I hope you are enjoying the remaining warm (and dry) days of the 2014 beekeeping season. Winterizing hives is already underway and we will all begin planning our 2015 beekeeping season soon.
The PSBA board is already looking ahead and planning an exciting 2015 for your participation and learning. To ensure you have the opportunity to play a role in the future of PSBA and the beekeeping community, I wanted to pass along the following items:
- PSBA was made aware that there is an effort underway by several organizations in Seattle to ban the use of neonicitinoids by the City of Seattle. This resolution was passed by the sponsoring committee and will be reviewed by the Seattle City Council on Monday 9/22 at 2pm. You can read the resolution here. I encourage all PSBA members to read more on the topic of neonics and determine an appropriate course of action.
Below, I’m providing some information supplied by our local experts at WSU concerning Neonicitinoids. Please note: This info does not support the ban on neonic use at this time and suggests energy could be better focused by encouraging increased forage for honey bees, something we know for sure is a factor in supporting pollinator health.
- “Neonicitinoids and Honeybees” Published by Timothy Lawrence, PhD and Walter Sheppard, PhD, WSU, Nov 2013, “As of this writing, there are insufficient data to suggest that neonicotinoids are a substantial contributor to the decline of either native bees or honey bees. The value and benefit of neonicotinoids—when used as prescribed on the product label—to agriculture, professional landscapers, and homeowners, are that of a relatively safe and effective product, and this should be kept in mind when considering changes in availability or restrictions for this class of pesticides.”
- Via an email with Dr. Lawrence on 9/18/14, he confirmed that nothing has changed since the publication of the above info sheet, and further advised that his team completed sampling (for pesticides) of 148 apiaries around the state (in urban, rural and agricultural settings), a study in which some PSBA beekeepers participated. All samples were below the detectable level of 5 ppb – indicating that neonics are not showing up in Washington beehives, which is consistent with other studies looking at neonics within colonies.
- Further, Dr. Lawrence commented that: “Right now the evidence does not support a ban on neonicotinoids – Rather than banning something that we can not demonstrate is having a negative effect on bees in field studies – I think cities like Seattle or Spokane would be much wiser to plant more flowers – and the state should encourage or require planting of eco-appropriate dicots in areas they control and when companies or noxious weed control boards spray areas with broad-spectrum herbicides.“
- “ There are virtually no data showing levels of neonicotinoid use in urban areas being in excess of the levels demonstrated to have either lethal or sub-lethal affects on bees. Prior to enacting restrictions on urban homeowner use of this product, it would be prudent to collect data to quantify urban homeowner use of neonicotinoid pesticides and pollinator exposure from this source.”
- In addition to the information from WSU, Randy Oliver has provided several installments in American Bee Journal, reviewing the research on neonics and honey bees, which is insightful and you can read those articles on his website: http://scientificbeekeeping.com/neonicotinoids-trying-to-make-sense-of-the-science/
While we probably all agree that pesticides, in general, should be avoided when possible, it is imperative that we beekeepers stay informed on all the available research and ways we can help bees and other pollinators.
In addition to the above here’s a couple more ways you can shape the future of PSBA:
September 27th is the next PSBA Board meeting. The Board will be setting goals for 2015 and considering proposals for projects, classes, speakers and events – and more. If you have input you’d like the board to consider – we want to hear it! Let’s make PSBA even better than it is! please email [email protected] before Saturday Sept 27th
November is PSBA’s annual business meeting (and Potluck) –
- PSBA members get the opportunity to vote on trustees and officers, filling 6 open trustee positions (2 year terms) and 4 open PSBA Officer positions (1 year term). If you have interest in serving PSBA in a leadership position, please get in touch with me or an existing board member.
- To encourage board service, I offer my testimony on board service for PSBA – it is exciting…formulating the organization’s goals and seeing them come to life with the energy and collaboration of many volunteers is very rewarding. While having fun (the board’s number 1 value), I get to hone my leadership skills AND establish lifelong friendships and mentors in the process. PSBA is 100% volunteer run and is a safe and supporting environment to explore and learn new things – If you have time and skills to offer PSBA, I encourage you to consider serving as a board member or committee member.
See you at the September meeting on Tuesday!