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Don Mac

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Don Mac last won the day on October 20 2019

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  1. Seed coatings include many products that are not insecticides or fungicides - the main pesticides used. Most common are fertiliser coatings, but some seeds are coated in lubricants to ensure even sowing. Colours are often added to seed coatings to deter birds from eating the seeds and make the seed attractive to buyers - YES. Here is a sale brochure from a NZ seed coater. You will note there is no mention of any pesticide. http://www.seedinnovations.co.nz/assets/PRODUCTS/FILM COAT LIQUIDS WEB.pdf One discussion item I missed above about this research which sort of destroys this paper. Red clover is not honey bees favourite plant, they prefer white clover. Bumble bees feed of red clover much more efficiently. And we discussed this on a prior thread -
  2. Just saw this thread. This study may not apply to NZ. In NZ you cannot use a neonic seed treatment on clover. No treatment is registered. But farmers can sow grass seed treated with neonic chemicals, and mix this with untreated clover seed to establish a mixed ryegrass/clover crop. All the info I have seen suggests that the neonic will be absorbed through the soil into the clover. Thiacloprid is not registered as a seed treatment in NZ only as a foliar spray on kiwifruit, pip fruit, stone fruit, onions and potatoes. No application on clover is authorised.
  3. It maybe a race to the bottom, but it can get a lot worse than just low prices. I can remember when my father had to pay the freezing works to take and slaughter his cull ewes. It was the early 70s. Today fat ewes are worth more than new seasons lambs. As @kaihoka observes the price of food has always been cyclable - up and down. But today we face a single dominant buyer - China. They have always used their market clout to dominate the market and the price they pay. @Jamesc if no one even the local householder does not wish to buy your honey, we have a market acceptance problem in Canterbury and perhaps the rest of NZ.
  4. I would like to see this discussion get back to how we can improve our honey markets to make this business a long term sustainable proposition. So I am not going to mention any drinking. My aim is to see a 500 g jar of honey in every household in NZ - provided as a low cost option. The goal to get rid of the inventory overhang. I cannot believe it is to hard. Secondly I do not expect that the pariahs who run our supermarket industry will be interested in supporting it. This example has been published recently by the ABC. https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2018-01-18/generous-farmers-free-mangoes-and-war-on-waste/9339062 The guy gives away all his B Grade Mangos for free! Some good learning's here; There is a huge amount of waste in the retail supermarket trade in fresh vegetables and fruit. The elderly cannot afford a retailer selling the fruit for $3 each. The give away is gathering interest in others wishing to buy his crop. I am not suggesting that we give away our honey for free. But if a beekeeper is only getting $3 per kg, why not sell it at the door for that price if the customer brings a jar. I am not suggesting our quality honeys are sold at this price, just the large volume of mixed flora honey. Oh dear I have just upset the food police at MPI!
  5. It does not matter where you keep bees, NZ's problems are the same for beekeeper's overseas. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/07/honeybees-deaths-almonds-hives-aoe?CMP=share_btn_fb&fbclid=IwAR3hx5PwIUNtNFTQ8n16grm8gLR_u-Shb-2XM3ZEeG9jvRL5Zkzth1xSfAk This US Beekeeper has to compete with honey imports......we do not. What concerns me is this huge market overhang. NZ should have cheap honey if that volume of honey is sitting in storage waiting for rich customer. Many years ago the NZ Dairy Board bought up large volumes of butter in storage in Europe, processed it into dairy fats and resold it - just to get rid of the market overhang. The only guy making money out of this volume of stored honey is the storage company or the bank manager funding it. The best option is to sell it off, even at cheap prices. Remove the inventory overhang. The goal should be to have a 500 g pot of honey (the best in the world) in every household for a few dollars and another in the bag of every tourist leaving the country.
  6. @Pinnacle you are correct, but fortunately due to some major customers overseas for our fruit our growers have stopped using them. The major use for imidacloprid was for foliar spraying of kiwifruit and pip fruit (apples and pears). When the link between bee deaths and neonicotinoids was established in Europe the major supermarket buyers such as COSTCO, TESCO, Sainsbury, ALDI, etc (companies we love to hate and COSTCO are moving here soon) said they did not want the fruit they purchased sprayed with neonicotinoid chemistry. When you biggest buyer says do not spray these chemicals, growers in NZ stopped using them. They are still used on some minor crops. @M4tt Oh why did you mention 1080? Imidacloprid is much more soil and water persistent than 1080........The Wintermantel paper I copied above for you, noted that imidacloprid residues in soils 5 years after application. No one has detected residues of 1080 in NZ that are that old. Our EPA has set EELs (Environmental Exposure Limits) for 1080 and imidacloprid. The EPA only measures the residues of 1080 in application areas to check the EEL is not being exceeded. They have not detected it yet. My guess is that they will never find it! The EPA has never measured residues of imidacloprid in soils and waterways in application areas or checked to see if EELs are being exceeded. What we do know now as beekeepers is that it sticks around and is out there in larger amounts than we expected - large enough to kill a bee. @tristan You are correct that imidacloprid is very soluble in water. There was water in the soil sample. Wet areas are avoided because puddling can cause concentration of soluble chemicals. What you need to understand is that the research did not establish how the bees died as reported by Neil Mossop and Paul Badger. That is still to be determined. I walked for hours with Dr Chris Pook through harvested maize paddocks looking for bees - never spotted any. We placed some hives in maize paddocks to observe bee behaviour, they flew regularly out of the maize paddock - we expected the bees to die but our sample hives did not. We did have a Masters Student who was to study the relationship of the environment to the beehive in these areas in the Gisborne region, but they decided that they did not wish to do a Masters thesis and pulled the plug. So there is a lot more research to be undertaken on this project alone. My thoughts are this is the first testing to be done. Hopefully more researchers will follow this up in other areas and look more closely at what is happening in the environment. Neonicotinoids have been used in NZ for 30 years, seed treatments, general home garden insecticide, horticulture foliar insecticides and as a remedy for pet fleas and fly strike in sheep. We should not be waiting for 30 years for this environmental research to be undertaken - it is our environment and we should be doing more monitoring and measuring.
  7. @Sailabee @M4tt @ChrisM you raise some good points. My point is that with research funding beekeepers could do the research to show the chemical companies and regulators are wrong. The chemical companies and regulators are in close cooperation. Please review the application document for the EPA to simplify our hazard classification system which includes the removal of hazard classes for ecotoxicology. https://www.epa.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/Documents/Hazardous-Substances/GHS_Consultation_Document_for_Public_Release.pdf Submissions are due 9/1/2020 @yesbut no bloody way - NO. I had to say it that way because of your nom de plume. Coromandel is not a major cropping area. What crop that are grown do not need seed treatment. Samples analysed from hives showed no chemical residues of concern. The sampling of surviving bees in hives were clear that two pathogens were present nosema ceranae and lotmaria passim.
  8. Hi Bron The Gisborne beekeepers call it "maize flats disease" which is incorrect; 1) it is not a disease 2) in Gisborne it is not just associated with maize - includes other crops such as Squash, sweet corn, tomatoes etc. Yes brassicas are also a crop that uses insecticide seed treatments - the Wintermantel paper is concerned with canola cropping ( a brassica). Out biggest challenge is getting accurate data from beekeepers and farmers who all could be citizen scientists. Chemical companies have limited value. To date we can only find 4 published scientific papers investigating neonicotinoid residues in our Kiwi environment. There is no research being done on environmental effects. Since the advent of the HSNO Act, the EPA set Environmental Exposure limits for Neonicotinoids for soils and waterways - no one has been out to measure them since they were set. We need reports from beekeepers. Please read the February Beekeeper when it comes out. Happy New Year Don Some additional background info The Pook Gritcan paper resulted in a well known beekeeper Neil Mossop complaining to me in 2014 that he did not know what could be killing his bees in the Whakatane maize growing area. Mid winter I did a drive through the Whakatane area, jumped the fence and stole some samples that I had screened at Hills Labs and AUT. I subscribe to the belief that if you are not analysing and measuring, then you have no reason to complain and cannot manage your bees. See results in slide 8.https://www.epa.govt.nz/assets/FileAPI/hsno-ar/APP202077/APP202077_APP202077_Hearing_presentation_Bee_Keepers.pdf I was at that stage unaware of some earlier measuring work from Gisborne's Paul Badger. But soon had it, our focus group shares lots of info. You will also note Paul Badger's early work and data round Gisborne in 2004 -05 seasons. See slide 6. Simple records well collected and reported - GREAT STUFF. The Apiculture NZ Science and Research Focus Group pushes barrows up hill, delivering their concerns about new chemicals to the EPA. We need more beekeeper support now. We do not want to picking up stuffed beekeepers who did nothing. Example; a new Bayer product called Method 240SL, “the control of wilding conifers and woody weeds on non-crop farm land and conservation land such as native bush, recreational and tourist areas and on industrial sites such as railways, roadways and utility rights of way.” You can read all about it here - https://www.epa.govt.nz/database-search/hsno-application-register/view/APP203816 Familiar areas I am certain for many beekeepers. We are the only group representing beekeepers calling for controls to be applied to this product to protect bees. Happy New Year Don
  9. Hi Folks - here is a copy of the French paper that backs up the NZ study. Thank you Jose for that link. Glad the news is spread.Wintermantel D et al 2019(IP) Neonicotinoid risk for bees in rape.pdf
  10. Newshub (TV 3) featured Dr Chris Pook and Neil Mossop in a discussion on this very topic. https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/rural/2019/12/maize-crop-chemicals-blamed-for-mass-north-island-bee-deaths.html Since the publication of Dr Chris Pook and Iran Gitan's paper there has been another paper recently published in France which shows residues of imidacloprid in Canola feilds. Wintermandel's study showed that imidacloprid residues was in the soil 5 years after they stopped using it at levels that showing a mortality risk to bees 5 years after last being used. This French paper backs up the results of the NZ Study.
  11. The first New Zealand soil residue study on neonicotinoid insecticides has just been published. Note it is only the 4th study published on pesticide residues in the environment ever published in good old clean green NZ. The cynic in me says "we really do care about the environment!" Chris Pook and Iana Gritcan have published their work in the Journal of Environmental of Pollution in their December 2019 Publication. The abstract s here; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0269749119301381?via%3Dihub Validation and application of a modified QuEChERS method for extracting neonicotinoid residues from New Zealand maize field soil reveals their persistence at nominally hazardous concentrations The study has been published by Stuff https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/117759904/study-shows-chemicals-could-cause-beehive-losses This morning Dr Pook also featured on Breakfast. Available on TVNZ On demand The Study samples were gathered from sites in the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Gisborne, where beekeepers have reported hive losses over many years, especially immediately after maize harvest. Are you one of those beekeepers? We need these reports guys - no reports then there is no action! This study owes a lot to the challenge I got from Neil Mossop of Mossops Honey who told me of their many years of experience of loosing hives, so much they do not place hives there anymore in these areas after maize harvest . His challenge was to find out what is going wrong. Well we cannot confirm causation at this stage, but it is very apparent that our Ag practices are leaving significant neonicotinoid residues in the soil and environment. Here are the main key points I have got from this study. Why is NZ not monitoring pesticide use? How much is used, where it is used and what chemistry is used? Examples of where this is used include Netherlands, California. Lack of monitoring and research into all pesticide residues in NZ This is the 4th paper published to date. We do not have a clue of what is happening in our environment. There is no testing of new pesticides on effects on native vertebrates. There is no ongoing monitoring and measuring of soil residues and waterway contamination. How are we using our pesticides? Seed treatments are used as prophylactic treatments, not specific targeted treatments. Are we apply to much with respect to seed treatments? Poor enforcement. The EPA has set Environmental Exposure Limits as per the HSNO Act. but has never measured the environment to see if limits are being exceeded. There is one exception 1080. The Minister for the Environment obviously does not care. Honey bees gather what is in the environment when they collect nectar, propolis, pollen and water; the 4 main inputs to a hive. We know they are collecting; pthathlates (detected in propolis) fungicides in wax, glyphosate in honey etc. And we have no research money as an industry to continue this work. Note the study has not yet linked the soil residues to the death of the hive, so we cannot state it is the causative factor or claim causation. The study has correlation because we went to known bee dead areas to obtain the soil samples. The study was funded by AUT. No beekeepers money was used to fund it - so we are all freeloaders. So how do we fund continuing research that could determine causation?
  12. Really good news this morning via the BBC. Always great to follow the BIG Supermarket chains in Europe - Tesco, Aldi, Costco, Sainsburys etc. They seem to lead the supply chain efforts on quality and also pesticides especially when it comes to protecting our bees. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-50551385?fbclid=IwAR1gl6SYg3Vo5fWZVyML2xyObMYhLbeBg8LUIiX3Dd2Re7t5IW8PuNvfreQ Perhaps now they have a focus on adulterated honey......and that can only benefit NZ.
  13. @Jamo, your comment about the population drop of bees in your hives prompted my memory about a fact about Movento. Movento was approved by ERMA (now the EPA back in 2008) - see decision HSR07115 https://www.epa.govt.nz/database-search/hsno-application-register/view/HSR07115 It was widely used during flowering of Kiwifruit and beekeepers noted severe population drops of their hives. These were documented by Dr John McLean. In 2012, the NBA Tech Committee applied for a reassessment of Movento. based on Bayer's application data. https://www.epa.govt.nz/assets/FileAPI/hsno-ar/APP201469/8ec3b230b9/APP201469-APP201469-Application-Form-21.08.2012.pdf The guts of the grounds for this reassessment application was this; "The original ERMA approval (HSR007693) decision completely overlooked Bayer’s Terrestrial invertebrate ecotoxicity rating of 9.4B as detailed in application HSR07115. “The difference between the Agency’s and the applicant’s assessment of reproductive/developmental toxicity is due to differing interpretations of the available data. The applicant’s derivation of the 9.4B classification is unclear as the Agency based on formulation data on bees provided by the applicant”. (Application HSR07115) The National Beekeepers Association Technical Committee (NBA TC) contends that for a systemic insecticide, the Agency’s interpretation was in serious error on the basis that while tests of the forager bees showed a high tolerance for Movento®, LD50 contact = >100ug ai/bee (p37 of 127 HSR07115) Bayer rightly reported (p. 38 of 127 HSR07115) “an almost total termination of brood development 4 days after the start of feeding”. This means that a whole cohort of bee production is lost, i.e. 7 weeks later this failed brood should have been at the forager stage but they are simply not there to gather honey. The Agency was in serious error to ignore this important information." Our concern was that ERMA had made an incorrect risk analysis of effects on bees in the original approval - and that opinion still stands as the EPA approved our grounds for reassessment. Dr McLean gathered data In 2008 bee safety was determined by effects of the pesticide on adult bees, not brood. This showed a decline in beehive strength to about 40% of what was in the hive at the start of pollination. We did not proceed with a push for the reassessment, because it was about 2013 when Zespri made a push for NO SPRAYING during FLOWERING on KIwifruit. Plus it could have cost the NBA a lot of money back then - taking on Bayer could have been a huge challenge. Problem solved we thought then @Jamo came along and clearly you have experienced an orchardist spraying during flowering. The hive losses you experienced are significant. @Jamo have you reported these hive losses to Zespri? They have active customers overseas who wish to see no harm to bees used for pollination of the fruit they buy. Have you reported this as a pollinator incident to the EPA? The Apiculture NZ Science & Research Focus Group relies on accurate reports from beekeepers so that we can assist beekeepers. How widespread have Movento applications been during flowering this season? Has scale been a problem in Kiwifruit this season? @Jamo you are at the coalface in your area, you need to know what is happening and noting it down. We do not have any research funding, so have total reliance on accurate beekeeper reports for us to work on beekeeper concerns. We can resurrect the EPA reassessment of Movento if use of this product has been widespread in orchards this season during flowering, but need accurate data and reporting from beekeepers. We may need to talk to Zespri about a change in spraying policy - to permit more spraying during flowering. To do so requires more data from you the beekeeper. Contact me by email if you have to Don MacLeod c/- info@apinz.org.nz and I will get back to you. Hive management is all about measuring hive performance, monitoring the environment where your bees are and communication with the growers and others in the industry, including beekeepers. Doing nothing is a recipe for self imposed torture and eventual failure. Pollinating kiwifruit is tough on hives, adding insecticides to the mixture makes a bees life a lot tougher. Some beekeepers swap out hives every 10 to 21 days to keep hive strength high. That is the first hives placed in the orchard are replaced with fresh hives - this reduces hive losses, spells hives from the effects of the orchard for honey gathering after pollination. Speak to @Dennis Crowley as he has a huge amount of experience in Kiwifruit pollination and is the go to man for Apiculture NZ re Zespri.
  14. @Jas The major problem is that the spray tank adjuvant manufacturers have not to date down any ecotoxicological testing of their products. We know that organo silicone surfactants usually used with metsulfuron methyl and glyphosate herbicides to control gorse kills bees. But both regulators in NZ, the EPA and MPI do not want to know - they consider these products as 'safe' or 'inert' and are not prepared to ask the manufacturers to do this work. If the product was labelled correctly that it will kill bees and to not spray during flowering we would see a drop in the number of incidents being reported. Informed spray operators will do a lot better job if our regulators focused on the real risks. Independent work by researchers has shown that these products are harmful, toxic to bees. See attached paper by C A Mullins et al. Example; MPI is presently investigating how many beekeepers do not use the correct number of Bayvarol strips in their hive (they are concerned about resistance occurring) than they are in regulating spray tank adjuvants. Mullin CA et al 2015 The formulation makes the honey bee poison.pdf
  15. @Stoney have you reported that incident to the EPA Pollinator incidents webpage? https://www.epa.govt.nz/everyday-environment/animals-and-insects/bees/?accordion-anchor=497 We need the EPA to be fully aware of all the incidents that happen to get any long term results that protect our bees. Please report it if you have not to date. We need the EPA to see that data.
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