2008 October: Premer (NSW) Neonicotinoids suspected in Bee Problems

“Last October, I was helping Jack Alt of Deepwater, New South Wales shift a sizable load of bees, from a NEONIC seed treated canola plot at Premer NSW. We were shifting the bees back onto clover, closer to Jack’s home. Although the bees had been on a bumper crop of canola, Jack was disturbed that his load of 250 hives had suffered premature swarming, loss of queens, loss of bee numbers and dead outs. Jack then replaced queens, kept working the bees (as we all would), and kept the load on clover for the next few weeks. I observed the same hives later on a Silver Leaf [Iron Bark] flow. In my opinion they were half the bees they should have been, or less.  This was Jack’s second Adverse Experience with his bees foraging canola over the last two years. I asked Jack “Do you think that this may be because of the seed treatment on canola?” Jack replied, “I don’t think we’ll be working canola anymore.” Jack is concerned about the pollen of Turnip Weed and Salvation Jane coming up afterwards, in the same paddocks.”