If you are a member and have anything that you feel is important to chemical free beekeeping, please email it to me. I will post it in this section in a future issue. Thank you. Dennis

Where ever you live in the world you should apply the information on working your bees that is given below when the weather conditions in your area are right. So take notes and be ready.

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This new year has finally started off on the right track here in Texas. We have had an ample amount of rainfall. The bees have built-up nicely and the yaupon honey flow has just begun. Hopefully, everyone in these warmer states have performed their hive inspections, taken mite load counts and their bees are ready to make you some surplus honey during the flow.

Next month we will talk about performing a mite count and what to do if the mite level is too high.    Dennis

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 I listed below for your information on how the queen breeders come up with marking colors for the queens. You should always make sure that the new queen you purchase has the right color based on the year.

Queen mark colors based on year-ending numbers.

0 or 5---Blue

1 or 6---White

2 or 7---Yellow

3 0r 8---Red

4 or 9---Green

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 Beekeepers & Environmental 

 Groups to EPA: Pesticide Approval is "Irresponsible" & "Damaging" 

Over 1 million urge EPA to suspend use of pesticide harmful to bees, fix broken regulatory system.    

 Washington, DC —Today, commercial beekeepers and environmental organizations filed an urgent legal petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to suspend further use of a pesticide the agency knows poses harm to honey bees, and adopt safeguards to ensure similar future pesticides aren’t approved by the agency. The legal petition is supported by over one million citizen petitions also submitted today that were collected from people across the country calling out one pesticide in particular – clothianidin – for its harmful impacts on honey bees.

 “EPA has an obligation to protect pollinators from the threat of pesticides,” said Jeff Anderson of California Minnesota Honey Farms, a co-petitioner. “The Agency has failed to adequately regulate pesticides harmful to pollinators despite scientific and on-the-ground evidence presented by academics and beekeepers.”

 Over two dozen beekeepers and beekeeper organizations from across the country, from California and Minnesota to Kansas and New York, filed the legal petition with the EPA today. Many of these family-owned beekeeping operations are migratory, with beekeepers traveling the country from state-to-state, during different months of the year to providing pollination services and harvesting honey and wax. And they are concerned about the continued impacts on bees and their beekeeping operations, which are already in jeopardy.

 “The future of beekeeping faces numerous threats, including from clothianidin, and we need to take steps to protect pollinators and the livelihood of beekeepers,” said Steve Ellis of Old Mill Honey Co and a co-petitioner. 

 Nine years ago, scientists within the EPA required a field study examining the potential harms of clothianidin to non-target insects - specifically honey bees - because they had reason to believe the pesticide may harm pollinators. In the years since EPA first required this study, a substantial body of scientific evidence has confirmed that the use of clothianidin, a persistent chemical, presents substantial risks to honey bees and other insects that are in or near recently sown fields.

 “EPA ignored its own requirements and failed to study the impacts of clothianidin on honey bees,” said Peter Jenkins, an attorney for the Center for Food Safety and co-petitioner. “The body of evidence against the chemical continues to grow, yet the agency has refused to take action.”

 The legal petition points to the fact that EPA failed to follow its own regulations. EPA granted a conditional, or temporary, registration to clothianidin in 2003 without a required field study establishing that the pesticide would have no “unreasonable adverse effects” on pollinators. Granting conditional registration was contingent upon the subsequent submission of an acceptable field study, but this requirement has not been met. EPA continues to allow the use of clothianidin nine years after acknowledging that it had an insufficient legal basis for allowing its use to begin with. Additionally, the product labels on pesticides containing clothianidin are inadequate to prevent excessive damage to non-target organisms, which is a second violation of the requirements for using a pesticide and further warrants removing all such mislabeled pesticides from use.

Over 1.25 million people, including many hobbyist beekeepers, submitted comments in partnership with the organizations Avaaz, Change.org, Credo, Pesticide Action Network, Beyond Pesticides and Neals Yard Remedies/Care2.com, calling on EPA to take action on clothianidin.

 “EPA should move swiftly to close the loophole and revoke the conditional registration of clothianidin,” said Heather Pilatic, co-director of Pesticide Action Network and a co-petitioner. “Bees and beekeepers can’t afford to wait another nine years for inaction.”

 Petitioners point to the agency’s demonstrated delay in analyzing potentially harmful products and then taking them off the market. EPA is concurrently conducting a review of clothianidin’s registration, which it projects completing in 2018.

 Beekeepers estimate the real value of their operations at $50 billion, based on retail value of food and crop grown from seed that relies upon bee pollination. Bees in particular are responsible for pollinating many high-value crops, including pumpkins, cherries, cranberries, almonds, apples, watermelons, and blueberries. So any decline in bee populations, health and productivity can have especially large impacts on agriculture, the food system and rural economies. Honey bees are the most economically important pollinators in the world, according to a recent United Nations report on the global decline of pollinator populations.

Beekeepers have survived the economic recession only to find their operations are still threatened.  Recent, catastrophic declines in honey bee populations, termed “Colony Collapse Disorder,” have been linked to a wide variety of factors, including parasites, habitat loss and pesticides like clothianidin.

“Independent research links pollinator declines, especially honey bees, to a wide range of problems with industrial agriculture, especially pesticides,” said John Kepner, program director at Beyond Pesticides and a co-petitioner.

Neonicotinoids, a class of systemic pesticides, is taken up a plant and expressed through the plants through which bees then forage and pollinate. Recent research in the journal PLoS ONE underscores the threat of these pesticides through a previously undocumented exposure route – planter exhaust – the talc and air mix expelled into the environment as automated planters place neonicotinoid-treated seeds into the ground during spring planting.

 As a result of the petition, EPA may choose to suspend the use of clothianidin, or open a public comment process to evaluate the concerns voiced by beekeepers and environmental organizations.

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The below information was sent to us from member "Kate Canning" in England.

Hello Dennis,

  I did send this information before, but not sure you received it.  After we were successful Jan 2011, in getting the British Beekeeping Association to stop endorsing pesticides for money, we went on to form a charity (see rest of this email).  Could you please circulate this to your network?  Thank you. Best wishes Kate

 We are ‘small blue marble’ (smallbluemarble.org.uk) a new environmental research charity formed by a small  group of UK beekeepers committed to supporting the environment  and the long term pesticide research work of Dr Henk Tennekes, a Dutch toxicologist.  

In November 2010 Dr Tennekes published a book (available in English and German) “The Systemic Insecticides – A Disaster in the Making” (www.disasterinthemaking.com).  He wrote this book following his discovery (published in the journal Toxicology) that the risks of neonicotinoid insecticides had been seriously underestimated and to warn the general public about an impending environmental catastrophe inflicted by the widespread use of these chemicals. 

Dan Rather’s recent report ‘BEE AWARE’ on US station HDNet about neonicotinoids illustrates the risk these pesticides pose to pollinators but also underpins the urgent need for an independent pesticide research unit which is currently non-existent.

Please take a look at Dan’s report  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTk8Sj6lrZ4 

It is now clear that pesticide risk assessment may require entirely new approaches. Traditional approaches ignore the underlying mechanism of toxicity and this deficiency may lead to serious underestimates of actual risk of many pesticides. To view the introductory video, please visit our website: http://www.smallbluemarble.org.uk?page_id=187   or go direct to the YouTube link at http://youtu.be/hBcb8z6-jCA

small blue marble is dedicated to:

Conduct unbiased pesticide research

Publish the results among the scientific community

Share this information with the public in an accessible manner

Enable the public and other stakeholders to express informed and on-going views about the impact of pesticides on our planet.

Equip today’s children to be better guardians (than we have been) of tomorrow’s world.

We need your help: http://www.smallbluemarble.org.uk.  Please visit our “donate” page and use either the “donate” button or our direct bank transfer details.  The  money we raise will continue to be the springboard of Dr Tennekes’ research grant.  For every donation of £10 or more, the donor will receive an e-version of Dr Tennekes’ stylish and very readable book “The Systemic Insecticides – A Disaster in the Making.” http://www.smallbluemarble.org.uk

We have received the first amazingly generous donation of £5,000 towards Dr Tennekes’ work.  This also makes small blue marble eligible to register with the Charities Commission, which we are in the process of doing.  If you would like to support or endorse small blue marble can we please mention it on our website and can we exchange links with your website?

 Thank you.      Bernie, Kate & Ian    kate@smallbluemarble.org.uk     small blue marble

 12 Chestnut Avenue Hampton    Middlesex TW12 2NU   t: ++44 (0)20 8487 3734