Tom's Corner

Richard Coy on dicamba

June Stoyer and I interviewed Richard Coy in 2017 about the problems he was having with dicamba. This was about the time the EPA was assuring the beekeepers and everyone else that “we expect there will be no adverse impacts to bees or other pollinators.” 

After listening to the above, check out Bees Are Facing Yet Another Existential Threat published by Mother Jones, a current story on the continuing saga and the EPA’s unwillingness to do its job properly.  Here is an excerpt.


While soybean farmers watched the drift-prone weed killer dicamba ravage millions of acres of crops over the last two years, Arkansas beekeeper Richard Coy noticed a parallel disaster unfolding among the weeds near those fields.

When Coy spotted the withering weeds, he realized why hives that produced 100 pounds of honey three summers ago now were managing barely half that: Dicamba probably had destroyed his bees’ food.

In October, the US Environmental Protection Agency extended its approval of the weed killer for use on genetically modified soybeans and cotton, mostly in the South and Midwest, for two more years. At the time, the EPA said: “We expect there will be no adverse impacts to bees or other pollinators.”

But scientists warned the EPA years ago that dicamba would drift off fields and kill weeds that are vital to honeybees. The consequences of the EPA’s decisions now are rippling through the food system.

Dicamba already has destroyed millions of dollars’ worth of non-genetically modified soybeans and specialty crops, such as tomatoes and wine grapes. And now it appears to be a major factor in large financial losses for beekeepers. Hive losses don’t affect just the nation’s honey supply: Honeybees pollinate more than $15 billion worth of fruits, nuts and vegetables a year, largely in California, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

“It seems like everybody’s been affected,” said Bret Adee, whose family runs the nation’s largest beekeeping outfit, in South Dakota. He thinks 2018 might be “the smallest crop in the history of the United States for honey production . . . ”

Click Bees Are Facing Yet Another Existential Threat to read the full article.  

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Beekeeping Today Podcast: The Problem with Neonicotinoids

Click to listen to Tom Theobald’s interview on Bee Culture’s “Beekeeping Today” podcast

I did a “Beekeeping Today” podcast for Kim Flottum and Bee Culture last week and it just came out, The Problem with Neonicotinoids.  It traces my involvement with the neonic issue from  the beginning up to the present and it is filled with information. It starts with my article in Bee Culture in July of 2010, which many of you have probably already read. The interview is long, 45 minutes, but listen to  the whole thing to get the full benefit.

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David Goulson on the Neonics: Driving Declines in Biodiversity

Dave Goulson is one of the most articulate voices we have on the issues of environmental poisoning with pesticides.  Take a few minutes and watch this video interview of Professor Goulson. As important as the bees are, the environmental damage spreads far and wide through the environment beyond the bees.


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Bees, Pesticides and Politics presented by Professor Dave Goulson

Although 3 years old, this is an excellent lecture on the neonicotinoids and their effects.

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Tom Theobald’s tips for raising mason bees.

Listen to Tom Theobald’s interview, Tips for Raising Mason Bees, on The Organic View with June Stoyer.

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