Does Seed Treatment Dust Affect Honey Bees?

An Ohio State University is looking into the impact of seed treatment dust on honey bee colonies at Farm Science Review this year.

Published on: Sep 13, 2013

If you come to the 2013 Ohio Farm Science Review you can get some insight into the effects that agriculture production has on honey bees. Two separate research projects involving honey bee colonies will be highlighted at the farm show. In addition to research on seed treatment dust impacts studies are being conducted on new practices in colony building. 

Reed Johnson, Ohio State University entomologist, began a research project in April, prior to corn planting, by establishing six honey bee colonies on-site at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center, home of the Farm Science Review, to determine where in the landscape the bees may have been exposed to seed-treatment dust emanating from the planters.   

Does Seed Treatment Dust Affect Honey Bees?
Does Seed Treatment Dust Affect Honey Bees?

Preliminary results have concluded that the honey bees foraged on dandelions in late April, collected tree pollen in early May and then switched to trees in the rose family in mid-May, according to Johnson.

"The honey bees at FSR seemed to do really well this spring," says Johnson. "We are still in the process of determining whether and how the bees were exposed to insecticides in corn seed-treatment dust on these flowers."

In an unrelated project, the West Central Ohio Beekeepers Association, in conjunction with the Heartland Honey Bee Breeders Cooperative, have embarked on a project that entails replacing honey bee colonies that die out during the winter with nucleus colonies, or small, starter colonies, according to Dwight Wells, WCOBA President and founding member of the HHBBC.

"WCOBA queen producers will have access to the co-op's breeder queens during the project," says Wells. "The co-op, which was formed last June at Purdue University, involves the cooperative sharing of information, techniques and disease-resistant genetics between queen producers in numerous northern states, such as Ohio, Indiana and West Virginia."

During this year's Farm Science Review, WCOBA will be holding demonstrations at the Gwynne Conservation Area highlighting several of the hives and queen bees that originated from the co-op.

"While the Farm Science Review is largely known for our focus on farming, we also want to highlight other topics related to environmental science," says Matt Sullivan, Assistant Manager of the Farm Science Review. "The bee research that is being conducted on-site is a first for us, and we're glad to partner with WCOBA once again this year to enhance the educational aspect of the show."

Be sure to visit Ohio Farmer at the 2013 Farm Science Review will be held September 17-19. We're located at 425 Friday Ave. Advance sale tickets are available at any Ohio State University Extension office, local agribusinesses or online for $7. Tickets will be sold at the gate for $10. For more information on the Farm Science Review, a complete schedule of events and exhibitor listings, visit fsr.osu.edu.

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