The State of Bee Health _ “anti-neonic hyperbola”

This a short update of the hyperbola around some the issues being bantered about in the blog-o-shere brought to you by Randy Oliver – respected beekeeper and well respected contributor to the publishing world.

The source is ScientificBeekeeping.com

Beekeeping Through the Eyes of a Biologist
“Neonics in Ontario”

A recent hotbed of anti-neonic activism is Ontario, Canada, in which an unlikely coalition of a few beekeepers and some media-savvy NGO’s is pushing the government to ban these insecticides. Let me state very clearly that I myself support organic and sustainable farming, use of Integrated Pest Management, and greatly reduced use of pesticides. That said, I feel that any pesticide regulations, and agricultural recommendations, should be based upon sound science.

“An exemplar of this philosophy is Dr. Terry Daynard, formerly a professor and Assistant Dean of the Ontario Agricultural College, and currently a farmer himself. Daynard recently received the “2014 Farm & Food Care Champion” award from Farm and Food Care.org, with the introduction that “Daynard is a champion of agriculture in many ways. He is respected as a farmer, scientist, innovator and agricultural advocate, speaking up and advocating sound science even in the presence of criticism by those that don’t agree with him.”

Dr. Daynard applies a sound and scientific assessment of how misinformation can taint well-intentioned environmental regulation in his blog “Critique of “A Proposal for Enhancing Pollinator Health.””

We all want to minimize agriculture’s negative effects on the environment. This includes greatly reducing our reliance upon pesticides. But such reduction needs to evolve as we learn (or re learn) alternate and more sustainable strategies for growing food. This is best done by rational and sober scientific assessment of current and alternative practices. I commend Dr. Daynard pointing this out.

I’m also impressed by a recent blog by Dr. David Zaruk, who is a Risk Governance Analyst at Risk Perception Management and an Assistant Professor Adjunct in Communications at Vesalius College, VUB, and Facultés universitaires St-Louis in Brussels. He blogs under the name of the “Risk Monger.” He recently posted about the real-life agricultural and ecological consequences of the politically- (as opposed to scientifically-) motivated suspension of neonic seed treatments in the EU. http://risk-monger.blogactiv.eu/2014/09/30/the-save-the-bees-ban-failed-crops-and-another-precautionary-fail-who-is-to-blame/

Read previous blogs here:

http://scientificbeekeeping.com/news-and-blogs-page/

Dec 2, 2013 If you have interest in the recent petitions to ban the neonics, I recommend reading a letter to the respected journal Nature by a British bee researcher, Lynn Dicks, in which she points out the problems with hurried setting of policy based upon political pressure rather than upon careful scientific evaluation of the evidence http://www.nature.com/news/bees-lies-and-evidence-based-policy-1.12443

Such a careful evaluation of all evidence is what I’m all about, even if that is unpopular with those who don’t want to be confused by the facts. I currently feel that the problem with planting dust from corn seeding has finally reached the point where the manufacturers either have to take responsibility for compensating beekeepers who suffer losses due to the application of their products, or EPA and PMRA need to restrict the use of neonic seed treatments to only planters that pass dust emission certification. However, I feel that to date there is not enough evidence to call for a complete ban on the neonics–there are simply too many beekeepers successfully keeping healthy hives in areas of seed-treated crops. Clearly this is a hot issue, and the neonics, along with all pesticides need to be closely watched and regulated. It appears to me that our regulatory agencies are doing a good job at this, even if progress seems to be excruciatingly slow.

The most recent blog of interest is on the real people involved in biotechnology (GMO’s). Steve Savage writes:

“As with any new technology, the development and commercialization of biotech crops is a story about people. Its a story about people with ideas and vision; people who did hard and creative work; people who took career or business risks, and people who integrated this new technology into the complex business of farming… Their story is important, but it tends to get lost in much of the conversation about biotech crops.

Many narratives about “GMOs” leave out the people side, presenting it instead as some faceless, monolithic phenomenon devoid of human inspiration, intention and influence. Thats not how it happened. Other narratives about “GMOs” demonize those who made biotech crops a reality. Such portrayals are neither fair or accurate. The real stories of these people matter, because trust in a technology is greatly influenced by what people believe about those behind it.”

Read the rest at:

http://appliedmythology.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-people-side-of-gmo-crops-part-i.html”

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