PSC Meeting with EPA
President Steve Ellis in a recent meeting with EPA was asked about the connection of honeybees and detection of environmental toxins. He explained that honeybees are an ideal choice for monitoring environmental toxins because:
1. They are ultra sensitive and can smell substances in concentrations thousands of times more dilute than dogs. Dr Jerry Bromenshenk University of Montana even has famously used honeybees to detect off gassing of DNT from land mines, allowing for laser tracking of bee flight to pinpoint exact location of the mines!
2. They cover an incredible forage area; one hive will forage out over a 3-mile radius from the hives location. The foragers return with Pollen, water, nectar and propolis. The pollen is easy to trap and can be analyzed for chemical residues as can their beeswax. Scott McArt of Cornell and other leading University researchers have years of good data on this.
EPA could gain essential data for better understanding exposure of pollinators to toxins with the implementation of such a system. The province of Ontario did just this to determine exposure to neonicotinoid dust off from corn planting, and the data drove their decision to greatly restrict this practice.