Pollinator issues subject of presentation at Beltwide


Declines in honey bee populations continue to attract attention in the national media and in environmental activist circles. Activists and some beekeepers have been asking that pesticide registrations be withdrawn because of claims the chemicals are impacting bees negatively.

There’s a lot more to the issue than pesticide use, however, says Don Parker, manager of integrated pest management for the National Cotton Council. Parker gave a presentation at the Consultants Conference at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences explaining the issue and the actions the NCC is taking to address it.

“This issue does throw into question a lot of our pesticide products that are used in agriculture,” says Parker. “But several different studies have pointed out there is no single smoking gun, no single factor that is identified as the main cause of the decline in honey bee health.”

Varroa mite question

Among those are parasites, including the Varroa mite, a relatively recent arrival in the U.S., that has been cited by a USDA report as one of the “most detrimental pests of honey bees and one that is associated with overwintering declines.”

“There are issues of nutrition, there is a lot of loss of habitat for the  bees to have alternate sources of food and there are issues around pesticides, naturally," said Parker. “And, there are issues around the stress that is placed on the bees by shipping them from location to location for pollinator service.

“So, although the science has shown there are multiple issues, there’s been a tremendous amount of focus put on pesticides and a lot of pressure put on EPA  to change the way we look at the registration of pesticides. We have been very concerned because we need these crop protection tools to protect our crops from insect pests.”

One of the pesticides being targeted by activists is sulfoxaflor, the active ingredient in Dow AgroSciences’ newly registered Transform insecticide. On Dec. 6, the Pollinator Stewardship Council filed a lawsuit against EPA challenging the registration of sulfoxaflor, a material that has proven to be effective in controlling plant bugs and similar pests.

Parker said several studies are under way to try to gauge the impact of pesticides on honey bee health, including the impact of materials that are applied to control the Varroa mite.

Science-based decisions

‘Much of this research has not made any conclusions, and we are asking that we wait for the science to come out so we can make science-based decisions,” he noted.

“But it is important for producers to understand there are some groups that are trying to take this action in a different route, and they have filed lawsuits asking for cancellations of product registrations rather than waiting for the science.”

Some of the research is being conducted in the Mid-South – in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee. Researchers are making a coordinated effort to look at multiple crops related to seed treatments and trying to do a follow-up to determine if any residual product has been left in plants bees are foraging.

(Note: Coverage of the initial reports from the research at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences will appear in future issues of the Farm Presses.)

NCC leaders believe one answer to the dilemma confronting beekeepers and producers who have cooperated in providing bee forage in the past may be as simple as better communications between the two.

“Many times a beekeeper will ask a producer if he can place bees on his farm, and then no further communications occur until the beekeeper notices there’s a problems with his bees,” Parker noted. “Beekeepers and growers need to have an understanding about the best placement of bees, any applications of pesticides that may be made in the area and the timing of those applications before the bees are placed.”

To see a complete copy of Parker’s paper from the Beltwide Cotton Conferences, click on


For more information, go to:  http://deltafarmpress.com/cotton/sound-science-needed-protect-pollinator-health




Discuss this Video 2

on Jan 14, 2014


Bee-keepers appear to be unable or unwilling to get their major pest problems under control, such as varroa mites, leading observers to conclude that bee-keepers may not be competent to handle their businesses, and may be wholly unsuited to be raising bees. Ernesto Guzman, a bee researcher at the University of Guelph, in Ontario, Canada, says varroa mites continue to be the prime suspect in the bee losses. According to Guzman ― « we have evidence that varroa mites are problem no. 1 associated to bee mortality in southern Ontario, although neonicotinoid insecticides have been associated to some isolated cases of colony mortality ». Dr. Guzman was never consulted by anti-pesticide lunatic-bee-keepers, who nevertheless conspire to prohibit against neonicotinoid insecticides used in the agriculture industry. Even Alberta Bee-Keepers Commission does not consider neonicotinoid insecticides as a serious problem. According to Alberta Bee-Keepers Commission, varroa mites are the cause of roughly half of bee losses every winter. If varroa mites infest even one per cent of bees, within two years, the entire hive could be lost. Bee-keepers must get their varroa mite problems under control to rein in the collapse of bee colonies. Moreover, the weight of the scientific evidence clearly shows that neonicotinoid insecticides do not affect bees. The exposure of bees to neonicotinoid insecticides is at very low levels, far too low to cause harmful effects. Neonicotinoid insecticides will cause no harm to bees since treated plant tissues contain only tiny amounts of ingredient, bees are not feeding on the plants, and pollen contains barely detectable levels. If bee-keepers were not so scientifically illiterate, they would know that scientific research shows that, as reported through EPA’s and Health Canada’s vast toxicology database, no harm will occur to bees. Neonicotinoid insecticides have been thoroughly assessed by Health Canada to ensure they can be used safely without harming bees. For the whole truth regarding BEES, go to The Pesticide Truths Web-Site ... http://wp.me/p1jq40-2ba http://wp.me/p1jq40-6WJ http://wp.me/p1jq40-6H8 http://wp.me/p1jq40-7ty WILLIAM H. GATHERCOLE AND NORAH G http://pesticidetruths.com/ http://wp.me/P1jq40-2rr

on Jan 20, 2014

Another significant issue is poor nutrition and failure of bee keepers to adequately feed their bees in the off seasons. Much research and product development have occurred in producing bee supplements to improve overall health and resistance to stresses, but bee keepers have not adopted the approach or embraced those commercial and proven products. Their use requires a change in management and additional expenses, which based upon the costs to rent hives should not be the issue. The attitude seems to be like that of the cattle industry " If it can't be done off the back of a horse, then it ain't worth doing"

Please or Register to post comments.

Connect With Us
Commodity Prices


Copyright © 2016. All market data is provided by Barchart Market Data Solutions.

Futures: at least 10 minute delayed. Information is provided 'as is' and solely for informational purposes, not for trading purposes or advice. To see all exchange delays and terms of use, please see disclaimer.

Continuing Education
Potassium nitrate has a positive effect in controlling plant pests and diseases when applied...
This online CE course details sound mechanical irrigation design and management practices to...