A group of more than 30 organizations and agencies from across North America have formed a coalition to address concerns about honey bee health.
The Canola Council of Canada, Canadian Honey Council and CropLife Canada are part of the Honey Bee Health Coalition which released a “Honey Bee Health Roadmap” last week. The document lays out a framework of priorities and actions to be followed to achieve a healthy bee population while also maintaining productive agriculture systems and ecosystems.
“It places an emphasis on collaboration so that we can achieve more than any one group can on its own,” explains coalition facilitator Julie Shapiro.
Download the Honey Bee Health Roadmap here.
The roadmap lays out four priority areas for improvement: hive management, forage and nutrition, cross-industry collaboration, and — the area that’s most relevant to crop producers who use neonicotinoid seed treatments — management of crop pests.
“To feed a hungry planet we need to simultaneously manage agricultural pests while ensuring the health of bees and native pollinators,” says Gregory Sekulic, agronomy specialist with the Canola Council of Canada and a member of the coalition’s crop pest management working group. “This roadmap lays out plans for promoting crop- and product-specific pest management practices that enable us to do both.”
The coalition, which includes several companies that sell neonicotinoid products, says it will not only promote communication between beekeepers and producers, but also strive for better understanding and reporting of incidents of honey bee losses.
Shapiro says the members of the coalition realize bee health is a multi-factor challenge that warrants a broad, North America-wide response.
“Honey bees support billions of dollars annually in North American and global agriculture. There’s a lot of great work happening and this coalition is looking to help scale and leverage that work and provide strategies that can really be felt at scale,” she explains, noting they’re inviting all stakeholders to join the group. “We have a very diverse coalition and a very big tent, but at the same time we want the tent to grow bigger.”
As it stands, the Honey Bee Health Coalition currently includes the following organizations: Agricultural Retailers Association, Almond Board of California, American Beekeeping Federation, American Honey Producers Association, American Seed Trade Association, Bayer CropScience, Browning Honey Company, Canadian Honey Council, Canola Council of Canada, CropLife America, CropLife Canada, Ducks Unlimited, DuPont, Eastern Missouri Beekeepers Association, Land O’Lakes, Inc., Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, Monsanto Company, Oregon State Beekeepers Association, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Corn Growers Association, Pheasants Forever, Pollinator Stewardship Council, Project Apis m., Saint Louis Zoo’s WildCare Institute Center for Native Pollinator Conservation, Syngenta, Unilever, United Soybean Board, University of Maryland’s Department of Entomology, U.S. Canola Association, and Western Apicultural Society. The Coalition also includes ex officio participation from U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.