Marin Pollen Project 2012

What was it?

In conjunction with Maryann Frazier and her working group at Penn State University, the Marin County Beekeepers selected hives geographically spread throughout Marin from which pollen samples were collected monthly from March 2012 – October 2012.  These samples were screened for residues of 172 different herbicides, pesticides, metabolites, accelerants, and other chemicals that might be found in our environment.

What was the purpose?

The study was to assess pesticide use and potential impacts on pollinators in an urban environment. Based on the work of Penn State researchers, it is now clear that honey bees are  acting as monitors of pesticides in our environment. To date the majority of their samples have come from commercial bee colonies used for the pollination of agricultural crops. However, it is well documented that homeowners are significant users of chemical pesticides.   For the most part, homeowners do not see themselves as important contributions to the build-up of pesticides in our environment and certainly not to potentially contributing to pollinator decline.

What’s the status of the project? 

The raw data still needs to be analyzed.  Maryann Frazier will be presenting this data at the Marin Beekeepers Association meeting in April.

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