13 June 2013 23:16 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Agricultural firm Monsanto announced on Thursday it has joined with beekeeping industry experts to form the Honey Bee Advisory Council (HBAC) and concluded the first Honey Bee Health Summit.
The summit was three-day event hosted by Project Apis m and the bee council, which brought together nearly 100 members, who hold various stakes ranging from academia to government, to learn more about the challenges facing bees.
Project Apis m is a California-based bee research organisation that has sponsored over 40 projects centred on honey bees and has developed comprehensive management practices for commercial beekeepers.
The goal of the partnership between the company and the researchers is to educate and provide forage to growers and landowners over a three-year period and encourage those stake holders to plant vegetation and plants that produce flowers on land that is not being used for crops.
In May, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report on the decline in bees and the onset of colony collapse disorder, which has not only reduced the bee population but has put certain crops at risk. Colony collapse disorder is a condition where the bees abandon their hives and never return.
The USDA and EPA work determined that several factors could have caused or contributed to the disorder, including pesticides, namely clothianidin, which was approved for use in 2003.
About one-third of US crops depend on bee pollination, and, according to the USDA, since the onset of the colony collapse disorder in 2006-2007, there has been an annual loss of about 30% of bees within the US.
According to Monsanto 450 acres (204 ha) of forage have been planted and that, in addition to providing vegetation, the bee health research is looking into solutions to controlling the Varroa mite.
“If beekeepers let mite pressure get out of control, it becomes an uphill battle and they usually lose,” Hayes said.
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