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Most commercial beekeepers send bees to California for almond bloom. An effort of this magnitude can provide a wealth of information; because there are so many colonies, when a beekeeper notices something unusual, it is likely that other beekeepers may have similar experiences.  

If you placed hives in almonds this year, PSC needs your help. We have received reports of unusual brood behavior and significant loss.  Observers report seeing brood emerging with their proboscis paralyzed and protruding, unable to eat,  staggering around, and dying. Some seem to never fully develop and die while pupating, leaving piles of dead pupae on the ground at the hive entrance.

It seems that it may be easy to miss damage as it is observable only at a specific stage and in many circumstances this damage would have already occurred by the time the beekeeper does inspections.  Therefore, it is most likely seen immediately upon return from almonds.  It has impacted roughly 1/3  of colonies of those reporting, and photos of this damage may be seen below.  If you have had a similar experience, please contact us here or email info@pollinatorstewardship.org as we are trying to determine impact and cause.  
 
California is reviewing proposed regulations governing the use of neonicotinoids to protect bees, a process that has been ongoing for some time but the outcome of which will have a significant impact on pollinator health in the state and the future of neonic use in our country as a partial or full ban could pave the way for other states to employ similar regulations around the use of this dangerous class of chemicals. With the help of our scientific advisory board, the Pollinator Stewardship Council and Earthjustice have been submitting comments throughout this process. Once again, we plan to submit substantive, written comments detailing the damaging effects of neonics on pollinators including the longer term impacts of sublethal, chronic exposure over time.  We invite our members to consider submitting comments before the April 25th deadline, visit the California DPR page for more information
In early March, PSC spent several days focused on strategic planning. Our full board and program director were in attendance, as well as an array of special guest speakers and collaborators.  Some of us were able to attend in person, with others taking part in the event via Zoom with the intention to identify specific short and long term PSC goals and strategies to help meet our objectives.  We were able to create a comprehensive plan and used the Logic Model method to ensure our ability to reach our targets and measure success.  We also created four work groups who will focus on specific areas including education, fundraising, collaboration/movement building, and advocacy through legal and legislative means.  We look forward to sharing details of this important work as we move into action!  

We greatly appreciate the dedication of our board and guests, who volunteered a great deal of time and contributed significant resources in order to attend this much needed planning event.  A special thanks to Dr. Susan Kegley, who donated the use of her beautiful corporate retreat space at Bees N Blooms for our event.  
 
Pollinator Steward Council is working to protect the health of pollinators from the adverse impacts of pesticides. With your support, we can meet our goal to ban dangerous chemicals like neonicotinoids!  
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