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Author Topic: Honey Samples-pesticides research  (Read 703 times)


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Honey Samples-pesticides research
« on: April 18, 2008, 10:29:40 AM »
I copy an email NJBA members received. It is self explanatory

Dr. Nancy Ostiguy of the Entomology Department of Penn State is working on a research project to test honey from all over the country for pesticides to determine if pesticide levels are higher in honey that bees eat over the winter. Undergrad student Reagan Furbish is working with Dr. Ostiguy on the project. They need samples of honey in winter stores and honey extracted last season. They will compare the samples to see if pesticide levels are higher in winter stores. They need samples of between 1/8 and 1/4 of a cup of honey extracted last season and the same amount of honey from an over-wintered hive, which has either survived or died. Samples from deadouts could be interesting. Samples of extracted honey from last season, and samples of winter stores do not have to be from the same hive. It would be great if you could give them a sample of each, but if you only have one or the other (extracted last season or winter stores), that’s acceptable. Honey from over-wintered hives can be a chunk of capped comb—about 5 ounces.


Samples should be sent in leak-proof plastic containers to:


            Reagan Furbish

            501 ASI, Department of Entomology

            Penn State

            University Park, PA 16802


Please label the samples and provide a description of the honey, for example:


These three samples are from different hives.

Sample 1 is from a deadout.

Sample 2 was extracted in summer 2007.

Sample 3 is from a colony this spring (08).*


*If it is “new” honey from this spring, it should be honey, not nectar.


Any personal information you provide will be kept confidential. You will receive the results of the research. It may be possible that they will receive more samples than they will be able to process. If your honey is tested, you will find out if it contains the pesticides being tested for and in what amounts. If your honey is not tested, you will be informed and asked if they can retain the samples in the event they are able to obtain additional funding to do more testing.


Since the cost of testing for all pesticides to which honey bees may be exposed is expensive – about $400 per sample –they are testing for a subset of pesticides. The cost for this will be $100 per sample. The pesticides they are looking for are CheckMite, Apistan, neonicotinoids, fipronil, and permethrin. These are the most common exposures for honey bees and Dr. Ostiguy hopes the research will answer some questions beekeepers have about the neonicotinoids. According to Dr. Ostiguy, “Other pesticides have been in bee food and bees but they are much less common and probably are not related to the problems we are currently having. [The number of colonies exposed to the other pesticides is so small that the chance that theses other pesticides are involved in CCD is very low.] It does not seem worth the expense to look for everything possible. If we find enough money it may be interesting to know this but we decided to process more samples and look at the most likely contaminants rather than look at fewer samples and try to identify every contaminant.”


Donations to offset the cost of this research will be welcomed and can be made payable to Penn State University and sent to:


Nancy Ostiguy

501 ASI

Department of Entomology

University Park, PA 16802


"The more complex the Mind, the Greater the need for the simplicity of Play".

Offline dlmarti

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Re: Honey Samples-pesticides research
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2008, 10:56:30 AM »
Making assumptions on which contaminants to search for is not exactly scientific.

Also note they don't ask for background information about your pest treatments.

This sounds really weird.