The Apis Information Resource Newsletter for February 23, 2016 has been published. It features a notice concerning a Cuban apiculture congress, a mini-review of neonicotinoids and the EPA’ official list of Varroa control substances:
I received a note about an exciting opportunity to visit Cuba. The 12th LATIN AMERICAN CONGRESS and 6th CUBAN CONGRESS ON APICULTURE will meet in Havana, July 18 to 22, At least one travel outfit TRANSEAIR TRAVEL will be involved in booking tours. There may be other opportunities as well to visit the land of Guantanamera. This event is worth considering. I attended several earlier Latin American congresses during my career, including The fifth in Mercedes, Uruguay and the sixth in Yucatan, Mexico. Both provided perspectives on beekeeping that were difficult if impossible to derive using one’s own necessarily-limited experience. Transeair has asked me to come up with a plan to develop a tour for 10 to 20 beekeepers who might want to participate. I will be looking into this. If you might want to participate, send me an e-mail.
Neonicotinoids were a big subject at the recent American Beekeeping Federation in Jacksonville, FL. A stand out paper was published subsequent to the convention in the Journal of Economic Entomology. It concluded: “The maximum neonicotinoid residue detected in either wax or beebread was 3.9 ppb imidacloprid. A probabilistic risk assessment was conducted on the residues recovered from beebread in apiaries located in commercial, urban, and rural landscapes. The calculated risk quotient based on a dietary no observable adverse effect concentration (NOAEC) suggested low potential for negative effects on bee behavior or colony health.” This raised a few eyebrows, but the quality of the research was not doubted.
However, other information suggests that the major issue with these pesticides is in fact not honey bees, but other insects that might be in the field. A paper looking at this subject concluded: “ these systemic insecticides may also be harmful to natural enemies, including predators and parasitoids. Predatory insects and mites may be adversely affected by neonicotinoid systemic insecticides when they: (1) feed on pollen, nectar or plant tissue contaminated with the active ingredient; (2) consume the active ingredient of neonicotinoid insecticides while ingesting plant fluids; (3) feed on hosts (prey) that have consumed leaves contaminated with the active ingredient. Parasitoids may be affected negatively by neonicotinoid insecticides because foliar, drench or granular applications may decrease host population levels so that there are not enough hosts to attack and thus sustain parasitoid populations.”
Ever wonder what chemicals are available for Varroa mite control? This question comes up often in beekeeper meetings and only a handful of answers come to mind. It turns out the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in fact has published a list of approved materials. It may come as a surprise that some sixteen chemicals are on the list. What is missing, of course, is what specific conditions are necessary for adequate control for each.