Evidence about the harmful effects of pesticides on honey bees and other wild bees is increasing. Preventing harm to commercial and wild bees requires information about the potential hazards of certain pesticides.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture notes that bee pollination is responsible for $15 billion in added crop value in the United States, particularly for specialty crops such as almonds and other nuts, berries, fruits, and vegetables for which California is the nation’s largest producer. Even crops typically thought of as “self-pollinating” benefit substantially from native bee visitation.
UC IPM’s goal is to make it easy to see the multiple impacts related to pesticide use before management decisions are made. IPM Editor Steve Dreistadt and his team of experts—Elina Niño and Eric Mussen of UC Davis, Lucia Varela from UC IPM, Louisa Hooven of Oregon State University, and Erik Johansen from the Washington State Department of Agriculture—updated our honey bee pesticide precaution database with new research results on pesticides and honey bees. Dreistadt conducted a thorough literature search to gather published information on the toxicity of plant growth regulators, insecticides, herbicides and fungicides to honey bees. He then worked with the other scientists to rate the potential hazards of pesticides to honey bee health.
The result is a new searchable database. Synergistic effects, such as between certain fungicides and insecticides, are included. Impacts to wild bee species are noted. A video on how to navigate the database is in the works, as is the incorporation of the bee precaution information into the agricultural Pest Management Guidelines and the home and garden active ingredients database.