Thursday, October 30, 2014

Worldwide Integrated Assessment of the Impact of Systemic Pesticides on Biodiversity and Ecosytems

The Worldwide Integrated Assessment of the Impact of Systemic Pesticides on Biodiversity and Ecosystems (WIA) has examined over 800 scientific studies spanning the last five years, including industry sponsored ones. It is the single most comprehensive study of neonics ever undertaken, is peer reviewed, and published as free access so that the findings and the source material can be thoroughly examined by others.
Some aspects of this analysis have been broadly acknowledged before (e.g. risks to honeybees), but some have not (e.g. risks to birds, earthworms, other pollinators and aquatic invertebrates).
Individual studies have focussed on impacts on particular organisms, habitats or locations (e.g. bees in France, waterways in the Netherlands, birds in the US) and relatively few have specifically focused on biodiversity and ecosystem impacts, so this analysis moves our understanding forward in a much more holistic and extensive way.
Where the available data enables this, the analysis extends consideration of the risks beyond individual species and groups, to whole communities and ecosystem processes.
29 authors representing many disciplines synthesized the scientific knowledge of the impacts (real and potential) of these systemic pesticides. The work was separated in seven main chapters:
Read the full publication here:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Won't You Teach Some Bee Love?

We are really on a winning streak with our speakers.  Dr. Becky Masterman from the U of M joined us on October 20 for a super informative and lively conversation.  

Becky manages the UMN Bee Squad  The Bee Squad provides education for hobby beekeepers and programming for people and organizations that want to support bees.

The Magic Equation

Becky has heard from many people who want to support bees but not be beekeepers, maybe public attitude is shifting as people finally realize that pollinators are responsible for 1 in 3 bites of our food.
 So it really is up to people like us to educate others about bees.

Increasing Public Concern


Increase in Beekeeping


Opportunity to Educate the Public and Help Beekeepers

The next important area of education is this: 

All you have to do is ask Bob Sitko, our Master Swarm Catcher Coordinator about Bee and Wasp confusion.  Bob received 72 bee swarm calls this summer and 3 times this amount for wasps.  For Bobs sake!  Let folks know the difference!  Print this photo and carry on your person!

Wasp Facts:  
Wasps eat other insects, so can be considered beneficial.
Wasps will be gone after 2 hard frosts.
Wasps will be interested in your sugary drinks in the fall, when they need food.  Consider drinking water.

Remember this?

On one day in September 2013 in Minneapolis, three bee colonies within 1 mile of each other   showed signs of a pesticide kill.  The UMN Bee Lab and Bee Squad with the MDA collected samples from each colony and found that Fipronil, which is highly toxic to bees, was found in all samples.  

Since 2006, 30% of commercial honey bee colonies die annually.  For the hobby beekeeper, it's more grim...47% losses were reported in 2013.  These numbers are from an overwintering loss survey.  Please take part in this very important survey at  ATTENTION BEEKEEPERS:  Take notes and keep records from your beekeeping.  The Bee Lab can use this data, and the more data the better.

In a nutshell....the problem is the 4 P's.

Poor Nutrition

Marla's Big Bee Bummer

If you haven't seen Marla Spivaks TED talk, watch and share.  If you have seen it, watch again!

Other Random Things from Meeting

  • Bees really like full sun.  The Bee Squad's Minneapolis rooftop hives all made it through the winter.
  • The Bee Squad is tending bees on the Town and Country Golf Course.  They are thriving and the golfers are really into it.
  • Becky is a big fan of formic acid.
  • Change out your foundation at least every couple of years.  Wax and pollen hold LOTS of pesticides.
  • AND WHO KNEW THIS???  Don't use organic sugar to feed your bees!  Organic sugar is not refined, and the bees can't break it down.  Everyone can learn something new at bee club!

Until next month.....