USDA Survey, Mite-a-thon, Fipronil in Eggs, and more

Pollinator News          Aug. 18, 2017

Bee Health Is Not Just About Numbers of Hives

USDA- NASS released its annual report of honey bee losses last week.  These annual bee health and honey surveys by NASS are a snapshot in time.  These surveys can be confusing for the non-beekeeper.  However, it shows what any beekeeper would expect to find.   Varroa counts increase in the Spring as the queen begins to lay eggs again (varroa mites breed in the drone cells of hives), and beekeepers purchase packages of bees from the south.  Those packaged bees are not often treated for varroa when shipped north and east, so the bees come already infected with varroa mites.  “Renovated hives” (requeened or new packages of bees installed into an old and now empty bee hive) always happens in the spring, so of course the numbers will be high then.  And, as such, renovated hives are never done late in the season after October, so of course those numbers would be down.    This survey shows the schedule of spring hive build up and fall hive slow down, but it does not mean that bee health is improving.  Bee health is just not that simple.  READ MORE




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Non-beekeepers need to learn the life cycle of a bee hive before they “advise” beekeepers on hive management. Applying chemical treatments when honey supers are still on the hives is in violation of the label of most mite treatments (see HBHC mite treatment guide ).  A State beekeeping association leader expressed skepticism of this latest “Blame-the-mites-and-backyard-beekeepers-a-thon” as it does not clarify who is collecting the data, where the data will be housed, who is doing follow-up for year to year comparisons.  The beekeepers this is directed at, backyard beekeepers, believe this survey will also be as slanted as other voluntary surveys where participants are concentrated in just a few states, thereby not being a statistically representative survey of beekeeping, or beekeeping in each state, or the US overall.  As the recent USDA survey showed, USDA does not understand the hive cycle, showing mites were high in April-June when the hive itself is increasing its population, drone eggs are being laid by the queen (varroa prefer to lay their eggs in drone cells), and when new packages of bees with varroa hitching a ride are shipped to beekeepers to replace winter losses.  By continuing to focus only on varroa mites, we continue to ignore the impact of forage loss, forage contaminated by pesticide drift and pesticide translocation through the soil, and honey bees directly exposed to bee toxic pesticides and tank mixes of pesticides.  READ MORE


Eastern Apiculture Society Conference 2017 pictures


Recent News

Fipronil Contaminates Eggs in EU
Eggs containing fipronil found in 15 EU countries and Hong Kong

The Latest: Report: Egg scandal suspect denies involvement  

Fipronil Fact Sheet 

The Poison Papers Project
Listen to a fascinating and insightful interview with Dr. Jonathan Latham, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Bioscience Research Project. The Bioscience Research Project, along with the Center For Media and Democracy, have digitized 40 years of records into “The Poison Papers,” accumulated by Carol Van Strum in her battle over chemicals, mostly herbicides.  June Stoyer at the Organic View Radio Show is one of the first to promote this research project.

Are They Thriving or Dying? — Discussion With USDA About Honey Bee Health Survey


Learn More Here


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For financial information about this nonprofit see our Annual IRS 990 filing on our website (Home page/About Us/ Annual Report)  



Honey Bee Health Coalition 

We are a member of the Honey Bee Health Coalition

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 Varroa Management
Quick Guide to Reporting A Bee Kill
Beekeeper Guide
Grower Guide
Bee Healthy Roadmap
The Bee Understanding Project-.  View the first film at this link

Why does bee health matter? The science surrounding honey bee health concerns and what we can do about it, Read the paper

“Beekeeper Insights on Honey Bee Nutrition Supplements” report

Competition to find the most innovative ideas to tackle honey bee nutrition challenges. Learn more

Bees MatterLearn more

Academic collaboration
In an effort to track this problem and gather better data, the Bee Informed Partnership, Michigan State University, and the University of Maryland – College Park have launched MiteCheck. The program allows beekeepers to report mite counts and infestations — and to track geographic trends in mite populations.


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 MississippiBBB Seed Plant for Pollinators Proj logo

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!

Betterbee Has Seeds for Pollinator Habitat betterbee logo

Betterbee was at the Massachusetts Beekeepers Assn. Spring Meeting offering a variety of seed mixes for beekeepers to plant.   You can find seven seed mix varieties at their website

Planting forage for our bees is important; and beekeepers can lead by example!


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

View our 2016 Annual Report here

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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.