Friday, April 6, 2012

Insecticidal seed treatments can harm honey bees

Recently, Christian Krupke (field crops extension entomologist at Purdue University) published a paper on how honey bees may be getting exposed to a class of insecticides most commonly used in seed treatments. The authors found neonicotinoids in soil, dandelions, and pollen. Dead and dying bees collected from aparies near agricultural fields had traces of neonicotinoids.

He recommends the following to minimize exposure to honey bees during planting:

1. Farmers should be in communication about planting timing with local beekeepers.
2. Beekeepers should move hives during planting if possible.
3. Use the appropriate amount of talc to plant treated seed.
4. Do not clean planter equipment near fields.

 For more information, read this recent ICM News article.

 Honey bees exhibit neurotoxic symptoms when dosed with neonicotinoids. Dying bees have trouble flying, collecting food and getting back into the hive. Photo by John Obermeyer, Purdue Extension Entomology.

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