Saving The Bee A Major Issue At Oregon State

Loss of hives a growing threat to ag industry.

Published on: Oct 24, 2013

Oregon State University is hot on the trail of improving the lot of honeybees, an interest triggered by declining populations of the insect vital to agriculture.

OSU has a new tool for the industry in the Pacific Northwest to reduce the impact of pesticides on bees.

A revised publication is available in the wake of an estimated loss of 50,000 bees in a Wilsonville parking lot in mid-2013. The Oregon Department of Agriculture confirmed that the deaths were related to an application of a pesticide to city trees to prevent aphids, a problem not linked to agriculture.

However, the episode has resulted in ODA slapping a six-month restriction on use of 18 insecticides containing dinotefuran.

A new version of an Oregon State U publication reviewing prevention of pesticide kills of honeybees is not available online for no cost.
A new version of an Oregon State U publication reviewing prevention of pesticide kills of honeybees is not available online for no cost.

OSU is checking the impact of broad-spectrum neonicotinoids such as dinotefuran on native bees.

To help out, OSU has released a revised edition of "How to Reduce Bee Poisoning from Pesticides," a pamphlet including updated versions of research and regulations. You can download your own free copy at http://bit.ly/OSU_ReduceBeePoisoning.

"More than 60,000 honeybee colonies pollinate about 50 different crops in Oregon, including blueberries, cherries, pears, apples, clover, meadowfoam and carrot seed," notes Ramesh Sagili, OSU honeybee specialist.

"Without honeybees, you lose an industry worth nearly $500 million from sales of the crops they commercially pollinate."

Nationally, honeybees pollinated about $11.68 billion worth of crops a year, according to an economic study by Cornell University.

The revamped publication describes residual toxicity periods for several pesticides that remain effective for extended periods after they are applied. The new release also offers a guide on how to investigate and report suspected bee poisonings.

Honeybee colonies have been in decline due to many problems, the most concerning of all which is attacks by mites and the viruses they transmit to cause colony collapse. About 22% of the commercial honeybee colonies in Oregon were lost n 2112-13, estimates indicate.