Tuesday, 2 December 2014
The Swarmonitor project aims to develop a tool for diagnostic monitoring of honey bee colonies, by monitoring vibrations in the hive.
The Swarmonitor consortium is carrying out a study investigating changes and patterns in buzzing in the hive which may indicate swarming, health disorders or deterioration in the hive.
There are 600,000 beekeepers in the European sector and the industry generates revenue of more than 400 million euros. However, the number of beekeepers in Europe is declining at an alarming rate. Honey imports to the EU have risen by 20% since 2001. Bees also play a vital role in agricultural productivity and their economic value as pollinators far exceeds all hive products.
A remote monitoring tool would significantly improve the efficiency of beekeeping making it far less time-consuming and costly. Beekeeping currently requires physical visits to the hive and regular inspections.
Investigation of the spatial distribution of honey-bee vibrations in a hiveDetails
Repeatability data for swarming predictionDetails
Experiments for acquisition of the diagnostic information found in vibrational signalDetails
Exploration of algorithms for monitoring honey bee hive condition on the basis of vibrational measurementsDetails
Hardware and software development for a cost-effective monitoring toolDetails
Sunday, 30 November 2014
Role of pesticides in bee decline - Scientists call for evidence-driven debate
Scientists call for evidence-driven debate
An international panel of scientists including Professor Lin Field from Rothamsted Research, which receives strategic funding from the BBSRC, is today calling for an evidence-driven debate over whether a widely used type of insecticide is to blame for declines in bees and other insect pollinators.
An EU ban on certain neonicotinoid insecticides was introduced in December 2013 because of fears they are harming pollinating insects. Pollination by insects is critical for many crops and for wild plants but at the same time neonicotinoids are one of the most effective insecticides used by farmers. Potential tensions amongst the agricultural and environmental consequences of neonicotinoid use have made this topic one of the most controversial involving science and policy.
A restatement of the scientific evidence on neonicotinoids has today been published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The restatement, from a group of nine scientists led by Professor Charles Godfray and Professor Angela McLean of the Oxford Martin School at Oxford University, clarifies the scientific evidence available on neonicotinoids, to enable different stakeholders to develop coherent policy and practice recommendations.
One of the authors Professor Lin Field from Rothamsted Research said "It was a pleasure to work with my co-authors who all have diverse expertises, relevant to the debate over the potential effects of neonicotinoids on pollinators, but all wanted to look at evidence rather than opinion. It is essential that we base decisions in this important area on science, so that we find the best way forward to ensure both pollinator success and good crop protection strategies for food production."
Professor Charles Godfray said: “Pollinators are clearly exposed to neonicotinoid insecticides, but seldom to lethal doses, and we need a better understanding of the consequences of realistic sub-lethal doses to the insect individual, bee colony and pollinator population.”
Professor Angela McLean added; “A major question to be addressed is what farmers will do now that they face restrictions on the use of neonicotinoids. Will they switch to crops that need less insecticide treatment or might they apply older but more dangerous chemicals?”
The restatement describes how much insecticide is present in a treated plant and how much is consumed by pollinators. It goes on to summarise how neonicotinoids affect individual bees and other pollinators, and the consequences at the colony and population levels.
In reaction to this study, Professor Ian Boyd, Chief Scientific Advisor at Defra said: “It is essential that policies on the use of pesticides are built on sound scientific evidence. This paper provides an independent assessment of this subject which will provide clarity and authority in order to help people make more informed choices."
Paul de Zylva, from Friends of the Earth, commented: “This project is an important step toward much needed public and scientific debate and scrutiny. The Government should support and fund both more open science and safer ways to grow crops as part of its National Pollinator Strategy due in July.”
Since their introduction in the 1990s, the use of neonicotinoids has expanded so that today they comprise about 30% by value of the global insecticide market
Insects are important for pollinating many UK crops, including strawberry, raspberry, apple, pear, plum, tomato and many vegetables.
The populations of both managed honeybees and wild pollinators were declining before the widespread use of neonicotinoids, with habitat change and honeybee disease thought to be particularly important causes.
A series of experiments have raised the possibility that widespread neonicotinoid use may exacerbate pollinator decline, though other studies find fewer effects of the insecticide.
For media enquires please contact Carole Scott or Sally-Anne Stewart at the Oxford Martin School.
Carole Scott: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 01865 287438 M: 07791 253436
email@example.com or 01865 287429
Notes to Editors
The paper (Proc. R. Soc. B 281: 20150558) and electronic supplementary material is open access and available here http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/lookup/doi/10.1098/rspb.2014.0558. A concatenated version can be downloaded at http://www.futureoffood.ox.ac.uk/news/neonics.
This summary is the second in a planned series of “restatements”, part of a project led by Professors Angela McLean & Charles Godfray from the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford. They are designed to help policy-makers access scientific evidence in controversial topics. To do this, a group of respected scientists who represent the range of views on a particular topic are convened. They together write the “restatement” of the evidence. The restatement is a series of paragraphs designed to be: concise and jargon-free, as policy neutral as possible, and each assigned a score denoting the strength and nature of the underlying evidence. Before publication each restatement is sent to a large number of interested parties and the group prepares the final version in the light of their comments.
Also taking part in the project were: Tjeerd Blacquière from Wageningen University and Research Centre, the Netherlands; Linda Field from Rothamsted Research; Rosemary Hails and Adam Vanbergen from the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology; Gillian Petrokofsky from Oxford University; Simon Potts from Reading University and Nigel Raine from the University of Guelph, Canada.
The EU has banned the use of three types of neonicotinoids on crops attractive to bees for a minimum of two years.
Defra is the UK’s Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
The European Commission has adopted a proposal (Regulation (EU) No 485/2013 ) to restrict the use of 3 pesticides belonging to the neonicotinoids family (clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam) for a period of 2 years. An Appeal Committee vote on 29 April 2013 returned an inconclusive opinion where: 15 Member States supported the proposal, 4 abstained and 8 voted against. Since no qualified majority was reached, procedurally, the responsibility on deciding whether to adopt the proposal was with the Commission.
Neonicotinoids and bees
Rothmasted’s position statement on this.
We are concerned that the decision has been made through political lobbying, rather than a comprehensive and sound scientific risk-benefit assessment. In our view there is still is not enough clear evidence supporting a ban on neonicotinoids. Of course they can kill bees, they are insecticides; but whether they actually do this, or whether sublethal effects occur and damage the colonies on any important scale, has not been proven.There are many other factors known to affect bee colonies - the varroa mite, the bee viruses spread by the mites, pesticides that beekeepers use to kill the mites, climate effects and flower and nectar availability - all of which need to be taken into consideration. Thinking we can solve the bee problem by a ban on neonicotinoids may mean we overlook these other important factors.
What’s more, the decision does not take account of the risk of the ban on our ability to control insect pests and secure crop yields. Securing, and indeed increasing yields for food security, is a priority in Europe and will require a crop protection strategy to avoid unnecessary losses. At present and until we find reliable and effective alternatives, the control of insect pests (and the crop diseases they carry) will rely on the use of chemical insecticides and banning neonicotinoids will reduce our options.
A major biological risk of removing an entire chemistry is that resistance will develop against the remaining products. This is exactly what has happened in human health with bacterial antibiotic resistance. Or are we willing to accept lower yields, leading to greater imports and potentially higher food prices? The UK has already become a net importer of wheat this year for the first time in a decade. It has also been reported that a ban on neonicotinoids could result in a significant impact to UK oilseed farmers, costing the UK economy £630m each year.
That said, we should not ignore the potential implications of pesticide use on pollinators. Rather than an immediate ban, we should take this opportunity to further study and de-convolute the many possible causes of colony collapse and aberrant foraging behaviour. This will then help us to balance the risks and benefits for crop protection, crop pollination, ecosystem function and our health appropriately.
We need a proper science-led risk assessment to understand the effects of pesticides (and their active ingredients) on bees, whilst considering the effects on other pollinators (both wild and managed), within the context of farming practice and the wider ecosystem. This will help us balance the risks and benefits for crop protection, crop pollination, ecosystem function and our health appropriately. More work is required to get these data.
Annual General Meeting
Dengie 100 & Maldon Beekeepers
Division of Essex Beekeepers
Registered charity No 1031419
The AGM will take place
The Oakhouse, High Street, Maldon CM9 5PF
The Oakhouse, High Street, Maldon CM9 5PF
Wednesday 14 January 2015
7.30pm for 8pm start
On behalf of the DMBKA Committee, I am pleased to invite you to attend the forthcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Dengie 100 & Maldon Beekeepers Association.
Please find attached the agenda. The financial accounts for this year will be presented at the meeting and will be made available on the website www.dmbka.org.uk prior to the meeting.
For nominations, please request a Nomination Form 2015 from the secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01245 381577.
Nominations for all positions are welcome and will be accepted at any time but no later than Sunday 11 January 2015.
Voting members are those who have paid subscriptions for 2014 whose names appear on the Members Register held by the Division and in line with the Rules of EBKA.
7.30pm for 8pm,
Wednesday 14 January 2015,
The Oakhouse, High Street, Maldon CM9 5PF,
Wednesday 14 January 2015,
The Oakhouse, High Street, Maldon CM9 5PF,
- Opening of Meeting
- Confirmation of Minutes of previous Annual General Meeting
- Presentation of Annual Report by Chairman
- Adoption of Annual Report
- Presentation of Treasurer’s report
- Election of New Executive (Chairman Treasurer Secretary Trustee)
- Committee Members
- Presentation and Adoption of DMBKA Divisional Hive Policy
- Any other business
Saturday, 29 November 2014
Monday, 24 November 2014
Monday, 10 November 2014
Sunday, 14 September 2014
Sunday, 7 September 2014
Friday, 5 September 2014
Outbreaks of American foulbrood (AFB) are occurring again this year in many places in Europe and elsewhere. This is the major problem for beekeepers in New Zealand.
Eradicating this bacterium (Paenibacillus larva) is practically impossible because it is almost always present in bee colonies. It is therefore important that favourable circumstances for this bacterium do not arise. This can only be achieved by makingthe bees, the bee colonies and the bee system stronger.
In order to understand something about AFB it is important to know the characteristics of this bacterium. Paenibacillus is a facultative anaerobic bacterium, in other words, the bacterium can flourish both in the presence and absence of oxygen. In the presence of oxygen the bacterium is exposed to competition from other bacteria and the likelihood of a harmful infection among bee larvae is very low. In the absence of oxygen this competition is lacking. The bacterium generates an anaerobic environment itself by creating a certain type of biofilm, within which it experiences no competition from other microorganisms. In addition the bacterium uses a mechanism whereby iron is extracted from the environment.
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