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Author Topic: Study: Pesticides in Pollen  (Read 2430 times)

Offline Brian D. Bray

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Study: Pesticides in Pollen
« on: February 04, 2009, 10:12:51 PM »
I thought BjornBee would be interested in this tidbit that was sent to me via email from my local Bee Association.  Even though the study area was limited I would tend to believe the results would be pretty much applicable throughout the USA.  I took out the internet advertising listings as the info is the important part and I'm not in the business of giving free advertising to whomever.  I did leave in the credit for the source of the material at the bottom.

Researchers in Connecticut, during the 2007 growing season monitored pesticides  found in pollen collected in pollen traps. Colonies studied were under normal conditions and were not collapsing or in any other way ill. No colonies died during the experiment.

 The researchers collected the pollen twice a week from four locations in Connecticut during the season. Samples were analyzed using HPLC/MS.
Results: 102 samples were collected and analyzed. 37 pesticides were detected. 15 insecticide/acaracides, 11 fungicides, 10 herbicides and 1 plant growth regulator. All samples had at least one pesticide detected. The most commonly detected pesticide was coumaphos. Carbaryl and phosmet, both highly toxic to bees were the most commonly detected field pesticides. Imidacloprid was detected 30 times, mostly at low levels. The pesticides found at the highest levels wer both fungicides: myclobutanil and boscalid.
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Offline BjornBee

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Re: Study: Pesticides in Pollen
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2009, 11:16:34 PM »
Brian, Thank you.
This information is in line with what Maryanne Frazier out of Penn State has found. In her samples tested, both fluvilanate and coumophos was found in every sample. But not one main chemical thought to be a CCD contributor (neonicotinoids, etc.), was found in more than 30% of the samples.

My testing that I just recently had done, and what I was looking for, was to find out IF those same beekeeper induced chemicals would be found in pollen from hives with commercial foundation. The idea was that all the CCD hives were found with fluvilanate and coumophos, with suggestions of some type carry over from contaminated foundation.

My hives had commercial foundation. My pollen, even though having three foreign chemicals, no doubt brought in from down the street, showed NOT ONE chemical from a beekeeper applied source. So I question suggestions that chemicals such as fluvilanate and coumophos could be found in ALL hives  by contaminated foundation alone.

The second part of the test was centered around a foreign supply of commercial pollen that was recalled by the FDA, to which I refused to give back. They said it was a "labeling" error. The pollen had already been flagged or processed for "bee consumption" only, as was explained to me when I purchased it. What made it only good for bees and not for human consumption makes me wonder. After testing, I was surprised to find out high levels of fluvilanate and DDT in the samples. This is the same pollen brought over in large amounts and no doubt was used in pollen patties within the industry. I do not have all the dots connected, but I'm working on it.

I think that MUCH more emphasis needs to be placed on comb rotation within the industry. You can not stop the chemicals from entering the hives. The bees will find it. But stopping those chemicals from building up, is the key.
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Offline NWIN Beekeeper

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Re: Study: Pesticides in Pollen
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2009, 08:23:34 PM »
[I think that MUCH more emphasis needs to be placed on comb rotation within the industry. ]

Even further.
I think a practice of culling brood combs should be practiced.
Far too many people are tossing old brood combs into solar melters for rendering trace amounts of wax.
Whether the rendered wax goes to candles or to foundation manufactures is unknown.
But it should be consider a reasonable mode of contamination to the wax life-cycle.

It is one thing to render annually fresh cappings or burr combs from untreated hives (or during periods when treatments aren't applied) and another thing when you render 5 year old brood combs that may have contained contaminated pollen and has sustained higher 'foot traffic' which may increase the likelihood of contamination.
One might want to reconsider rendering combs from unexplainable dead-outs for wax reuse in healthy system.

Another in-house consideration is cleaning of wax rendering equipment.
You are no better off using cappings if you run them through a dirty system following filthy brood combs.
When cleaning processing equipment, lye and intensely boiling water are best for disease, but high detergent soaps will destroy the encapsulation of some pesticides and break them down considerably faster. And one should never discount the value of direct sunlight [UV] exposure or well concentrated bleach solutions, but I would not rely upon any one idea as the ideal sole solution. 

Just because wax melts does not mean it is hot enough to be deemed sanitary.

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Offline mgmoore7

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Re: Study: Pesticides in Pollen
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2009, 11:15:36 AM »
I know it is reality but this is scary stuff.  Have any test been done on the content of these pesticides, incecticides, etc in the honey itself?

Offline carolina bee

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Re: Study: Pesticides in Pollen
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2009, 02:35:15 PM »
I agree with the thought of rotating old comb out. I belive that the standard --if there is one -- is to try to do three frames per season per hive. In effect after three years you have rotated all of your frames with new wax foundation. I'm using nucs to draw out the foundation that I'm putting back into the main hives due to our lack of a long honey flow. My thought is to  have the bees in my main hives produce honey instead of drawing out foundation.