Gaps in Pesticide Use Estimates; Routes of Neonic Exposure; Mosquito Control Resources; Research

Pollinator News                    Sept. 1, 2017

Gaps in Pesticide Use Estimates

(from the Xerces Society)

California’s pesticide use reporting is the best available data on pesticide use in the country. Still, common uses of neonicotinoids in agricultural and urban settings are not captured, leading to gaps in our understanding of use that create regulatory challenges.

Agricultural Use: Many crops in California are grown from seed coated with neonicotinoids. Due to a lack of regulation by the federal government, neither the quantity of neonicotinoid-coated seed planted, nor the acreage planted with coated seed—either of which could be used to assess contamination risk —is reported in California. With approximately two million acres of corn, cotton, sunflowers, wheat, and other crops potentially grown with neonicotinoid coated seed, the actual use of these chemicals could be significantly under-reported, particularly when compared to other chemicals whose application methods are more fully tracked. The gap in our understanding of neonicotinoid-coated seed use is noteworthy since research has attributed surface water contamination to the planting of coated seed (Hladik et al. 2014).

Urban Use: Neonicotinoids are also marketed for residential use, and residents can apply the pesticides directly. While use by professional pesticide applicators is reported, applications by residents are not captured by California’s pesticide use reporting system. This lack of data regarding household use of neonicotinoids leaves a gap in our understanding of potential urban storm water runoff and wastewater concerns, which are significant because high concentrations of imidacloprid are often found in urban areas (Hladik & Kolpin 2016; DPR Pesticide Use Reports; Sadaria et al. 2016).

Read more of this report, MAINTAINING HEALTHY AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS: Protecting California’s Waters from Neonicotinoid Contamination, by the Xerces Society

*Water is another avenue of exposure of pesticides for our honey bees.




Our NEW Facebook page is
Find us on Twitter at PSCPollinators
Find us on Instagram at pollinatorstewards


Pollinator Stamps

Beekeepers can help educate and advocate about all pollinators through license plates on your car, “Buy Local Honey” bumper stickers, and now Protect Pollinator stamps.  Ask for your Pollinator Stamps the next time you mail a letter.



Routes of Neonicotinoid Exposure

(from MonarchJointVenture)

Pollinators can be exposed to neonicotinoids in multiple ways. Pollinators may consume contaminated plant products like leaves, pollen and nectar and be killed if they consume a high enough dose of the chemical. For example, when monarch caterpillars eat neonicotinoid treated milkweed plants they are often killed. Toxic dust kicked up while planting neonic treated seeds can also kill honeybees foraging nearby (Bonmatin et al., 2015; Goulson, 2013). Since neonics are water soluble, they can also move through environments with water (Figure 3). Surveys have documented widespread neonic residues in waterways (Bayo et al 2016, Goulson 2013, Hladik et al 2014, Morrissey et al 2015). In the field, corn plants absorb at most 1.5% of the neonic treatment applied to seeds (Alford and Krupke, 2017). 2% of the seed coating is released as toxic dust and the rest is released into the environment in other ways (Figure 1). Neonics can also enter the surrounding area when applied by soil drenching or plant sprays. Once in the soil, neonics may persist for hundreds to thousands of days (Bonmatin et al., 2015; Goulson, 2013). Residues may leach out of treated fields into adjacent habitats and be absorbed by neighboring plants  (Botías et al., 2016). Contamination of nearby wild plants raises the likelihood of pollinators in the habitat experiencing unintended harm. Finally, as neonics enter soil and waterways, they undergo different chemical breakdown processes, resulting in toxic byproducts. Due to limited research, we lack complete understanding of repercussions from application and persistence of these chemicals and their byproducts in the environment.

Sublethal Risks of Exposure
If exposed to neonics in sufficient quantities, pollinators and other beneficial invertebrates are killed. However, sublethal effects, such as reduced survival and reproductive success, can occur when the dose does not result in immediate death. The severity of sublethal effects depend on exposure amount, method, and pollinator species. Relatively few studies have investigated sublethal effects of neonic exposure in monarchs, but further studies are in progress. There are also sublethal effects on vertebrates such as birds and fish (Gibbons et al., 2015).

Print the full Risks of Neonicotinoids to Pollinators fact sheet from  MONARCH JOINT VENTURE




Mosquito Control Information Resources

Information concerning mosquito abatement and honey bee protection is regularly sought by Pollinator Stewardship Council members.  Below are links to the resources most often requested.

Pollinator Stewardship Council (PSC) article concerning mosquitoes and honey bees. 

PSC -Mosquito Abatement Programs 

The Pesticide Research Institute has this mosquito control information

From Beyond Pesticides

How to control mosquitoes without killing pollinators

Personal mosquito protection from the CDC  

Natural predators of mosquitoes

South Carolina Dept. of Health  mosquito habitat reduction guide 

Plants that repel mosquitoes



Pesticides, insecticides and male infertility, Priyanka Roy, Pranay Kumar Phukan*, Debojit Changmai, Surajeet Boruah

Background: Pesticides, insecticides can damage the male reproductive system in a number of ways. They may cause reproductive toxicity with direct damage to the structure of the cells or as a result of biotransformation into metabolites. They can alter DNA structure. They may also act like hormones in the endocrine system and disrupt the function of the natural endogenous hormones, when doing so they are often called endocrine disrupting chemicals. The objective of the study was to evaluate the association of infertility with pesticide and insecticide exposure among the infertile male patients attending Out Patient Department of Assam Medical College and Hospital.

Methods: The pesticides and insecticides used by the population were cypermethrin, thiaclopride, acetamiprid, emmacetin benzoate A total of 55 oligospermic infertile male patients were taken for the study. Twenty-seven among them were exposed to pesticides and rest twenty-eight unexposed cases were taken as control group. Semen analysis was done along with serum FSH, LH and Testosterone. Scrotal ultrasonography of the subjects was also done. One way ANOVA test and t-test assuming two unequal variances were applied to find out the statistical significance of the association of pesticides with their infertility. p<0.05 was taken to be significant.

 Results: A significant decrease in sperm concentration was found in the exposed group. Also, a significant increase in serum LH was found in the exposed group. A significant decrease in sperm concentration and serum testosterone along with a significant increase in serum FSH and LH was found with increase in duration of exposure to pesticides and insecticides.

Conclusions: The gonadotoxic effect of pesticides and insecticides was reflected from the study and it was concluded that pesticide and insecticide exposure has got a definite relation with the infertility of the subjects evaluated in the study.  READ MORE

Disruption of oxidative balance in the gut of the western honeybee Apis mellifera exposed to the intracellular parasite Nosema ceranae and to the insecticide fipronil,  Laurianne Paris, Michaël Roussel, Bruno Pereira, Frédéric Delbac, Marie Diogon, First published: 24 July 2017, DOI: 10.1111/1751-7915.12772 ,

The causes underlying the increased mortality of honeybee colonies remain unclear and may involve multiple stressors acting together, including both pathogens and pesticides. Previous studies suggested that infection by the gut parasite Nosema ceranae combined with chronic exposure to sublethal doses of the insecticide fipronil generated an increase in oxidative stress in the midgut of honeybees. To explore the impact of these two stressors on oxidative balance, we experimentally infected bees with N. ceranae and/or chronically exposed to fipronil at low doses for 22 days, and we measured soluble reactive oxygen species (ROS) and ROS damage by quantifying both protein and lipid oxidation in the midgut. Our results revealed a disruption of the oxidative balance, with a decrease in both the amount of ROS and ROS damage in the presence of the parasite alone. However, protein oxidation was significantly increased in the N. ceranae/fipronil combination, revealing an increase in oxidative damage and suggesting higher fipronil toxicity in infected bees. Furthermore, our results highlighted a temporal order in the appearance of oxidation events in the intestinal cells and revealed that all samples tended to undergo protein oxidation during ageing, regardless of treatment.  READ MORE


We are here for our members.  Join us, collaborate with us,
together we will make a difference!

become a mbr march 3

Become a member online today !


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
1624 Idlewood Ave., Akron, OH 44313


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

View our 2016 Annual Report here


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.