The January 27, 2017 issue of the Apis Information Resource News has been published. It includes information on the Nicaragua Bee Project, more on Manuka honey and the current status of imidacloprid regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency.
I am writing this as my experience with the Nicaragua Bee Project winds down. It’s been a hectic week with trips to both the south, San Juan del Sur, a major tourist area, and other regions closer to the Capital, Managua . In addition, I visited the Agricultural University’s biointensive project. There are many beekeeping projects around the country administered by NGOs and other outfits, including one by the Heifer project in the north.
I was able to talk to employees of the largest commercial honey exporter in the country, the Danish Company called Ingemann. It appears that “organic” honey is a key to the future of the Nicaraguan beekeeping industry. There are some disquieting symptoms of change, however. Although projecting upwards of 25,000 hives by 2017, in 2010, attempting to become one of the world’s largest organic honey producers, I was informed Ingemann currently had only 2,000 in operation. In addition, the Nicaraguan website for the company barely mentions honey, concentrating almost exclusively on the cocoa (cacao) branch of the operation. There are rumors that the honey operation might in fact be for sale.
Fortunately, there is also huge local demand for honey. Beekeepers can sell as much as they are able to produce at the moment. So the future is bright for small-scale producers that the Project is targeting. Small-scale beekeepers cannot expect to certify their honey as “organic,” making them reliant on the domestic market.
A huge initiative here is increasing the literacy rate, which began in 1980. This is benefiting the Project in several ways from providing translators to educated drivers on the chaotic roads of the country. Check out the Project’s activities and see how to get involved. Those accompanying me on this trip are learning a great deal about beekeeping in one of Central America’s most picturesque countries.
In last year’s November newsletter, I discussed in some detail Manuka honey from New Zealand. The reputation of this sweet has not only garnered attention from those adulterating the product, sometimes resulting in so-called “honey wars, but now comes a more large-scale competitor, Australia, the birth place of the Manuka plant.
“New Zealand may have retained the Bledisloe Cup after a record 18th straight win over Australia but it can no longer claim to produce the best manuka honey, according to a new study. While honey has been used therapeutically for hundreds of years, the growing global crisis of antibiotic resistance has revived interest in its clinical use.
“University of Technology Sydney researchers have found Australian manuka honey is as powerful against bacteria as the more commonly known NZ variety. Study lead author Nural Cokcetin said this was ‘‘very exciting’’ and could be a game-changer for the more than 12000 local beekeepers because Australia had more than 80 types of the manuka tree growing across the country compared to NZ, which has only one species.
“The researchers studied more than 80 honey samples from NSW and Queensland flowering manuka (Leptospermum) trees and found the nectar-derived chemical that gave NZ manuka honey its anti-bacterial properties was also present in Australian varieties.” See further buzz on this issue here.
According to an ABJ Extra, “The EPA’s updated imidacloprid assessment will look at potential risks to aquatic species, and attempt to identify some risks for aquatic insects. Previous assessments for clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran, similar to the preliminary pollinator assessment for imidacloprid showed that most approved uses do not pose significant risks to bee colonies. However, spray applications to a few crops, such as cucumbers, berries, and cotton, may pose risks to bees that come in direct contact with residue. In its preliminary pollinator-only analysis for clothianidin and thiamethoxam, the EPA has proposed a new method for accounting for pesticide exposure that may occur through pollen and nectar.
“The 60-day public comment period will begin upon publication in the Federal Register, which will happen soon. The EPA invites public comment on all of these preliminary assessments, but we are especially interested in getting input from stakeholders on the new method for assessing potential exposure and risk through pollen and nectar. EPA may revise the pollinator assessment based on comments received as well as additional data that we anticipate receiving during 2017. We hope to release the final neonicotinoid risk assessments for public comment by mid-2018.
“Along with the risk assessments, the EPA is also issuing an updated registration review schedule for the four neonicotinoids to reflect the data being submitted in 2017.
“EPA encourages stakeholders and interested members of the public to visit the dockets for the neonicotinoid pesticides and sign up for email alerts to be automatically notified when the Agency publishes the next documents for review and comment. View the neonicotinoid registration review schedule for links to the individual dockets.” This kind of activity cannot begin too soon, given the new administration’s clamp down on any kind of activity that might promote “more regulation.”
See the full post here.