarily crop producers it is apparent that certain measures are vague: good practices are not specified. Promoting vague good practice measures is not an adequate answer when the problem results from overuse and not misuse. No misuse has been documented so far. The actual proposal focuses for good practices strictly on planting. While planting is indeed important, the focus must be enlarged and cover, upstream, the necessity or not to use neonicotinoid treated seeds. The first and most important good practice is to use neonicotinoid treated seeds (or other phytosanitary treatments) only after verifying for the presence of soil damaging pests at levels exceeding economical thresholds.

With the assistance and active involvement of farm organizations whose members are growers of crops that use treated seed, supported as well by the companies that developed and apply the product, crop producers must be convinced that accurate agronomic information pertaining to pests can be obtained in the fall.  That information can result in the planting of seed with or without pesticides and that their bottom line will not be adversely affected.  In conjunction with the options available to producers, seed companies should then be able to make available an array of products that are appropriate for the risk. The CHC strongly suggests that Integrated Pest Management procedures should actively be promoted by PMRA.

Comments on requiring new pesticide and seed package labels with enhanced warnings

Labeling is an important point, but here again the measure is too vague. The nature of the information on the label is of paramount importance. It should, at the very least, cover the following aspects:

a)  danger for the pollinators and routes of exposure (mentioning dust, foraging for water, nectar and pollen).

b)  mitigation measures to reduce dust emission (approved lubricant, other good practices refer to external document and/or website)

The Canadian Honey Council also feels that it would be very beneficial if there was strong and prescriptive of wording that recommended crop producers have agronomic testing done each fall to determine the need for purchase of treated seed.  This reinforces and educates producers while at the same time helps promote an integrated pest management system.

Comment on requiring updated value information be provided to support the continued need for neonicotinoid treatment on up to 100% of the corn seed and 50% of the soybean seed.

Data requested from the registrants on the need for continuous use of neonicotinoids must be obtained expeditiously and if it is not delivered in a timely manner, other peer reviewed science based research sources should be considered.  As PMRA states in the Notice of intent:  the use of neonicotinoids is unsustainable. The Canadian Honey Council recognizes that seed treatments used in an Integrated Pest Management strategy are an important tool for growers across Canada.  We strongly encourage PMRA to evaluate the need for massive prophylactic seed treatment particularly given the fact that in all likelihood systemic seed treatment will be the wave of the future.

Working cooperatively with all players in the industry, and where economics and agronomics dictate, the Canadian Honey Council would like to see the implementation of integrated pest management procedures and a rapid and important reduction in the use of treated seed in corn and soy.  Equally important is that we examine ways to reduce the risk of exposure to honey bees when use is required (according to specific technical standard).


Respectfully,

Rod Scarlett, Executive Director, Canadian Honey Council


Risk assessment for US Honey Bees CHC Response
Monday, November 25, 2013

November 25, 2013

Dr. Francine Lord,
Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer

Re: Risk Assessment for US Honey Bees

The Canadian Honey Council is the umbrella organization of the provincial associations and as such recognizes that there are many regional differences.  The feasibility of importing packaged bees from the United States is a divisive issue within the beekeeping community.  In some regions it represents a top priority, in others not so much.  We are pleased that the CFIA conducted a risk assessment and have asked for comments.  Whatever the final outcome, rest assured that the health and wellbeing of Canadian bee stock is a priority of the CHC.  

Because most provinces have their own Bee Act or something similar, the CHC has decided not to weigh in on the pros and cons of importing packages, but will ask that decisions be based on science and not just economics.  Each provincial association, in addition to individual beekeepers will be expressing their opinion independent from the national organization.  The CHC would, however, request that we be included in any consultation or decision making process on this issue.  

Once again, we would like to express our appreciation for the work CFIA has done on this file and encourage you to continually update the risk assessment as new information is received.

Respectfully,

 

Gerry McKee
Chair
Canadian Honey Council

 


Biosecurity
Thursday, November 7, 2013

By now many of you will have received a package of information in which there is a "Honey Bee Producer Guide to the National Bee Farm-Level Biosecurity Standard".  This document is the culmination of a coperative effort between beekeepers, Provincial Apiarists, and CFIA.  This tool will provide practical guidance, tidbits of information for beekeepers to keep in mind in order to assist them in ensuring their operations minimize the threat of disease, pests, pathogens and parasites.  It represents an important step in the growth of the industry as it recognizes the importance, and the vulnerability, of the bekeeping industry in Canada.  The Government of Canada should be congratulated for investing in our industry in such an important way.  It is hoped that beekeepers take the time to review the information and adopt those practices that are relevant to their operation.  If you would like a copy of the Guide, please see the see thefollowing:

Link to the National Bee Farm-Level Biosecurity Standard
www.inspection.gc.ca/animals/terrestrial-animals/biosecurity/standards-and-principles/national-bee-farm-level-bisosecurity-standard/eng/1365794112591/1365794221593

NEW

PMRA's detailed evaluation report on the Canadian 2012 honey bee mortalities
Download English version (6.9MB)
Download French version (7.5MB)


Statistical Overview of the Canadian Honey Industry - 2012
Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Horticulture and Cross Sectoral Division of the Sector Development and Analysis Directorate, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is pleased to present the latest report: “Statistical Overview of the Canadian Honey Industry - 2012”. This report has been prepared by Nili Katz and Anthony Ragoo.

The report provides a comprehensive summary of the honey industry statistics. It contains tables and charts about Canadian honey production, numbers of beekeepers and bee colonies, revenue, consumption and trade statistics.

Some highlights from the report are:
• The vast majority of bee colonies are kept in the Prairies, where long summer days are ideal for foraging. Consequently, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta collectively accounted for 85% of the country’s total honey production in 2012.
• The industry as a whole recorded a 15% annual increase in the value of honey produced, from $151 million in 2011 to $173 million in 2012.
• The past five years have seen a reversal of the decades-long trend of declining numbers of beekeepers. From 2008 to 2012, there has been a steady increase in the number of beekeepers, with 2012 figures showing an increase of 17% from 2008.
• All provinces except Saskatchewan saw an increase in the number of beekeepers in 2012.
• The country’s total number of colonies has also steadily increased from 2008, showing an overall growth of 24%.
• Total Canadian honey exports increased from $38.5 million in 2011 to $73.2 million in 2012, up 90%. This can be attributed an increase in exports to the United States and higher prices for honey in 2012.
• Canadian honey imports totaled $15 million in 2012.

The key resources used in the preparation of this document are Statistics Canada and Global Trade Atlas.


http://www.honeycouncil.ca/images2/pdfs/HoneyReport_2012_EN.pdf
http://www.honeycouncil.ca/images2/pdfs/HoneyReport_2012_FR.pdf


Notice of Intent: Action to Protect Bees from Exposure to Neonicotinoid Pesticides / Avis d’intention : Mesure visant à protéger
Monday, September 16, 2013

Health Canada is publishing a Notice of Intent to solicit comments on its intended measure to mitigate risks to pollinators related to the use of neonicotinoid treated corn and soybean seed. The document and contact information to submit comments can be found at:

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pest/part/consultations/_noi2013-01/index-eng.php
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pest/part/consultations/_noi2013-01/noi2013-01-eng.php

If you have any further questions please contact the Pest Management Information Service by email at pmra.infoserv@hc-sc.gc.ca or by phone at 1-800-267-6315.

 


CAPA Statement on Honey Bee Wintering Losses in Canada (2013)
Wednesday, August 28, 2013

In 2013, the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists (CAPA) National Survey committee developed a core set of questions that the Provincial Apiarists’ surveys could use to report on honey bee wintering losses in their province.  The following report is a summary of the reported winter losses from the provincial surveys.

View report here


CFIA Food inspection model
Monday, August 12, 2013

CFIA improved food inspection model available online

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has concluded consultations on an improved food inspection model and has posted the final document to the Agency’s external website. The model has been built by stakeholders and proposes a single and consistent approach to food inspection across all regulated food commodities – whether imported, exported or prepared domestically for sale across provincial borders or internationally.
 
To view the CFIA’s food inspection model, visit the CFIA website at http://www.inspection.gc.ca/eng/1372168382925/1372178578738

********************

Le modèle amélioré d’inspection des aliments de l’ACIA est disponible en ligne

L’Agence canadienne d’inspection des aliments (ACIA) a terminé les consultations sur le modèle amélioré d’inspection des aliments et a publié la version définitive du document sur le site externe de l’Agence. Le modèle a été établi par les intervenants et propose une approche unique et cohérente pour l’inspection de l’ensemble des produits alimentaires réglementés, qu’ils soient importés, exportés ou préparés au Canada à des fins de vente dans d’autres provinces et à l’échelle internationale.
 
Pour consulter le modèle d’inspection des aliments de l’ACIA, veuillez visiter le site Web de l’ACIA à l’adresse : http://www.inspection.gc.ca/fra/1372168382925/1372178578738

 


Fred Rathje and Willy Baumgartner Awards
Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Fred Rathje trophy is awarded annually to: "an individual who has made a significant positive contribution of innovative, creative and effective effort for the betterment of the Canadian honey bee industry".
The award is presented a the Annual General Meeting of the CHC
The Willy Baumgartner Memorial Award is bestowed to a member of the beekeeping community who may not be a beekeeper but, has made an outstanding contribution to support Canadian beekeeping.
Willy promoted integrated management approaches to beekeeping and his business, Medivet Pharmaceuticals donated tens of thousands of dollars to research – all without any expectations or restrictions.

Please send nominations to:
Rod Scarlett, chc-ccm@honeycouncil.ca
Deadline is Sept. 30th 2013.

 


CFIA changes to accepted construction materials
Tuesday, April 23, 2013

http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/reference/refere.shtml

Honey producers please note that the CFIA Reference Listing of Accepted Construction Materials, Packaging Materials and Non-Food Chemical Products in the future will not be maintained under Inspection Modernization. Registered/licenced food (honey) establishments will be required to obtain their own letters from manufacturers stating that their products are food grade and/or appropriate to use in a food establishment.

 


Canadian Honey Council Bee Incident Committee Recommendations
Monday, April 15, 2013

#1. Reporting an Incident
1)    The CHC recommends that the national toll-free telephone line for the reporting of pesticide incidents established by PMRA be more actively be promoted and publicized.    Once the initial call has been placed, the appropriate provincial authorities should be immediately informed.   If provincial authorities are contacted first, they should immediately notify PMRA of the incident.
2)    The CHC recommends that the PMRA and/or provincial authorities contact (or connect) the registrant to beekeepers, when that course of action has been approved by the beekeeper.
3)    The CHC recommends that Health Canada budget sufficient resources to PMRA in the long term to deal with bee incident reporting.
4)    The CHC recommends that the PMRA alert the CHC when an incident is reported.
5)    The CHC recommends that the PMRA revise their internal initial reporting policy to ensure that only after preliminary investigations are conducted, incident notification is posted on the web-site.  In this way only those incidents where there is a likelihood of pesticide involvement are published.
6)    The CHC recommends that the PMRA, representatives of the agricultural sector, and registrants draft appropriate guidelines to address gaps in the printed guidelines regarding bee incidents.
7)    The CHC recommends that the PMRA abandon attempts to conduct the AG Field Questionnaire based on its current format for 2013 or until such time as there have been more detailed discussions with landowners and beekeepers.
8)    In conjunction with the CHC, the PMRA incorporate comments made by the CAPA Chemical committee into the Bee Yard Questionnaire.
9)    The CHC recommends that the PMRA bee incident reporting form have a question asking the last time the bee yard was visited.
10)    The CHC recommends that the PMRA allow for a check box on the bee incident reporting form indicating that no investigation is to occur.  (For reasons of the grower/beekeepers relationship)
11)    The CHC recommends that the PMRA allow for a check off box on the bee incident reporting form permitting PMRA to share the specifics of the incident with the appropriate registrant.  
12)     The CHC, Provincial Associations and Provincial Apiarists provide information to beekeepers on what to look for in the event of a pesticide incident.

#2. Investigating an incident

1)    CHC recommends that PMRA, in cooperation with Provincial authorities, registrants, and the CHC develop a standard sample collection/investigation procedure so the necessary steps are taken for proper analysis. CHC should be consulted on this for the final draft.
2)    The CHC recommends that PRMA use provincial bee inspectors where available to carry out sample collection and investigation process in a knowledgeable and timely manner.  Further that the appropriate sample, collection, and investigation procedures be shared with beekeepers so that they can collect their own samples.
3)    The CHC recommends that Provincial authorities and Provincial Associations investigate the feasibility of developing an auditable course designed to teach beekeepers sample, collection and investigation procedures.
4)    The CHC recommends that PMRA should allow for resources to carry out the investigating process beyond 2013.
5)    The CHC should provide a list of qualified labs which a beekeeper could send samples to on their own.
6)    The CHC recommends that PMRA needs to set a timeline from when the samples are picked up and when the results will be available to the beekeeper.
7)    The CHC recommends that, if requested by beekeepers, registrants be allowed to carry out investigations.
8)    Considerable work has been done on the introduction of a Best Management Practices for investigating a potential pollinator incident.  Work needs to continue involving PMRA, CHC, Provincial Apiarists, crop production associations, registrants and other interested parties in order to formalize a national standard.

Analyzing toxicity levels of certain chemicals/ insecticides

1.    It is recommended that the CHC ask CropLife Canada (CLC) to collect and summarize public data on value and contribution of Plant Protection products.
2.    It is recommended that the CHC designate individuals from its leadership to improve their understanding of Canadian pesticide regulation participate by participating in a PMRA course on the subject.
3.    It is recommended that the CHC request CLC to present a summary of the requirements of the PMRA vis a vis non-target organisms especially pollinators.
4.    It is recommended that the CHC request CLC to provide an understanding of the quality and independence of “company-supplied information” in a pesticide submission through an explanation of GLP experimentation.
5.    It is recommended that the CHC ask CLC to produce a presentation and/or webinar on basic Toxicology vis a vis pollinators and Crop Protection products.
6.    It is recommended that the CHC gather questions about crop protection products which need to be addressed to beekeepers about pollinators.
7.    It is recommended that the CHC gather information about the QC stakeholders committee and decide on a national structure to present to CHC board.
8.    It is recommended that the CHC ask PMRA for information/presentation on how pollinators are protected to extend to beekeeping associations.
9.    It is recommended that the CHC establish a rapport with PMRA for updates on regulatory requirements for Crop Protection products regarding pollinators.
10.    It is recommended that the CHC ask CLC  to provide to leadership/designates information on the development and regulatory aspects of Hive Health products.

#4 Point of contact?  Seed treatments/dust or Surface/Aerial spray applications

1.    It is recommended that the CHC should request CLC to expand the planned webinar on pesticide toxicity to pollinators to include routes of exposure.
2.    It is recommended that the CHC ask the CLC to provide a series of articles/information to Hive Lights on the subject of exposure of pesticides to pollinators.
3.    It is recommended that the CHC request the CLC to produce a document/presentation summarizing routes of pesticide exposure to pollinators.
4.    It is recommended that the CHC request the CLC to provide BMPs for growers and their Outreach Strategy.
5.    It is recommended that the CHC ask the CLC to collect and summarize existing literature on Exposure and Mitigation from EU/US sources.
6.    It is recommended by the CHC that standard (bee incident) investigation procedures be utilized in Canada for bee incidents.
7.    It is recommended by the CHC that a letter be drafted to the equipment manufacturers asking them to commit to participating in schemes to reduce fugitive dust by explaining and implementing short and long term strategies.
8.    It is recommended that the CHC check the feasibility of the Seed Treatment (ST) industry hosting beekeepers at a ST facility to review processes and quality control .  In the absence of a tour, that the CLC provide information/presentation about how corn seed is treated.
9.    It is recommended that the CHC request the CLC to provide an update regarding the development and regulatory status of talc and graphite replacements to the CHC.

#5 Recommendations/Best Management Practices for beekeepers, seed companies/chemical companies, crop growers, applicators, ag equipment manufacturers

1.    It is recommended that the CHC develop an agenda plan and venue for a discussion with stakeholders regarding the contribution of pollination to agriculture.
2.    It is recommended that the CHC study existing pollinator partnership groups in the US to see if such models would be good to develop in Canada.
3.    It is recommended that the CHC should ask CLC to collect existing examples of stewardship at seed treatment facilities.
4.    It is recommended that the CHC should  sponsor and organize discussions on BMPs for beekeepers to reduce the risk of exposure to pesticides.
5.    It is recommended that the CHC should consider participating in Grow Canada, and communicate that information to CLC/Grow Canada.
6.    It is recommended that the CHC discuss the need for the development of BMPs for beekeepers on the subject of hive-health products.
7.    It is recommended that the CHC investigate opportunities associated with government programming focussed on improved access to forage in those parts of Canada where it has been requested.
8.    It is recommended that the CHC evaluate opportunities for region-specific recommendations for melliferous plants which could be planted as crops and/or non-ag use areas similar to programs in the US and EU.
9.    It is recommended that the CHC encourage provincial beekeeping associations to get involved in the provincial pesticide recommendation activities to bring (or increase) awareness of pollinator safety.
10.    It is recommended that the CHC evaluate the value of implementing a program similar to “Driftwatch” in the US.
11.     It is recommended that the CHC encourage all crop producers to incorporate an Integrated Pest Management plan on their operations

 


PMRA website revision
Thursday, April 18, 2013

Revisions to PMRA website are now available
Please note the BMP 2-pg Fact Sheet as well as the updated Pollinator Protection: Reducing Risk From Treated Seed are now live on the website.

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pubs/pest/_fact-fiche/index-eng.php
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pubs/pest/_fact-fiche/index-fra.php
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pubs/pest/_fact-fiche/pollinator-protection-pollinisateurs/index-eng.php
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pubs/pest/_fact-fiche/pollinator-protection-pollinisateurs/index-fra.php
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pubs/pest/_fact-fiche/pollinator-protection-pollinisateurs/treated_seed-semences_traitees-eng.php
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pubs/pest/_fact-fiche/pollinator-protection-pollinisateurs/treated_seed-semences_traitees-fra.php

 


Production and Value of Honey 2012
Saturday, December 15, 2012

Canadian beekeepers produced 90.9 million pounds of honey in 2012, a 13.8% increase from 2011. Canada had 8,126 beekeepers in 2012, 413 more than in 2011.
On average, each colony had a yield of 129 pounds, which was 3.5 pounds more than in 2011.
The number of managed colonies increased 10.7 from 637,900 to 706,400. The increase was a result of favourable weather conditions that resulted in low winter losses, particularly in the western provinces. Other contributing factors were overwintering and colony splitting.
Honey production in Alberta, the top producer in Canada, amounted to 40.5 million pounds, up 19% from 34.0 million pounds in 2011. Yields rose from 124 pounds per colony to 144 pounds.
In Saskatchewan, the increased number of colonies contributed to the increase in honey production from 15.9 million pounds in 2011 to 23.1 million pounds in 2012.
In contrast, production in Manitoba fell 14.3% following a wet spring and hot summer. Each colony in Manitoba had a yield of 165 pounds in 2012, down from 200 pounds in 2011.
In 2011, the total value of honey produced in Canada amounted to $151 million, up 4.5% from 2010.
The average price per gallon in Ontario was $64.49 in 2012, down from $66.72 in 2011. In Quebec, the average price per gallon remained relatively steady at $38.34, compared with $38.09 in 2011.

 


Health Canada - Ontario Bee Incidents
Wednesday, September 19, 2012

2012 - Update
This spring, beginning in April 2012, incidents of bee mortality were reported by beekeepers across southern Ontario. Timing and location of these incidents appears to have generally coincided with corn planting. Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has been working with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) to evaluate the role pesticides may have played in these bee losses. Initial analyses of the circumstances surrounding the bee losses indicate that there was no pesticide misuse.
Samples of affected bees were taken at many incident locations and are being analyzed for specific pesticide residues by the PMRA laboratory services. To date, residue analysis has been completed for 104 bee samples, as well as some samples of pollen and vegetation. Analysis is currently underway for an additional set of bee samples. Preliminary residue results show that insecticides used to treat corn seed were detected in approximately 70% of the dead bee samples analyzed.
Based on the preliminary information evaluated to date, there is an indication that pesticides used on treated corn seeds may have contributed to at least some of the 2012 spring bee losses that occurred in Ontario, however, there is still additional information being collected for consideration and final conclusions have not been made. We are looking closely at the specific circumstances that may have contributed to the unusual number of bee mortalities this spring.
The PMRA (assisted by MOE) is continuing to gather information for the purpose of determining the role pesticides may have played in the bee losses, how exposure occurred, and to determine what steps can be taken to prevent future bee losses. Information is being collected from affected bee yard owners/operators to help in the evaluation. Furthermore, the PMRA and MOE staff are contacting owners/operators of agricultural land in the vicinity of certain affected bee yards to collect details on agricultural activities including: crops grown, seeding dates, seed treatments, planting equipment, planting practices used, pesticide applications, weather conditions at the time of planting and other factors that may have played a role in the bee losses.
Once all current samples have been analyzed and available details gathered from the affected bee yards and adjacent agricultural land owners, a final analysis of the results will be conducted. A report will be made available, which will include information on the findings of the evaluation as well as the PMRA’s final conclusions.
In the interim, the PMRA will take additional steps to further protect pollinators from potential pesticide exposure, and is working with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and other Canadian and international regulatory partners towards this goal. Work is ongoing to ensure that additional safety measures and best management practices to reduce pollinator exposure to treated seed dust are developed and communicated to beekeepers, agricultural producers and other stakeholders prior to the next planting season.

 


Pesticides used on treated corn
Tuesday, September 18, 2012

From: Conference for Can. Assn. of Professional Apiculturists
To: CAPA-L@LISTSERV.UOGUELPH.CA

Pesticides used on treated corn seeds “may” have contributed to “at least some of the 2012 spring bee losses that occurred in Ontario,” Health Canada has told Better Farming via email. The email, from Health Canada media relations officer Sara O’Dacre, says other factors are being considered and that “final conclusions” have not been made. “Given the large number of potential factors involved, Health Canada, along with its provincial colleagues, is continuing to examine other factors, including overall bee health, agriculture practices and environmental conditions,” the email says. In early summer, the federal Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) began a re-evaluation of a group of insecticides used to protect seeds and crops from insects because more than 100 incidents of acute poisoning symptoms were reported to the PMRA and the provincial environment and agriculture ministries. Most occurred in southwestern Ontario. The products being re-evaluated are clothianidin, thiamethoxam and imidacloprid. They are all neonicotinoid insecticides, a class of insecticides that act on the central nervous system of insects and can kill bees. The re-evaluation covers these active ingredients and their associated products registered in Canada. Imidacloprid was already being re-evaluated when the agency announced the review of the other two, PMRA says.
http://www.betterfarming.com/online-news/corn-seed-treatment-%E2%80%98may%E2%80%99-be-connected-bee-deaths-health-canada-11057

 


National Bee Diagnostic Centre Opens at Beaverlodge, Alberta
Sunday, September 9, 2012

BEAVERLODGE, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - September 05, 2012) - Here in the heart of the Peace Country, long known as one of Canada's major honey-producing regions, there is heartfelt celebration at the completion of the National Bee Diagnostic Centre, a new laboratory under the management of Grande Prairie Regional College (GPRC) located at the Beaverlodge research farm of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The occasion was marked today by a ribbon-cutting celebration, and honoured by the presence of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification and Chris Warkentin, Member of Parliament for Peace River, among the attending dignitaries.

Funding to establish the new National Bee Diagnostic Centre was provided by Western Economic Diversification Canada, the Alberta Rural Development Fund, and GPRC. The $2.2 million project included a new building and diagnostic equipment. Two members of the scientific team are already in place, and GPRC is working on finalizing details as equipment is installed. Diagnostic services are expected to begin within the next few weeks.

"Our Government recognizes the significant role of the beekeeping industry in contributing to the overall health of our agricultural sector and supporting jobs in communities across Western Canada," said Minister Yelich. "Today's opening will help ensure the continued strength of our bee and honey industry, while enabling beekeepers to access the resources they need to grow their businesses and remain competitive."

The Centre, which is located next to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Beaverlodge Research Farm, will be the only one of its kind in Canada to offer a wide range of comprehensive services to beekeeping businesses all under one roof. It will focus on detecting and diagnosing the health of honey bees, providing scientific support to facilitate the importing and exporting of bees, and preventing or reducing winter losses. The Centre is expected to perform approximately 1,500 diagnostic services each year for businesses and other clients. These services will help increase the growth, international competitiveness and profitability of this important industry.

"We are proud to work with Grande Prairie Regional College to support research and promote the health of honey bees," said MP Warkentin. "As
Alberta accounts for 40 per cent of the nation's honey production, our Government's investment is ensuring our province continues to be a top
producer of high quality honey."

The opening of the National Bee Diagnostic Centre now positions Alberta as a global leader in beekeeping research and diagnostic technology, and will have a critical impact on the continued health of the bee and honey industry while fostering the continued growth of beekeeping businesses here and around the world.

"This facility is a very welcome opportunity for our region and our College," said Don Gnatiuk, GPRC President and CEO. "More than that, this
project is of great importance to food production industries throughout the country and around the world. We are privileged to be a participant in this significant scientific project, and fully committed to its success."

For more info, contact Kamie Currie, Project Officer, Rural Alberta Development Fund

 


East and West Differences, plus Virus and Disease Differences
Saturday, August 25, 2012

From the desk of Dr. Medhat Nasr Alberta Provincial Apiculturist, Pest Surveillance Branch
Research and Innovation Division
Agriculture and Rural Development
17507 Fort Road NW Edmonton, AB T5Y 6H3 Canada
Tel:780-415-2314 Tel: 780-415-2314      
Fax: 780-422- 6096
E-mail:medhat.nasr@gov.ab.ca

East and West Differences, plus Virus and Disease Differences. CCD is not as simple as we hoped.
Kim Kaplan, Chief, Special Projects Information Staff Agricultural Research Service U.S. .D. A

Honey bees that succumb to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) carry a colony-specific group of three or four pathogens that tend to be unique to
different geographic regions, according to a new study by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists.
The paper, published this week in PLoSOne, is available online at:
http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0043562.
The most distinct difference in the makeup of the pathogen clusters was found between CCD-struck colonies in the eastern and western United States.
In samples from eastern apiaries, the grouping tended to be all viruses. In the west, it was a mix of viruses and Nosema species, which are gut
parasites. Specifically, Nosema apis and acute bee paralysis virus (ABPV)were linked with CCD colonies from western states, while these species were extremely rare in eastern honey bee colonies regardless of the presence of CCD.
Interestingly, collapsing colonies also differed overall from each other in the predominant pathogens, suggesting that these pathogens were lucky hitchhikers on the path to colony ruin, without any single factor being a consistent cause of collapse.
The largest single class of pathogens found in hives with CCD was RNA viruses, which are very small viruses associated with the mitochondria of
host cells.  
Each pathogen was present in some healthy colonies, but not at the levels found in CCD-struck colonies. The study confirmed an earlier finding, based on a small number of samples, that honey bee colonies showing CCD symptoms
had significantly higher pathogen levels than colonies from apiaries that reported no CCD.
An association of RNA viruses and Nosema with CCD has been previously reported after studies of a small number of colonies, but this was the
largest analysis of honey bee hives yet conducted.
The study describes genetic traits for several novel RNA viruses, and for other microbes associated with the hives that might have positive or negative effects on bee health.
More than 100 hives from nine states-California, Florida, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Nebraska, New York, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Washington-were
sampled between 2004 and 2008 and then analyzed for this study.
The geographic differences also indicate that it is unlikely that any single recognized agent is responsible for CCD, making the search for unifying predictors more complicated, according to ARS entomologist Jay Evans at the agency's Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Md.  Evans co-led the study with ARS research associate Scott Cornman, and with help from colleagues Jeff Pettis and Judy Chen at the Beltsville lab. Researchers from the University of Maryland and North Carolina State University were also part of the team, which received support from ARS and the National Honey Board.
ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief intramural scientific research agency.

 


Honey Exports
Monday, August 20, 2012

Click here for more info


Honey Imports
Monday, August 20, 2012

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