The federal government is giving farmers three years to figure out what pesticides they can use to protect their crops from aphids and mites, but some say they aren't convinced about the alternatives. Health Canada confirmed plans Wednesday to gradually phase out two of the three nicotine-based pesticides — neonicotinoids, also known as neonics — that are currently approved for use in Canada. Plans to phase out the third have already been announced.
After the highest rate of winter honeybee colony loss in Virginia since 2000, honey production is expected to be lower this year, state apiarist Keith Tignor said. Agriculture and crop pollination could be affected along with honey production. With fewer honeybee pollinators, crops that depend on these insects, including apples, blueberries and oranges, could suffer, according to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
The Ontario Beekeepers Association reports that among Ontarios 3,000 beekeepers about 900 beekeepers responded to a survey showing seven in ten said they had suffered unsustainable losses. A third of those reported colony losses of 70 per cent or higher. While pesticides have long been blamed for deaths, beekeepers are saying the long winter and unusually damp cool spring seems to have dealt a death blow.
Walmart has filed 16 pages with the US government that outline six patents working towards farm automation. If all goes to plan, a fleet of drone bees could very well be on the horizon. Technically called “pollination drones", the autonomous robotic bees could help offset losses caused by declining bee populations by using sensors and cameras to carry pollen from one plant to another.
The first-ever study to map U.S. wild bees suggests they are disappearing in the country's most important farmlands - from California's Central Valley to the Midwest's corn belt and the Mississippi River valley. If wild bee declines continue, it could hurt U.S. crop production and farmers' costs, said Taylor Ricketts, a conservation ecologist at the University of Vermont, at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting panel.
The first national study to map U.S. wild bees suggests they’re disappearing in many of the country’s most-important farmlands. If losses of these crucial pollinators continue, the new nationwide assessment indicates that farmers will face increasing costs – and that the problem may even destabilize the nation’s crop production.
Honey production in the UK is way down this year with some bee farmers facing their worst crop for 40 years, according to the Bee Farmers’ Association. A wet summer, especially in Scotland and Wales, led to poor mating meaning queens laid fewer eggs. The picture round the country is varied, but even in the south of England where crops are usually good, there are reports of below average yields.
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