Q – I live near agriculture, and I suspect sprays are used that are harmful to bees. I wish (our club) and other beekeeping organizations would more actively advocate for organic farming instead of bowing to the chemical industries.
A – Sorry to hear of your heavy losses. The whole topic of agricultural sprays and their effects on our bees is a complex topic. Loses are chronic (bit by bit over time) – not acute (sudden loss) – and it is so difficult to document. When we sample we find on average over 5 pesticides in our bees – but 1/2 are the chemicals beekeepers use inside their be colonies for varroa mite control. I would suggest that you recommend (your club) put topic on their meeting schedule. For back ground information check out the Podcast from Xerces in Portland OR at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMSYKupuI8M. The 2nd in this series will be very specific about pollinating insects