Synergism, Ag mega-mergers, be smart, and more

Pollinator News                 Feb. 17, 2017

The synergism of the federal hiring freeze

With the new federal administration and the hiring freeze instituted for federal agencies, it appears the “freeze” has extended to grant funded projects as well.  Typically, when a grant is awarded and the contract signed, the project simply moves forward according to the timeline defined in the grant contract.  Huffington Post has reported one effect of the hiring freeze has been to “freeze” even grant funded projects. Find the full story here 

feb. 17 newsltr-reearch bees molt badly

The research featured in that story is important to honey bees as it examines one inert ingredient in pesticides.  While the definition of inert implies “in-active,” “passive,” “lifeless,” other research has acknowledged the inert ingredients are not so often “inert.”  Initial research showed “Observed synergistic mortality occurred during the larval-pupal molt,” in honey bees due to exposure to organosilicone surfactant adjuvant.  See the abstract of this initial research that inspired the now “frozen” project in the “Research” section of this newsletter.


Over 300 food and farm groups urge Jeff Sessions to oppose agricultural mega- mergers

Call on new DOJ leader to put farmer, consumer, worker interests above corporations
NearlyDept of Justice logo 325 farming, beekeeping, farmworker, religious, food safety, and conservation advocacy groups today urged the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct a thorough investigation into the proposed mergers of the world’s largest agrochemical and seed companies. Groups urged Jeff Sessions, the new Attorney General, to enjoin the mergers of Dow Chemical with DuPont, Monsanto with Bayer AG, and Syngenta with ChemChina on the grounds that they will drive up food and farming costs, threaten global food security, curtail innovation, threaten the health of farmworkers, and limit farmer choice. This letter comes on the heels of the Senate’s vote to confirm Senator Sessions to be the head of the Department of Justice. The letter was also delivered to members of Congress and state attorneys general.



see us at Jan 20


A Maryland Beekeeper reports:
Another year of extremely heavy losses for Maryland beekeepers

2016 has been extremely challenging for our managed honey bee colonies here in Maryland. According to BIP (Bee Informed Partnership) 2016 is the year that losses exceeded 56%, and over a 3 year average,
Maryland beekeepers have lost 54% of their total colonies. Maryland has approximately 14,000+ registered honey bee colonies according to Maryland State Ag statistics. The average replacement costs per colony is $150, replacement colonies range from $100/package to $200/nuc. This means that beekeepers in Maryland spend over $1.13MILLION every year to replace approximately 7,600 lost registered honey bee colonies.


Facts Are Important—Be Smart!

The world is filled with opinions that are unsupported by facts, all of the facts.  A member brought this information to our attention, and we question much of the answers to their questions.  Perspectives can constrain full information, but to protect pollinators all of us need to provide all of the facts. It can be difficult to explain a complex issue such as honey bee health in one double-sided sheet of paper, even with ten point font.  However, the Grow Wise, Bee Smart document seems to ignore “synergistic effects with other pesticides, inert ingredient synergism, the soil and phloem persistence of neonics, and the lack of a real need to apply this class of chemicals to all blooming nursery stock.   It also does not discuss the impact to developing brood, queen viability, and drone navigation.”  One Pollinator Stewardship Council member continued, “this document seems to be a placating tool for the nursery industry in public relations.”


GRO1000             DEADLINE FEB. 20, 2017

A few concerns have been expressed to us about the ownership of Scotts.  Scotts Miracle GRO is a privately held company in Ohio. It is not owned by any other pesticide company.  Scotts has committed to removing three neonics from its home garden products, and is working with us to educate consumers about the proper use of pesticides, and reducing pesticide use to protect pollinators.   By Scotts funding community gardens and pollinator habitat, groups plan their own projects and do not have to use Scotts products, or promote them in anyway, just simply receive the grant money to plant pollinator habitat, or gardens.   As Scotts products are diregro1000-post-2cted toward the home lawn and garden care market, it is typical that as a corporation their Foundation would want to support greenspaces and gardens.  This is quite in line with the charitable foundations of banks supporting financial literacy, and affordable housing programs.  Grant funds are based solely on the grant contract for the project proposed by the group seeking funding.  Pollinator Stewardship Council has assisted beekeeping groups, metroparks, and nature centers in applying for and receiving GRO1000 grants that created pollinator habitat in the parks, taught neighborhood kids how to design and plant pollinator habitat on a vacant city lot, and provided pollinator plantings on an educational farm.  Scotts typically awards $70,000 in total to small groups across the US  each year for the past 7 years.  They offer the GRO1000 grants in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.  In addition, they offer a grant to cities for up to $25,000 for greenspace revitalization.  Learn about the 2016 funded projects for yourself here

Scotts GRO1000 brings the simple joy of green spaces to more places. Here’s how Scotts is helping people, schools and communities turn their piece of the Earth into everything they imagine.
Learn more and apply for a grant

Want to teach children the value of pollinators, help them plant a pollinator garden at their school with this grant.  Want a 4-H project with your students, plant a community or pollinator garden with this grant.  Want your local nature center or metro park to feature a pollinator garden help them get this grant.  You plan your project, you design your project, you implement your project, you and your community benefit from your project. 


Pest Smart™ Mobile AppPRI app 1

This Pest Smart App was first released in spring of 2015.  As we move into pollination season, and crop pest control season beekeepers may find this valuable to share with growers, gardeners, and others as we all work to protect pollinators.   Need help finding least-toxic pesticide products to manage household and garden pests? Quickly search for hazard-ranked pesticide products on your iPhone and iPad with the Pest Smart™ mobile app–  a free, new user-friendly tool for LEED professionals, IPM managers, and anyone with an interest in finding information about pesticide products.   READ MORE


feb ipbes 7

Read more at  



An Inert Pesticide Adjuvant Synergizes Viral Pathogenicity and Mortality in Honey Bee Larvae,  Fine, J. D. et al., Sci. Rep. 7, 40499; doi: 10.1038/srep40499 (2017).

Honey bees are highly valued for their pollination services in agricultural settings, and recent declines in managed populations have caused concern. Colony losses following a major pollination event in the United States, almond pollination, have been characterized by brood mortality with specific symptoms, followed by eventual colony loss weeks later. In this study, we demonstrate that these symptoms can be produced by chronically exposing brood to both an organosilicone surfactant adjuvant (OSS) commonly used on many agricultural crops including wine grapes, tree nuts and tree fruits and exogenous viral pathogens by simulating a horizontal transmission event. Observed synergistic mortality occurred during the larval-pupal molt. Using q-PCR techniques to measure gene expression and viral levels in larvae taken prior to observed mortality at metamorphosis, we found that exposure to OSS and exogenous virus resulted in significantly heightened Black Queen Cell Virus (BQCV) titers and lower expression of a Toll 7-like-receptor associated with autophagic viral defense (Am18w). These results demonstrate that organosilicone spray adjuvants that are considered biologically inert potentiate viral pathogenicity in honey bee larvae, and guidelines for OSS use may be warranted.


We are a member of the Honey Bee Health Coalition

HBHC Logo-Revised jpg-smallTools for Beekeepers and Growers

HBHC Varroa videos:
Varroa mite PSA
Video 1 – IPM
Video 2, 3 – Sampling methods

Video 4 – Essential oils 
Video 5 – Using Apivar 
Video 6 – Using Apistan or Checkmite+ 
Video 7 – Formic acid 
Video 8 – Using HopGuard 
Video 9 – Using Oxalic Acid 
Video 10 – Using sanitation, screen bottoms
Video 11 – Using drone brood removal
Video 12 – Using requeening 

Tools for Honey Bee Health
    Tools for Varroa Management  
    Quick Guide to Reporting A Bee Kill 
    Beekeeper Guide 
    Grower Guide 
    Bee Healthy Roadmap
The Bee Understanding Project


Plant for Pollinators

Products made by beekeepers and their honey bees, and natural food sources for  honey bees and native pollinators support beekeepers, honey bees, and the work of the Pollinator Stewardship Council. 

Seeds for honey bees EAST of the Mississippi!

OPN pic for PSc websitePlant pollinator forage for your bees. Pollinator Stewardship Council has partnered with Ohio Prairie Nursery in support of pollinator habitat.  You can get native seeds for the eastern U.S. planting zones here.  Select “Support our Cause”  to view featured seed selections to benefit pollinators.  A portion of sales generated from our website will help support our work.


Seeds for honey bees WEST of the Mississippi

To increase plant biodiversity, improve gardens yields, and make a positive difference for the future, plant for pollinators WEST of the Mississippi with bbbseed.  Go to their website, today and Plant For Pollinators!

BBB Seed Plant for Pollinators Proj logo


Bring Us To Your State

The Pollinator Stewardship Council is available to speak at your State Beekeeping Association Conference, Beekeeping School, local bee club, and community group.  In 2013 and 2014, the Program Director gave presentations at eleven events; during 2015 at thirty events; and during 2016 the Program Director gave presentations at thirty-four events across the US, and Canada!  Bring the Pollinator Stewardship Council to your group for 2017. The speaker’s honorarium is just $100 for one or two presentations across a one or two day conference, plus travel expenses.  The Program Director works from Ohio and will drive within a ten hour radius: beyond that radius airplane travel will be required.

•    State Pollinator Protection Plans: What Beekeepers Need to Know
•    Understanding the Pollinator Crisis and How You Can Help
•    Pollinator Stewardship Council Collaborations: Education, Advocacy, Action  
•    Migratory beekeeping: why keeping them alive is so difficult.
•    Pesticides wintering in your hives
•    Mosquito Abatement Programs Can Damage Honey Bees and Native Pollinators
•    Creating your own pesticide-free pollinator habitat
•    Pesticide risk assessment, label, and enforcement
•    Should you become a nonprofit beekeeping club?
•    Fundraising for Bee Clubs
•    How Beekeepers Can Take Action for Local, State, and National Beekeeping Issues

For information and to schedule a presentation contact Michele Colopy, Program Director, or call 832-727-9492.



Become a member!
Go online today and let’s work together 



Pollinator Stewardship Council
1624 Idlewood Ave., Akron, OH 44313

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We are member supported!  The Pollinator Stewardship Council is a nonprofit organization; donations are tax deductible.




Beekeepers Working for Beekeepers

The Board and Program Director are all beekeepers.   
We work to:

•    Raise awareness about the adverse impact of pesticides on pollinators critical to the supply of food and the ecosystem.

•    Provide advocacy, guidance, and tools to document the detrimental effect of pesticides on pollinators.

•    Affect regulatory processes of pesticide risk assessment, label, and enforcement.