[House Hearing, 110 Congress] [From the U.S. Government Printing Office] REVIEW COLONY COLLAPSE DISORDER IN HONEY BEE COLONIES ACROSS THE UNITED STATES ======================================================================= HEARING before the SUBCOMMITTEE ON HORTICULTURE AND ORGANIC AGRICULTURE of the COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ONE HUNDRED TENTH CONGRESS FIRST SESSION __________ MARCH 29, 2007 __________ Serial No. 110-07 Printed for the use of the Committee on Agriculture agriculture.house.gov U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 36-465 PDF WASHINGTON DC: 2007 --------------------------------------------------------------------- For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office Internet: bookstore.gpo.gov Phone: toll free (866)512-1800 DC area (202)512-1800 Fax: (202) 512-2250 Mail Stop SSOP, Washington, DC 20402-0001 COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE COLLIN C. PETERSON, Minnesota, Chairman TIM HOLDEN, Pennsylvania, BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia, Vice Chairman Ranking Minority Member MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina TERRY EVERETT, Alabama BOB ETHERIDGE, North Carolina FRANK D. LUCAS, Oklahoma LEONARD L. BOSWELL, Iowa JERRY MORAN, Kansas JOE BACA, California ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina DENNIS A. CARDOZA, California TIMOTHY V. JOHNSON, Illinois DAVID SCOTT, Georgia SAM GRAVES, Missouri JIM MARSHALL, Georgia JO BONNER, Alabama STEPHANIE HERSETH, South Dakota MIKE ROGERS, Alabama HENRY CUELLAR, Texas STEVE KING, Iowa JIM COSTA, California MARILYN N. MUSGRAVE, Colorado JOHN T. SALAZAR, Colorado RANDY NEUGEBAUER, Texas BRAD ELLSWORTH, Indiana CHARLES W. BOUSTANY, Jr., NANCY E. BOYDA, Kansas Louisiana ZACHARY T. SPACE, Ohio JOHN R. ``RANDY'' KUHL, Jr., New TIMOTHY J. WALZ, Minnesota York KIRSTEN E. GILLIBRAND, New York VIRGINIA FOXX, North Carolina STEVE KAGEN, Wisconsin K. MICHAEL CONAWAY, Texas EARL POMEROY, North Dakota JEFF FORTENBERRY, Nebraska LINCOLN DAVIS, Tennessee JEAN SCHMIDT, Ohio JOHN BARROW, Georgia ADRIAN SMITH, Nebraska NICK LAMPSON, Texas KEVIN McCARTHY, California JOE DONNELLY, Indiana TIM WALBERG, Michigan TIM MAHONEY, Florida Robert L. Larew, Chief of Staff Andrew W. Baker, Chief Counsel William E. O'Conner, Jr., Minority Staff Director ------ Subcommittee on Specialty Crops, Rural Development, and Foreign Agriculture DENNIS A. CARDOZA, California, Chairman BOB ETHERIDGE, North Carolina RANDY NEUGEBAUER, Texas, Ranking LINCOLN DAVIS, Tennessee Minority Member TIM MAHONEY, Florida JOHN R. ``RANDY'' KUHL, Jr., New JOHN BARROW, Georgia York KIRSTEN E. GILLIBRAND, New York VIRGINIA FOXX, North Carolina KEVIN McCARTHY, California K. MICHAEL CONAWAY, Texas KEITH JONES, Subcommittee Staff Director C O N T E N T S ---------- Page Cardoza, Hon. Dennis A., a Representative in Congress from the State of California, Opening statement......................... 1 Peterson, Hon. Collin C., a Representative in Congress from the State of Minnesota, Prepared statement......................... 45 Neugebauer, Hon. Randy, a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas, Prepared statement............................. 47 Goodlatte, Hon. Bob, a Representative in Congress from the State of Virginia, Prepared statement................................ 48 WITNESSES Rexroad, Caird E., PhD, Associate Administrator, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Oral Statement...................................................... 3 Prepared Statement........................................... 50 Cox-Foster, Diana, PhD, Professor, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, Oral Statement.................. 5 Prepared Statement........................................... 57 Berenbaum, May R., Professor and Head, Department of Entomology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, Oral Statement................................................. 7 Prepared Statement........................................... 63 Wenger, Paul, First Vice President, California Farm Bureau Federation, Modesto, California, Oral Statement................ 20 Prepared Statement........................................... 74 Ellingson, David, Commercial Beekeeper, Ortonville, Minnesota, Oral Statement................................................. 22 Prepared Statement........................................... 77 Doan, Jim, Commercial Bee Keeper, Hamlin, California, Oral Statement...................................................... 24 Prepared Statement........................................... 86 Brandi, Gene, Legislative Chairman, California State Beekeepers Association, Los Banos, California, Oral Statement............. 26 Prepared Statement........................................... 82 Adee, Richard, Legislative Committee Chairman, American Honey Producers Association, Bruce South Dakota, Oral Statement...... 28 Prepared Statement........................................... 120 SUBMITTED MATERIAL Davies Adams, Laurie, Executive Director of Coevolution Institute, San Francisco, California, Submitted Statement...... 131 Hackenberg, David, Hackenberg Apiaries, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, Submitted Statement............................................ 138 Hoffman Black, Scott, Executive Director, Ecologist/Economist, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Portland, Oregon, Submitted Statement.................................... 149 Cameron, Sydney, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program, Urbana, Illinois, Submitted Statement.......................... U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C., Submitted Material....................................................... 152 Bayer CropScience, Washington, D.C., Submitted Statement......... 165 National Honey Board, Longmont, Colorado, Submitted Statement.... 157 Vroom, Jay, CropLife America, Washington, D.C., Submitted Statement...................................................... 171 Riviere-Wekstein, Gil, Manager of the publication ``Agriculture & Environment'', Submitted Material.............................. 167 Brandi, Gene, Legislative Chairman, California State Beekeepers Association, Los Banos, California, Submitted Additional Statement...................................................... 184 Fore, Troy H., Jr., The American Beekeeping Federation, Inc., Jesup, Georgia, Submitted Statement............................ 175 National Research Council, Washington, D.C., Submitted Report.... 179 Starrh, Larry, Starrh and Starrh Farms, Kern County, California, Submitted Statement............................................ 183 HEARING TO REVIEW COLONY COLLAPSE DISORDER IN HONEY BEE COLONIES ACROSS THE UNITED STATES ---------- THURSDAY, MARCH 29, 2007 House of Representatives, Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture, Washington, DC. The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:00 a.m., in room 1302 of the Longworth House Office Building, Hon. Dennis A. Cardoza (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding. Members present: Representatives Cardoza, Etheridge, Davis, Gillibrand, and Neugebauer. Staff present: Keith Jones, Subcommittee Staff Director; Scott Kuschmider, Professional Staff; John Riley, Deputy Chief of Staff; April Slayton, Communications Director; Debbie Smith, Legislative Clerk; Kristin Sosanie, Staff Assistant; John Goldberg, Minority Senior Professional Staff; Kevin Kramp, Minority Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief Counsel; Pam Miller, Minority Senior Professional Staff; and Jamie Weyer, Hearing Clerk. STATEMENT OF HON. DENNIS A. CARDOZA, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA Mr. Cardoza. Good morning again. We are going to call this hearing of the Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture to review colony collapse disorder in honey bee colonies across the United States. The order will be that we will start with opening statements. As I mentioned earlier, there is a number of our Republican colleagues at the White House in another meeting, so they may be trickling in later. A number of my Democratic colleagues are at different committee hearings and should be dropping in as we go forward. I want to thank all of you for taking the time from your busy schedules to attend this important hearing to testify about the honey bee colony collapse disorder. I want to mention that there was one of the witnesses from my colleague Kevin McCarthy's district, who is unable to make it here today, Mr. Larry Starrh from Starrh and Starrh Farms. He had to stay home and work the farm and all of you who aren't farmers understand that we can't blame him for wanting to take care of business at home. His testimony will be submitted for the record without objection. [The information appears at the conclusion of the hearing.] Mr. Cardoza. We are here today to hopefully shed some light on a very troubling phenomenon. The purpose of this hearing is to examine the potential impact of possible causes of colony collapse disorder affecting honey bee colonies across the United States. Throughout the country honey bee colonies are used for large-scale pollination of many crops. The unprecedented disappearance has alarmed farmers and scientists and could cost American agriculture millions of dollars. The sudden and unexpected drop-off of honey bee pollinators was first brought to my attention last year, when a number of almond growers in my home district of California's Central Valley began to complain about rapidly increasing cost of beehives. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the almond business, it is a billion dollar crop in California, whose survival hinges on pollination from honey bees during the crop's bloom cycle. Growers were telling me that honey bee hives were going for double and sometimes triple the cost that they had sold for just a year earlier. These farmers were concerned for a number of reasons. First, as you would expect, this price spike created a significant and unanticipated financial strain. Secondly, and perhaps more relevant to today's assessment, my constituents were very concerned that this situation represented more than just a blip on the radar screen. They were concerned that it was a harbinger of a bigger problem to come. Unfortunately, as we now know, their concerns were not unfounded. The 2006 honey bee population decline was not a blip on the screen; it was, in fact, a precursor to a larger national epidemic. Only recently have leading pollinator researchers assigned a terminology for this phenomenon. Researchers and industry have now termed this dramatic and unprecedented decline colony collapse disorder. Much of the current research into this massive decline is being conducted by the Pennsylvania State University and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. I am pleased that we will be hearing from distinguished researchers from both of these institutions today. We are very glad to have you because it has become clear that we must focus more attention on this emerging crisis. Colony losses occur when bees fail to return to their hives, which is a very abnormal phenomenon for honey bees. While some level of honey bee losses are not unusual, the sudden and widespread nature of colony collapse disorder is truly unprecedented. Perhaps the most disconcerting, no one seems to know exactly what is causing this phenomenon. Some theories include parasites, mites or other pathogens, poor nutrition and high stress levels among adult bees, or a combination of these, or other unknown factors. I am deeply committed to raising the awareness of colony collapse disorder and its possible affects on American agriculture. Thousands of California farmers and beekeepers are dependent on honey bees for their livelihood. If we do not move swiftly to get to the bottom of this, I fear we will be having an even more dramatic problem next year. We must also be smart--could I ask everyone who has cell phones to please turn them off at this time? We must also be smart in how we address this problem. I read somewhere that some in the industry are looking for upwards of $300 million to combat colony collapse disorder. Ladies and gentlemen, that is just not a realistic number. It is important to avoid the temptation to identify a potential problem and simply throw millions of dollars at it. Instead, through hearings like this one and future congressional scrutiny, I am hopeful that we can identify exactly where our limited research dollars will be most helpful in advancing our goal of preventing of the further decline in the honey bee population. To begin this closer examination of potential causes and solutions to colony collapse disorder, we have assembled two very distinguished panels today. I want you to take special note of the fact that we have not one but two representatives from California's 18th Congressional District with us, a good friend of mine, Paul Wenger, who grows almonds in Modesto, California and is the First Vice President of the California Farm Bureau, and he will share his insight on the impact of colony collapse disorder on California's almond industry. And we also have with us today Gene Brandi, who is the Legislative Chairman of the California State Beekeepers Association and he will speak from a beekeeper's perspective. [The information appears at the conclusion of the hearing.] Mr. Cardoza. With that, Mr. Etheridge, do you have any opening statement that you would like to put forward? Mr. Etheridge. Mr. Chairman, I will submit mine for the record so we get straight to the witnesses. [The information appears at the conclusion of the hearing.] Mr. Cardoza. Very good. What I would like to do now is introduce our first panel, if I can find my sheet here. We have with us today Associate Administrator Caird Rexroad, who has a Ph.D., with the Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Washington, D.C. Thank you. Sir, did I butcher your name very badly? Mr. Rexroad. No worse than I do. Mr. Cardoza. Okay. We have Dr. Diana Cox-Foster, Ph.D., and professor at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania. Welcome. We also have Dr. May Berenbaum, professor and head of the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Illinois. Thank you very much. Dr. Rexroad, please start your testimony. STATEMENT OF ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR CAIRD E. REXROAD, PH.D., AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE, USDA Mr. Rexroad. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. As a former beekeeper myself, I am pleased to be here today, Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the subcommittee. I am Caird Rexroad, the Associate Administrator of the Agricultural Research Service. I am speaking today on behalf of the Agricultural Research Service and the Cooperative State Research Education Extension Service in the Department. ARS is the Department's primary intramural research agency, and CSREES is the primary extramural funding agency of the Department. Before I begin, I would ask that my written statement be made part of the record and I will summarize my remarks. Mr. Cardoza. Without objection, so ordered. Mr. Rexroad. Thank you for the opportunity to appear today before the subcommittee to present testimony about USDA efforts to address the problem of colony collapse disorder, known as CCD. I will provide you with a brief overview of the disorder as a well a summary of our research and our efforts addressing the problem. Beginning in October of 2006, beekeepers became alarmed that honey bee colonies were dying across the continental United States. Reporting unexplained losses of 30 to 90 percent, these outbreaks of unexplained colony collapse pose a threat to the pollination industry for production of commercial honey, and the production of at least 30 percent of the Nation's crops. Furthermore, with pests and diseases of bees increasing over the last two decades, we have reached a critical point for the bee industries. ARS and CSREES are both conducting and funding research to determine the cause of the sudden collapse of bee colonies. We have a number of theories we will talk about briefly. One important thing, as you mentioned, is immunosuppression and stress on bees. Based on research by the Colony Collapse Disorder Working Group, a collaboration of researchers from government, universities and other partners, we believe that some form of stress may be suppressing immune systems of bees, ultimately contributing to CCD. I will discuss what we consider four causes of bee stress, Varroa mites, pathogens, migratory stress, and pesticides, as well as what we are doing to counter these stresses. Varroa mites invaded the United States in the 1980s and have been linked to a serious colony decline. If you will notice when you walk through the clover in your barefoot, you will no longer be stung by a honey bee; it is very unfortunate. During this time, USDA has put considerable effort in finding solutions to the varroa crisis. ARS labs have developed several control methods and researchers are conducting genetic research to breed bees that are resistant to mites. Work funded by CSREES through the National Research Initiative is addressing suppression of varroa mite reproduction. Pathogens also may be contributing, either by killing bees directly or compromising their immune system. Bee viruses, of which we know not nearly enough, can cause brain pathologies and contribute also to immunosuppression. We need better tests and research on bee viruses. We need to know the role of varroa mites, also, in transmitting viruses or enhancing viral diseases of bees. A new species of Nosema, microsporidian, may be relatively new to this country. We are trying to determine that and to correlate its appearance and distribution with CCD. If we understand these things better, we will try to replicate CCD and we will develop interventions to reduce the impacts of these stresses on bees. CSREES is funding grant investigations on genetic and cultural methods in controlling Nosema apis disease, as well as study mechanisms of disease virulence, transmission and epidemiology in honey bees. Migratory stress may also contribute to CCD. It is common for as many as 10 percent of the colonies to die after transportation, with losses of 30 percent possible after the pollination of some crops. ARS has recently begun investigating the effects of migratory stress and will continue to do so. Many pesticides are toxic to bees. Some may cause bee colonies to be susceptible to stress and disease, and others may impair neurological function and we know that the loss of bees from the colony is a sure sign of CCD. Stress and impairment of bee brain function may be then linked to this disappearance. We plan to study the effects of pesticides on bee brains and to test the effects of pesticides on bees in the apiary. Those studies will also determine if pesticides are harming bees in the field. While we continue to look for the causes of CCD, ARS will initiate a multi-year project to improve bee health by improving nutrition of the colonies to increase their ability to handle stressful situations. Mr. Chairman, ARS and CSREES, in collaboration with our other agencies, private institutions, and with the universities, conduct and fund research that addresses the paradigm surrounding CCD. We are pleased to be a part of this effort to improve bee health and prevent colony collapse syndrome, and to support the pollination industry, beekeepers and agricultural producers across the Nation. We thank you for the opportunity to share our work with you, Mr. Chairman. This concludes my remarks. I would be pleased to answer questions that you make. [The prepared statement of Mr. Rexroad appears at the conclusion of the hearing.] Mr. Cardoza. Thank you. Go ahead. STATEMENT OF DIANA COX-FOSTER, PH.D., PROFESSOR, PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY Ms. Cox-Foster. Chairman Cardoza and members of the Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture, thank you for this opportunity to appear before you today representing members of the Colony Collapse Disorder Working Group. I am Diana Cox-Foster, a professor at Penn State and having over 25 years experience in insect physiology and pathology. For the last 10 years, I have been extensively researching the interactions of honey bees with varroa mites and viruses and other diseases, asking how the colonies are collapsing. My expertise is one of the reasons that beekeepers first approached me in November 2006, with colonies having unique symptoms and deaths. These were the first recognized instances of colony collapse disorder. The Colony Collapse Disorder Working Group is a collaboration among researchers having diverse expertises and coming from land grant universities, state departments of agriculture, and USDA-ARS. In addition, experts from Bee Alert are performing research. The goals of the CCD Working Group are to identify potential causal factors in the collapses, identify these factors that underlie the collapses and reproduce the CCD symptoms, and finally, devise preventative measures to disrupt CCD and ensure strong colonies for pollination. As you know and have heard and read in the written testimonies presented by others and myself, I will summarize what we have been doing. Honey bees are essential for the pollination of many crops, as you know. Through surveys and field confirmation and unique symptoms found in colony collapse disorder, we have found that CCD is a problem facing all beekeepers and will have a major impact. With the recognition that we had a unique problem, many of our researchers used their own monies to begin attacking this problem. We also gained emergency funding that has allowed us to quickly expand our research. This funding has come from the Foundation for Preservation of Honey Bees, several beekeeper organizations and the National Honey Board. We greatly appreciate this funding. We are also actively seeking additional federal and state funds to allow us to perform the necessary studies in a timely fashion. We have used these funds to begin describing the symptoms of CCD and defining the problem. This has been done through examining bees for known pathogens, parasites, and documenting hive conditions. Multiple case studies and surveys have been performed to try to determine the extent of the problem. As a top priority, we have made extensive collections of samples of bees, wax, honey and pollen stores from both CCD and non-CCD beekeeping operations across the country. We have agreed to share the samples amongst the researchers and also the data. Nearly all our multiple analyses are being coordinated and will correlate multiple parameters. We have been actively determining the causes of CCD and have considered all possible factors. Based upon our preliminary data, we have focused on three hypotheses. First, we have asked, are new and reemerging pathogens responsible for CCD? Recently, we know that many pathogens have the ability to knock out the immune defenses of their host. Among those that we found in CCD bees, none have been recognized to have these abilities to impair the immune system, and we don't think that any of the normal bee pathogens are the direct causes. We have identified several routes of entry in the United States that may have permitted inadvertent introduction of new pathogens. In collaboration with Dr. Ian Lipkin at Columbia, we are identifying the microbes and viruses associated with the CCD bee colonies. We predict that any pathogens that may be linked to the collapses will be common in operations having CCD and will not be found in operations lacking CCD. In this analysis, we expect to isolate many new organisms that we didn't know where there in bees. We will need to do extensive studies to try to figure out which of these important and find new methods to control these pathogens. With samples from these same colonies, we are combining these studies with others, using the newly developed knowledge of honey bee genomics and molecular physiology. We are letting the bees themselves tell us how they are being affected and what are the most likely causal factors underlying CCD by asking what genes are being turned on and off in the bees. We expect these analyses will reveal how the bees are responding to potential pathogens, environmental toxins or other stressors. The second hypothesis is that we are asking, are environmental chemicals impacting bees and triggering CCD? It is known that environmental toxins can impair the immune systems of animals. In insects, sub-lethal effects of insecticides are increasingly being recognized as stressors that may be impacting immune defenses and other physiology. We are asking, what chemicals are present in the hives, wax, honey and pollen stores? Given our surveys, we have failed to identify any common chemicals being used at colonies that are experiencing CCD, and we expected environmental contaminants. Of particular concern are pesticides being widely used to control insect pests in agriculture, urban environments and animal systems. Among these are the neonicotinoids, a class of pesticides that have been extensively adopted for pest management. This class of pesticides has extremely low toxicity in humans and other vertebrates and is highly effective in controlling insect pests. However, these chemicals are known to be highly toxic to bees and other pollinators. Research has suggested that these pesticides can move through the plants to become localized in pollen nectar at concentrations that can affect bees. Research is warranted to determine how these pesticides affect bees and other pollinators at the concentrations found in the honey and the pollen. It is essential to determine whether pesticides are a causal factor in CCD symptoms. The third hypothesis is the combination of stressors weakening bee colonies and allowing stress-related pathogens to cause final collapse. Several members of the working group are asking what stressors are part of the migratory operations. Recently, migratory beekeepers have told us they experience regular significant losses of the honey bee colonies. By following the migratory colonies and their bees and correlating the healthy performance to operational practice from stresses, we will gain baseline information. We expect to develop ways to overcome these stresses to ensure adequate pollination of crops. Finally, the CCD Working Group recognizes the importance of trying to breed bees that are more resistant to diseases and the impacts of parasites such as Varroa Mites. We are asking how genetic diversity in bee populations correlates with CCD and resistance traits. Developing new genetic strains of bees may be essential to the future of beekeeping. In closing, Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, I thank you again for inviting me to review the colony collapse disorder affecting honey bees and to highlight some of the ongoing activities and research of the CCD group. As you have heard, we have formed extensive collaboration among researchers of diverse expertises and affiliations, who bring together federal, state and land grant university research to target real-world problems with cooperative extension providing a bridge between the beekeepers and those dependent on pollination and the research community. It is clear that we are facing several challenges in unraveling the causes of CCD and developing preventative measures to ensure the health of bees and the pollination industry. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have. [The prepared statement of Ms. Cox-Foster appears at the conclusion of the hearing.] Mr. Cardoza. Please proceed, Doctor. STATEMENT OF MAY R. BERENBAUM, PROFESSOR AND HEAD, DEPARTMENT OF ENTOMOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN Ms. Berenbaum. Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee. Thanks for inviting me to talk to you about colony collapse disorder and related issues affecting American agriculture. I am May Berenbaum, the Swanlund Professor and head of the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and I have been a member of the National Academy of Sciences since 1994. The principal focus of this hearing is colony collapse disorder, the sudden inexplicable disappearance of millions of honey bees across the U.S. But to understand the magnitude and impact of this problem, it must be placed in the broader context of pollinator decline in general. Approximately 3/4ths of the world's 250,000 flowering plants require mobile animal partners, or pollinators, to reproduce. Over the past two decades, concern has grown around the world about declining abundance of pollinators of all descriptions. During this period in the United States, the honey bee, the world's premier managed pollinator, experienced dramatic declines. Between 1947 and 2005, colony numbers declined by over 40 percent, from almost six million to less than 2\1/2\ million. Thus, the National Research Council, the research arm of the National Academy of Sciences, convened an ad hoc committee funded by the USDA, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the National Academy of Sciences itself, to document the status of pollinators in North America. I served as chair of that committee. Our committee of 15 experts quickly established that there is an extraordinary paucity of reliable data on pollinator populations. This dearth applies even to honey bees, which is surprising given that they are essential six legged livestock that manufacture agriculture commodities, honey and wax, more importantly, contribute to agricultural services. Pollination of nearly 100 crop species in the United States could collectively make up 1/3 of the U.S. diet, including the most high-value healthy foods. Although economists differ in calculating the exact dollar value of honey bee pollination, virtually all estimates range in the billions of dollars. It is difficult to think of any other multi-billion dollar agricultural enterprise that is so casually monitored. Methods for estimating honey bee availability for pollination are outdated and inadequate. Since 1947, the National Agricultural Statistics Service has conducted an annual survey of honey bees and conducts a census every five years, but the focus of data collection has been honey production and not pollination. This was appropriate 60 years ago, but today the value of pollination greatly exceeds the volume of honey production. Nor do these surveys consider colony health. The magnitude of decline in honey bee abundance and efficacy, despite six decades of data collection, cannot be definitively evaluated. Bee health is utterly critical here. CCD is just the most recent of an unrelenting series of devastating problems affecting American honey bees. Introduced pests and parasites, microbial diseases, pesticide drifts and competition with Africanized bees have all contributed to the decline since assessments began. Shortages were sufficiently acute that in 2005, for the first time in 85 years, since passage of the Honey Bee Act of 1922, bees were imported from outside the United States to meet pollination demand. Importing bees is risky and it increases the chances of introducing new pests and parasites. Even before CCD, we estimated, if honey bee numbers continued to decline at the rates documented from 1989 to 1996, managed honey bees in the United States will cease to exist by 2035. Historically, wild honey bees have provided pollination for both natural and managed plant communities. Parasite infestations have eliminated wild colonies in many areas, but without any systematic monitoring, there is no way to know how many are left. Committee recommendations include the changing data collection practices to account for pollination service and colony health. Increased investment is also needed to encourage innovative approaches to keeping bees healthy and improving genetic stocks. Many aspects of contemporary apiculture remain largely unchanged since the 19th Century, in part, due to low priority accorded to honey bee research in the agricultural sector. These are living in 19th Century housing comparable to dairy barns without electricity and running water. The committee concluded its deliberations before CCD appeared, but enormous losses incurred were predictable. Over- reliance on one managed non-native species is inherently unstable. CCD has accelerated the rate of colony loss and beekeepers as well as growers need immediate relief. Many investigators, as Dr. Cox-Foster mentioned in the CCD Working Group, are donating their own time and money to solve this problem, and altruism is not a sustainable long-term strategy. Completion of the honey bee genome in October 2006 provides extraordinarily powerful new tools for diagnosed and development of management strategies, but new federal competitive funding to support multi-disciplinary research is necessary to enable and expand this limited pool of investigators. The proposed 2007 Farm Bill identifies specialty crops as a high priority for research. Most of these depend on insect pollination. Pollination sustainability should be a conspicuous component of this legislation. As well, a permanent surveillance program for parasites and diseases of honey bees is urgently needed to prevent the introduction of new pests. A consequence of relying overwhelmingly on a single species is that few alternative actively managed species exist. Wild pollinators are not exploited to any significant extent, either. Efforts to monitor honey bees may be inadequate, but efforts to monitor wild pollinators in North America are essentially nonexistent, despite the fact that wild pollinator contributions to crop pollination are worth $3 billion annually. Evidence indicates that some North American pollinator species have declined or even gone extinct. For many species, there is no evidence of decline because their populations have never been monitored. Systematic monitoring programs of wild pollinators in Europe have revealed dramatic declines in abundance and diversity. Monitoring is needed here to document changes in pollinator status. Wild pollinators maintain plant diversity and hence ecosystem diversity in every state in the country. Conserving America's pollinators will require economic incentives. The farm bill provides an opportunity to address this need by encouraging state-level natural resources conservation service offices to promote pollinator-friendly practices for all farmers participating in the USDA cost share programs, land retirement programs, and production and stewardship programs. Ensuring the security of our food supply is an explicit national priority. Although it is generally discussed in the context of vulnerability to attack from beyond our borders, food security faces a greater threat from within our borders; the overly optimistic deep-seated conviction that pollination resources will always be available. Armies of economists devote hours to calculate our energy need reserves, but there has never been a comparable effort to calculate our pollination reserves. Human technological innovation has not, in most cases, replaced or even improved upon animal pollinators and is unlikely to do so in the immediate future. As long as plants depend on pollinators, America depends on pollinators and right now they need your help. Thank you and I would be happy to answer any questions. [The prepared statement of Ms. Berenbaum appears at the conclusion of the hearing.] Mr. Cardoza. Thank you very much. Your testimony was quite enlightening. I will start off the questioning and for this first question, I will submit it to all three panelists. Some groups have speculated that pollen from genetically modified crops could be a contributing factor to the development and spread of CCD. What is your belief with regard to that question? Mr. Rexroad. Mr. Chairman, we have reviewed the literature related to the availability of GMO pollen and its use by bees and we do not find any significant findings that would suggest that GMO crops contribute to CCD. Ms. Berenbaum. That was also a finding of our committee, NRC committee, on size of pollinators. The review of the available literature didn't, not in the context of CCD, but in the context of honey bee decline. Ms. Cox-Foster. We have also been looking at that in our studies and what we have seen is that the reported toxins that are in these plants are very species specific, that they impact moths and butterflies and beetles, but there is no evidence that the impact bees and we have no evidence to suggest that the symptoms we have would be like those that you would expect to see with a BT toxin. Mr. Cardoza. Thank you. Dr. Rexroad, in your testimony, you state that the Varroa mite is becoming resistant to many miticides. Can you discuss the alternative miticides under development and how your research is working to minimize the long-term resistance? Mr. Rexroad. We think that, in the long term, that the real approach is to develop genetic resistance in the bees. One of our main strategies right now is to breed bees and introduce gene lines where they will have resistance to Varroa Mites so that the bee itself can overcome the resistance, can overcome the Varroa Mites, as opposed to having to treat them with miticides. Mr. Cardoza. Okay. As well as a follow-up question, in your written testimony, you indicate that, in the future, ARS will involve researchers from all ARS labs with the CCD Working Group. Can you comment on that? Mr. Rexroad. Yes, it is our intention to be a full participant in the working group. We appreciate the leadership that we have had from working with the universities on this, and all of the labs have a different contribution to make. For instance, work on genetic resistance to Varroa mites done in our lab in Baton Rouge. Our laboratory in Beltsville has a lot of expertise in diseases of bees. So each one brings a different aspect or contribution to working on CCD. Mr. Cardoza. What is your timeframe for making this happen? It seems to me that this is an urgent question, so it is imperative that we get to work on this right away. Mr. Rexroad. It is an ongoing process. We had a very early response to the challenge of CCD, where a number of our investigators have already worked with, the consortium, and have already gone out to assess what the problems might be associated with CCD, and are working closely with the universities on that. They are continuing the work they do in a very focused way on CCD, on Varroa Mites and on others. And in addition, we have put together a long-term project related to feeding of bee colonies, where we hope that improved or enhanced nutrition will increase the bee colony resistance to whatever the CCD factors are. So it is an ongoing process, in addition to the strategic plan that we are looking for from the consortium group, which will help us focus our research in the future. Mr. Cardoza. I want to go a little deeper into this, Dr. Rexroad, because it seems to be that this is an urgent crisis that demands urgent attention. I understand there is a long- term plan to get there, but it seems to me that there needs to be short-term urgency within the Department about this. Could you speak more specifically to the timelines with which you are planning to proceed? Mr. Rexroad. Yes, we do plan to proceed immediately with the nutrition studies, putting those in place, the long-term feeding studies. It is a five year study that will begin as the funds are available. Within the Department, our state funding agency, CSREES, is also looking at what they can do in the short term on critical issues and then planning in the fall to have the ability to submit grants related to those issues, to be able to recognize what kind of requests or proposals might be best suited to serving this particular issue. So we are focusing the funds that we already have within labs. We are changing the projects that are currently ongoing to focus more specifically on CCD. Mr. Cardoza. I think we are going to hear in just a few moments from some of the beekeepers, that they believe that there is an urgent crisis impending, the CCD situation is bad and getting worse rapidly. I think one of my folks from my district is going to testify to the fact that just this year, when you normally see the beehives increase in size while they are in the orchard, they are decreasing. That indicates to me that Congress is going to be incredibly interested in how we can accelerate the research into this problem in a much more rapid fashion that what I am hearing. It doesn't mean you are not trying to do a good job. I appreciate that. But I think we are going to need to have a lot more examination of how we can put some gas to the fire on this one and get it moving. The next question I have is best management practices are widely used in agriculture to address farm-level environmental protection issues while providing for economic returns. Are there recommended best management practices at a state or federal level for the management of bees currently in place? Ms. Cox-Foster. I know, within the State of Pennsylvania, that we have developed the best management practices and recommended those and I think that those extend outwards to the Federal areas here. Part of the problem with that best management practice is that Varroa, which has been the major killer in the last 20 years, that we are running out of controls or ways to keep that parasite in check and we don't fully understand what it is doing with the bee diseases. So there is a lack of effective controls for that various mite out there. But there are best management practices in place and I know that they are getting completely renovated all the time. Ms. Berenbaum. I don't know how much background you need, but there is a real challenge in managing honey bee problems, at least in part because they produce, well, honey production is for human consumption and therefore the use of pesticides has to take into consideration the fact that ultimately the product might end up in the human diet. Another problem is specificity. The varroa mite is an arthropod just like an insect. It is really challenging to develop an agent that will kill one arthropod that doesn't kill another arthropod. They are very closely related. And what makes this even more challenging is that honey bees don't appear to be very well equipped to deal with pesticides themselves. So this has been a thorny problem for a long time and we now have more problems to factor in. Mr. Cardoza. Thank you. I have several other questions, but at this time, I am going to turn it over to my colleague, Mr. Etheridge, from North Carolina. Chairman Etheridge. Mr. Etheridge. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and let me thank you for being here today. You know, in my home State of North Carolina, we have always grown some fruits and vegetables, but in the last few years that has grown rapidly with our proximity with the country. So this issue is not only important, but it is alarming to us, too, because we are having some of the same problems. One of the themes I have heard to today, or an observation I have, I guess, from listening to the testimony is that we don't really know what is causing CCD, or at least there is no certainty about one thing that is causing it and I guess this problem has arisen relatively quickly. Is it a possibility that it could be something similar to the 1980s, when we had the mite problem that we have identified but never really figured out what we were going to do? So what can be done to maximize, I guess, federally-supported universities in the base research that we do? And I think question I would like to pose to Dr. Rexroad. We spend a lot of money with federal universities. Why can't we link those up in some of the things we are doing and utilize the dollars we now have out there? Mr. Rexroad. I think that is an excellent question and to some degree, I think that is happening right now with this working group, this consortium, that was mentioned a few moments ago by Dr. Cox-Foster, where a number of universities, plus our federal labs, are working together to answer the very question that you indicated--trying to discover, first, what is the primary cause of colony collapse disorder? So they have pulled their resources, their intellectual resources, and I think there will be opportunities over the next few months to pull some other resources, but part of that will be through applications for grants to the funding agencies. And in addition, we will focus ourselves on this issue and put out some resources in terms of nutrition and those kinds of interventions for the bee colonies. Mr. Etheridge. Well, let me follow that up because the chairman touched on it. Is there a short-term strategy and a long-term strategy or is it just a strategy? Mr. Rexroad. Do you want to answer that? Ms. Cox-Foster. So we have obtained some emergency funding and it is rather limited in scope. We greatly appreciate everything that we have gained. It is through the beekeeper organizations and the National Honey Board, to tackle this problem directly. So we have a gap that we foresee here in proceeding and going beyond our initial studies that we are looking at that causes this directly and fully resolving the issue here, and that is part of the problem. So as you may be well aware of, for the granting process, it usually takes a full year, at least, before you submit the grant and you actually get the monies to do the work. And at the national level here, there is a limited amount of monies out there to explore all insect-related problems, both at the field, the applied levels, and at the basic research, and the competition for those dollars has greatly increased. So the number of grants that are being funded, it is down below, I think, 10 percent with USDA and we are competing and trying hard to compete with other federal agencies, like National Science Foundation, and even some researchers are finding a way to tailor their research to fit into National Institutes of Health. But there is this lack of where we can figure out how to get monies. We are, for some of us, figuring out how to gain state emergency funds, some of which are part of Homeland Security. Mr. Etheridge. Well, let me ask you a question. Who is the clearinghouse on this? Mr. Rexroad. Yes, if I may? Our federal funding agency, CSREES, they do have some short-term funds available under something called critical issues, which they will apply to looking at some of the issues of CCD and help the universities prepare for the granting cycle, which is a longer-term issue. Mr. Etheridge. The reason I asked that question is that, you know, we are reaching out to a number of places. Mr. Rexroad. Yes. Mr. Etheridge. And it seems to me that the USDA will be the ideal place to have a clearinghouse, because we are working together for one goal. Mr. Rexroad. That is certainly true. There are also multi- state projects that already exist on bees, where the states do have some discretion in the use of those funds, so they can turn those immediately to CCD. Mr. Etheridge. And we are gathering that data at USDA, so we aren't repeating? Mr. Rexroad. Yes. Mr. Etheridge. Okay. My time is about out. Dr. Berenbaum, you mentioned something that I thought was probably a good idea, a best practice management plan for people who put their land in conservation programs like CRP. I always say this: it is a little bit easier to solve a problem if everyone pitches in. And there are a lot of people using these programs right now. What kind of things could these individual landowners do to help solve the problem or deal with this problem? Ms. Berenbaum. Well, there are a number of programs that provide opportunities for pollinator sustainability, for managing wild populations. One reason we may be so utterly dependent on this one species for partial pollination is that, through habitat loss, through urbanization and industrialization, we have lost native pollinators that used to provide this service for free, essentially. Among the possible programs, there are cost share programs at USDA include the Wildlife and Habitat Incentives Program, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. The land retirement programs include the Conservation Reserve Program, the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, and Conservation Security Program. CRP can explicitly incorporate pollinator habitat into the environmental benefits index that is used to evaluate land parcel proposals, and CSP can incorporate the value of that pollinator habitat development into its determination of the stewardship tiers that are the basis for federal payments. USDA cost share and land retirement and product stewardship programs should be available to producers of all commodities that depend on pollinators. There is an organization called Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation and I am at the moment president of this society. It has as its mission promoting conservation of some of the world's least charismatic animals and it has been working with the Natural Resource Conservation Service to incorporate native pollinators into farm bill programs at the national and state level. And I know the Xerces Society is happy to offer its time and expertise to congressional staffers for language for the farm bill and its programs to help achieve this goal. But again, pollinator management sustainability programs are a long-term solution to this pressing problem. Mr. Etheridge. Thank you. Mr. Cardoza. I am going to turn this over in just a second to my colleague, Mr. Davis, from Tennessee, but I want to make this observation now so that you might possibly integrate it into your testimony as we go forward. A few years back when I was in the state legislature in California, we discovered the glassy-winged sharpshooter problem in Temecula, California. We went down there and did a hearing on it. The standardized method by which we were doing university research for that particular pest wasn't adequate for dealing with the crisis, so we had to come up with, very quickly, increased emergency methods to deal with that problem. We did that through state funding, through industry funding and finally the federal government caught up. This time we are finding this problem more on the federal level first, but we need to bring--it is sort of like ringing a fire bell and having all hands come to fight the fire together. It is time to call up the bucket brigade to get everybody pitching in and so that is why I am making this observation. I am going to turn it over to my colleague, Mr. Davis, for his question period. Mr. Davis. Thank you, Chairman Cardoza, for having the hearing today on what I think is an important issue for many different reasons. I will describe my childhood somewhat as I grew up. Most of us certainly treasure those days when we were back on the farm. In the area that I lived in, the neighbors up the stream and down the stream from us were about a half a mile apart, and my brother and sisters and I, at the first sign that the ground started cracking, would go barefoot, and to me the pesky things called honey bees that loved to get on the clover tops that were blooming in the spring, would often remember me that I had no shoes on by stinging the bottom of my foot. So as far as I was concerned, had there appeared a time when we were losing bees, I probably would have been delighted at that, because it would have meant that I wouldn't have been irritated by the swollen foot that I would later have. But then I went to school and I was amazed to realize how important those honey bees were to fruits and vegetables, to pollination. I then started watching those bees as they would bury up into honeysuckle vines and lilac bushes that my grandmother would raise, the snowball trees that had big white blooms on them, and I was fascinated that they were doing part of nature's work and that without those bees, that a lot of the creation that we enjoy would probably cease to exist. And so I became aware of how everything works together in this world that we live in and that these certainly are a major part of that, as far as pollination. So I started looking somewhat with a little disdain almost 30 years ago, when we started losing colonies of bees and then just recently started again hearing that we are losing bees, maybe at a more rapid pace. Actually, colony collapse disorder may be occurring more rapidly now than it did some 30 years ago. Certainly I hope that this is not a phenomena that will destroy our bee population in America, that will, I think, be a major negative impact on agriculture in America and certainly our environment. But I guess the question I wanted to ask, after defining my childhood that all of us probably can remember, as we look at existing USDA pollinator research programs and see basically just this out-of-the-blue problem that we have today, do you think that we have adequate researchers able to handle this or other phenomena that may happen, Mr. Rexroad? Mr. Rexroad. I think it is always a challenge to have those resources immediately available to switch gears and to take this on. We believe that we do have significant resources to apply to this problem. Over the last several years, we have had about $9 million in bee research in ARS. The amount of funds provided by the Cooperative State Research Service, CSREES, rather, has been between $1 and $3 million, depending on the years and kinds of grants that have been applied. We are taking a look at this and seeing what kind of new resources might be needed and looking to future budgets as a way of strengthening our own program. Mr. Davis. I think one of the best bargains that the American consumer has, taxpayer has provided for the American consumer and it has been the farm programs that we have had to supply the good, safe, abundant source of food, pretty much everlasting like an everlasting spring at an affordable price. I notice that as we look at the generic term that we use, mad cow disease, certainly in beef cattle production, we jump very quickly to try to shut down any fear among the American public consumer and to the beef cattle producer that if there is a problem, that we, with the USDA, have resolved that and again, obtained the confidence of the American and the world consumers of American beef. I certainly hope that we have adequate researchers in USDA that would look at all of the problems that we may face in the future, and especially as we have, the last 30 years, increased dramatically our pesticide and herbicides that we use in agriculture production. I thank you all for being here and thanks for allowing me to be a part of the discussion on this important issue today. Mr. Cardoza. Thank you, Mr. Davis. I'd like to now ask a question of Dr. Berenbaum and Dr. Cox-Foster. Both of you have raised the need for better data collection and pollination activities and colony health, particularly the need for having accurate annual surveys of bee colonies. Both of you assert data collection to be a critical component to monitoring the health of pollinators. Can you tell the committee what the cost of such a survey might be? And Dr. Rexroad, you are free to chime in, as well. Ms. Berenbaum. Interestingly, that is not one of the issues we discussed in our committees, what the cost of implementation would be. But just to put this in context, you know, there is no free lunch, essentially, and the U.S. Ag economy has been benefiting from, I guess, the altruism of honeybees in a sense that for decades, pollination services were not paid for. They were assumed to be available for free. There is controversy as to putting a dollar value on pollination services and the number that is frequently quoted is $14 billion. That is from a study that is already 10 years old. I don't know what that would be in 2007 dollars, but averaged over the years, this is billions and billions of dollars. $9 million may sound like a lot, but this is a multi- billion dollar enterprise. It just is diffuse and basically is intriculated throughout the entire ag enterprise in the United States. One reason it is difficult to rally those most directly affected, I mean, most directly affected are beekeepers, but in reality, bees and other pollinators are an essential component of over 90 crops in North America. Mr. Cardoza. All right. We are going to have to keep our answers just a little bit short because we have an impending vote. No problem. Thank you very much for your answer, though. Dr. Cox-Foster. Ms. Cox-Foster. So at a recent meeting with the Colony Collapse Disorder down in Florida, we did discuss a survey on what the costs would be. We came up with the estimated value of at least a million dollars. And part of the problem that we face is that within different states, we no longer have state apiaries in place who would help to facilitate this and we have many obvious beekeepers, sideliner beekeepers out there that we need to also monitor and learn what they are doing. So it will be an extensive issue and also one in which we need to respect and maintain the confidentiality of some beekeepers for security reasons. Mr. Cardoza. Very good. Thank you. Dr. Rexroad, do you agree with this? And I am going to ask my last question at the same time, so you can answer both in time expediency. In your testimony you noted that a request to USDA/APHIS for national honeybee pest surveys was declined last year. Do you know why that request was denied? Mr. Rexroad. I will answer the second question first and we can find that information for you, but I don't know right now why it is, but I do think there are two different approaches to answering the question of how we should do surveys. One is the question of within NASS, the statistical service of whether or not we should change that and we don't know what the cost would be of changing that from focusing on honey as the commodity as opposed to the pollination services. I think an alternative way to look at that, though, is to look at this and we look forward to some more information from a consortium that Dr. Cox-Foster is part of, looking at this scientifically to discover, in a survey system, what the problems are, the direct problems are with the bee colonies. Mr. Cardoza. Thank you. I now want to recognize my colleagues. As you have noted, they have gotten back from the White House. They have had a very busy morning and I appreciate their attendance. I turn it over to my Ranking Member, Mr. Neugebauer. Mr. Neugebauer. I thank the Chairman and I will submit my opening statement for the record, so we will get into questions. [The information appears at the conclusion of the hearing.] Mr. Neugebauer. Dr. Rexroad, does the USDA regulate the interstate movement of honeybees and honeybee pests and if not, why not? Mr. Rexroad. APHIS has the authority to regulate the movement of honeybee pests and of the colonies if they are contaminated with a pest. In particular, I might mention that they, at one point, when Varroa mites were discovered in the United States in Wisconsin apiary, did for a short time restrict the movement of colonies. However, what they discovered subsequent to that was that this pest was widely spread throughout the United States and that there was no benefit to restricting the movement of those colonies, but they do have the authority. Mr. Neugebauer. Okay. My second question is along the same line. From where are we allowing the importation of adult honeybees and how do we justify allowing these importations? Mr. Rexroad. Currently, we allow the importation of honeybees from Australia, New Zealand and Canada. In each case, there has been a risk assessment done by APHIS, looking at the types of pests that are prevalent in those countries, determine whether or not they are free of pests and, in addition, if they do have pests, whether or not those are the same pests that are present in the United States already, so that they wouldn't add an additional burden to the bee population. Mr. Neugebauer. And have you determined any problems? I mean, do you think we are doing a good job of inspecting these and that we are not bringing a problem from somewhere else into our country? Mr. Rexroad. I think the risk assessments would suggest that we are doing a good job. In a very specific way, though, what the specific inspections are, I couldn't speak to right now. Mr. Neugebauer. This is to the entire panel. This phenomenon of CCD, is that a problem just in the U.S. or is this a problem that is going on in other parts of the world? And just go down the panel there. Ms. Cox-Foster. So if the CCD, of the surveys that we have been doing, we have been asking if these unique symptoms that we find in these colonies that collapsed are present. We find that they are occurring across the continental United States. Recently, we have reports out of Canada that they have the exact same symptoms and collapses ongoing there. There are other collapses ongoing in other parts of the world. As we can determine right now, they don't match these exact same symptoms. But I think we need to further define that and get their researchers on board with what we are seeing. Ms. Berenbaum. I know there has been some concern in Germany over inexplicable bee mortality, but again, whether it is the same phenomenon or not, it is difficult to ascertain if we don't know what is causing this phenomenon. Mr. Neugebauer. Do you think there is collaboration going on with these other countries to talk about some of these issues and to put the sides together? Ms. Cox-Foster. I know that I have been personally contacted by people from other countries, researchers, to ask whether we are seeing the same thing and I know that Dr. Jeff Pettis, who is USDA/ARS, has also been contacted and involved in these discussions. Likewise, other members of the CCD working group are actively involved, but I think it is a growing problem. There are people involved in the CCD working group that we have been deluged with media attention, including media and questions from outside the United States, that this is a global issue and being recognized as a problem. Mr. Neugebauer. Dr. Rexroad, I guess a question I would have is, is USDA collaborating with the agricultural entities and ministries in some of the other countries? Is there some ongoing dialog at that level? Mr. Rexroad. On the research agency level, most of the dialog is scientist to scientist. These folks are very involved. They know each other. The worldwide community of people that do this kind of science is not large, so they are very aware. At a higher level, at the ministry level, probably less. We rely very much on the scientists keeping those lines of communication open and providing us information on what the issues are and what approaches others are doing, using. Mr. Neugebauer. I believe my time is about to expire. Mr. Cardoza. Thank you, Mr. Neugebauer. I appreciate your questions. I have one final question for the panel. That would be we have documented pretty well today the decline in organized hives and the business of beekeeping. You also testified, however, that there has been precipitous declines of wild beehive activity. Could you all speak to that? And as you hear, we have votes coming up, so we will take this as our last question. We will take a recess at the end of your answers and then we will come back after votes and reconvene the hearing to hear the second panel. With regard to the wild bee question, please. Ms. Berenbaum. Again, the results of the NRC study of mostly documented the scarcity of data, but those few examples, the most charismatic species are known to have experienced decline, including some in your home State, actually. There is one bumble bee species that hasn't been seen; it is thought to have gone extinct, which actually happens to be a crop pollinator, as well. So there is a taxonomic impediment and an unfortunate situation where we don't even have an ability to assess the diversity of wild pollinators. But there are a number of surveys that have been done, long-term monitoring surveys that have been done in England and in Belgium and elsewhere in Europe, cooperatively, among the European Union that clearly demonstrate that there are many different groups of pollinators that are experiencing declines. Mr. Cardoza. As you discuss this, could you also discuss the potential impact, whether there is or is not any impact that you know of from the Africanized bees that came north a few years ago and I assume are still with us? Ms. Cox-Foster. So I could address that. With the Africanized bees, it is interesting that they seem to be much more resistant or refractory to the Varroa Mites, themselves. And in those areas where the Africanized bees are, namely, in Arizona, they are not seeing this collapse ongoing in those colonies. So there is a chance there that there are genes present in that particular strain of Apis Mellifera, the honeybee that could be utilized or directed towards breeding a more resistant bee strain. So the Africanized bee, by itself, doesn't appear to be impacted by the Colony Collapse Disorder right now. Mr. Cardoza. Can Africanized bees be used to pollinate and are they a threat to the general population? Ms. Cox-Foster. So the researchers I know at the Tucson BEE Lab, Gloria DiGrandi-Hoffman, swears by Africanized bees and that they are great pollinators and wonderful. You do have to maintain certain size limitations on the colonies in order to have them be effective pollinators and not present extreme defensiveness that they can exhibit, so there is potential there to manipulate them, but there is also potential there to get genetic stock away from the defensive traits to be incorporated in our more gentle European strains. Mr. Rexroad. The evidence that we have currently on the Colony Collapse Disorder and its association and non- association with wild bee colonies is pretty much anecdotal. We think it is an important question. It is a proper one to grab a hold of because we don't have somebody overseeing those bees on a daily basis to see the bees disappear and not be present. But we do think it is an important question. We are hoping it is one that the consortium will spend some time on, also. Ms. Cox-Foster. We do have the reports from recognized researchers at Harvard who have made observations and relayed them to us that they have seen collapses or deaths of bees from probably feral colonies, that there are no managed hives around. So it is an issue that we need to address. Mr. Cardoza. Clearly, there has been a compelling case for more research to be made this morning on this first panel. Thank you very much for your testimony. We will reconvene the hearing directly after the last vote on the floor in the House. Thank you very much. This hearing is temporarily recessed. [Recess.] Mr. Cardoza. Mr. Neugebauer just reminded me that things are buzzing around here today. The Chair would like to remind members that they will be recognized for questioning in order of seniority and those who were here at the start of the hearing, as they come back and trickle back in. After that, members will be recognized in order of arrival and I appreciate the members that are standing on this question. We would now like to invite our second panel to the table. We have with us today, as I introduced earlier in the hearing, Mr. Paul Wenger, First Vice President of the California Farm Bureau Federation, Modesto, California; Mr. David Ellingson, Commercial Bee Keeper, Ortonville, Minnesota; Mr. Gene Brandi, Legislative Chairman of the California State Beekeepers Association from Los Banos, California; Mr. Jim Doan, Commercial Bee Keeper, Hamlin, New York; and Mr. Richard Adee, Legislative Committee Chairman of the American Honey Producers Association, Bruce, South Dakota. Mr. Wenger, please begin when you are ready and welcome to the panel. STATEMENT OF PAUL WENGER, FIRST VICE PRESIDENT, CALIFORNIA FARM BUREAU FEDERATION Mr. Wenger. Thank you. My name is Paul Wenger. I am a third generation farmer growing almonds and walnuts in Stanislaus County, which is west of Modesto in California. My sons are actively involved with me in the family operation, so I look forward to a long future of our family working the land. I am also, as you mentioned, Mr. Chairman, the first vice president of the California Farm Bureau Federation, a position that keeps me in close contact with farmers and ranchers throughout the State. The California Farm Bureau is the State's largest general farm organization, representing more than 90,000 member families. We represent producers of all commodities and of all sizes of operations. Most are family farms. This forces us to take a broad view of what is important and how what might affect one commodity will impact another. That is certainly the case with the topic of today's hearing. I appreciate the opportunity to address this committee. I commend you, Chairman Cardoza, and the committee, for taking time to review an issue that is very critical to us. I have to admit that in addition to my Farm Bureau duties, I have a personal interest, as well. As an almond grower and someone who pays $130 a hive to pollinate my crop, I am personally concerned about the health of the bee industry. Bees are the unsung heroes of our State's vibrant almond industry that has an annual farm revenue of more than $2.5 billion. Each year, in February and early March, our almond trees require honeybees, more than a million colonies statewide, to produce a crop. The bees come from California from all over the United States. This demand for bee colonies feeds into what is a national network of beekeepers. Each year, as growers, we worry about the supply of bees and what the weather will be during the critical pollination period. Our crop fortunes rise and fall on that outcome. The size of our State's almond industry has been steadily rising from 400,000 acres in 1985 to nearly 600,000 bearing acres today. At least 100,000 additional acres will be coming into production in the next few years. Almonds are almost unique to California. We are the dominant producer of almonds in the United States and around the world. Our State combines a special climate and infrastructure to maintain this dominance in an important, value-added product. I am sure that countries such as China, Spain or parts of South America would very much like to share in this market. So far we have been able to maintain our dominance, but a healthy and productive bee industry will be key to our continued success. While almonds may be the single largest commodity to benefit from bees, it is not the only one. There are scores of other crops that also have a crucial or strongly beneficial reliance on bees. The list includes melons, cherries, avocados, Bartlett pears, bushberries, kiwi, many apple varieties, cucumbers, plums, prunes, pumpkin, squash, ornamental plants and dozens of vegetable and flower seeds. Bees are critical to our alfalfa and Ladino clover seed industries. Alfalfa seeds drives the hay industry that supports a $4.5 billion dairy industry. We rely on bees foremost as pollinators, but California also has a thriving queen bee industry that supplies nearly a million queen bee packages to beekeepers around the country to revitalize their colonies. We produce more than 20 million pounds of honey annually. In 2005 the California honeybee industry generated $176 million in direct revenue, while the value of crops pollinated exceeded $6 billion and many associated jobs. While the role of bees grows in importance, the research and technical support side of beekeeping has declined. I know you can't always make a direct correlation between loss of research dollars and growing disease and pest problems, but it has to be more than coincidence that both are occurring today. We need answers to the parasitic mites and colony collapse problems, but the health issue and the state of the industry is of an even broader concern. Through attrition, we are losing apiculture expertise at the professional, research and extension levels through the United States. We are losing this infrastructure at a time when it is vital to the ability to respond to major bee health concerns. Let me provide some examples. Attrition has severely impacted the bee research program at the University of California Davis, with the loss of key researchers. Mr. Brandi will describe this in greater detail, but I want to at least point out that California Farm Bureau has urged UC Davis to appoint faculty in apiculture in the Department of Entomology and to ensure that a specialist position is filled upon the retirement of the current statewide apiculture specialist. When it comes to research there is a growing concern in the farm community over the dwindling support for production agriculture by the land grant universities. This is a trend that seems to exist across the board, including apiculture research. Stepped up efforts by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, ARS, on current health problems and other issues are vital. We have continually expressed to Congress our support for the four USDA-ARS bee labs. We join the American Farm Bureau Federation in supporting research at these regionally located bee research centers to find solutions. Just this past September we urged USDA to expedite its research effort to produce effective treatments controlling honeybee mites. Research will be the key to overcoming the current problems. I would urge this committee to spearhead the Congressional action to help restore the honeybee industry to full health. I want to thank you for taking the time on what some would think is a very minor issue, but has extremely large concerns in our agricultural industry, not only in California, but throughout the United States. Thank you. [The prepared statement of Mr. Wenger appears at the conclusion of the hearing.] Mr. Cardoza. Thank you. STATEMENT OF DAVID ELLINGSON, COMMERCIAL BEEKEEPER Mr. Ellingson. Chairman Cardoza and Members of the Subcommittee, my name is David Ellingson. I live in Ortonville, Minnesota, where I operate 3,700 colonies of honey bees for pollination and honey production. I ship my bees to both California and Texas for parts of the year. I also operate a business that processes beeswax for beekeepers. First, I want to express the thanks of our entire industry for the concern you are showing for our problems by holding this hearing and my personal appreciation for being invited to tell you my story. I have been in beekeeping all my life, having followed my father in the business. Over those years, like any other farmers, we have seen our shares of ups and downs, but now I am experiencing the lowest point of my beekeeping life. For many years we have wintered a portion of our bees in Texas, where the milder climates and earlier springs allow us to get a jump-start in spring, compared to Minnesota. Looking back over the years, I see we have had to increase the number of hives brought down each year to make up our numbers for the summer. 30-plus years ago we could depend on having a five to one split, that is we could haul 800 hives to Texas and able to split these into making 4,000 colonies. Today we are hauling around 2,000 colonies to Texas just to make up those same numbers for those 3,700. Now comes the winter of 2006-2007. We hauled 2,000 hives to Texas in the fall. We went through the colonies and fed them corn syrup and pollen substitute. The queens were starting to lay some eggs for new young bees. My observation at this time was the colonies were strong, the mite counts were very low. There were good amounts of food storage for the bees. I felt that following a good honey crop last summer and a good fall in Minnesota, that my bees were looking as good as I had ever seen in a long time. I even felt that we would have some surplus bees to sell to others. Now, we came back to Texas on January 5 to sort out the best colonies to ship to California to rent out for almond pollination. I found more hives than normal without bees. These hives still had food stores; honey, pollen. The colonies didn't starve to death. The percentage of small clusters was higher than expected. I know now that many of these colonies also were dying. We selected 808 hives and shipped them to California. By January 25, our beekeeper-partner in California reported that one-third of these colonies were gone and another third were too weak to rent. We then went and shipped out another 400 hives to fill the contract. Within two weeks of delivery, 50 of these colonies had disappeared. These also had plenty of honey and pollen. My loss on the bees not going into the almonds is in excess of $60,000 plus freight, which is $9800 per load, that had to be paid without regard to the condition of the bees, once they arrived in California. The second load, which should have been worth more because there were more bees and they were in two- story hives, should have netted me at least $26,250. So overall, I should expect to have a net profit of $6,600. Now, when I deduct my time and expenses of two trips to Texas to prepare the bees plus the wear and tear and loss of being in shipment, the final question becomes what will I have to work with when these bees come back to Texas? So far, instead of having surplus bees to sell, I have been buying bees, spending approximately $10,000 for bees to fill some of my equipment. Even so, I believe we will be running 1,000 to 1,500 fewer colonies this year. That is 1500 hives with a possible 100 pound honey crop at 85 cents a pound, gives me another net loss of $127,500. I truly felt that we had done everything right this year. When you wake up at 2:00 in the morning and lie there wondering what did I do wrong? And then you talk to another beekeeper who has done the same thing and is not having the problems that we are, it will just about drive you nuts. There are things that we need. We need more beekeeping research. We need money today to analyze the samples that have been taken for these USDA and these university labs, today we need that money. We don't need it next year. Next year we might not have any bees. We don't know. We need more research. We need more scientists. We need an effective and efficient technology transfer of what the scientists find out and how we can get it into our bees. You know, a farmer has all the tools that we don't see. He has an agronomist, he has a soil sampler, he has all these things. Do you think that farmer can make the crop that he makes today if he didn't have those tools? We don't have those tools. We need those tools. I would like to conclude with a personal comment. This is a tough business. It is one that takes you away from home a lot, just like you here in D.C. We are a small industry, scattered across the country. If we are going to have a viable honey bee industry, we must have dedicated people who are willing to go the distance. But even dedicated people need assistance from time to time. I have been deep in debt from when my dad died. I will not put myself in that position again. Other facts are the banks have forever been cutting our lending because of defaults on other beekeeping practices. The median age of a beekeeper is over 50. A lot of them are on the brink of hanging it up. There is a glimmer of hope that we could, in some manner, improve the lot of beekeepers, the atmosphere in this industry would and could be greatly improved and we would see new, younger beekeepers moving in. I certainly would have chosen a better way to celebrate our company's 60th anniversary in the honey bee business. Again, I thank you for the opportunity to give my views of the Colony Collapse Disorder and what effect it is having on my business and those of my fellow beekeepers. Thank you. [The prepared statement of Mr. Ellingson appears at the conclusion of the hearing.] Mr. Cardoza. Thank you, Mr. Ellingson. Compelling testimony. Appreciate it very much. I am going to ask the committee's indulgence at this point and ask Mr. Doan to speak next. Ms. Gillibrand needs to leave for another engagement and so I am going to have you testify next so she can hear your testimony. STATEMENT OF JIM DOAN, COMMERCIAL BEEKEEPER Mr. Doan. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman Cardoza and also Congresswoman Gillibrand. It is a real honor to be here today. My name is James Doan. I live in western New York with my wife and two children. I own and operated 4,300 hives of honeybees in the fall of 2006; that is what we started out with. Currently, I have 1,900 hives of bees left of the original 4,300. Those same hives we normally will rent out for pollination in western New York to do fruit and vegetable pollination. The hives are then transported down to Florida for the winter, where we do honey and also pollination down there. I consider this testimony a privilege and an honor to speak with you today concerning the seriousness and devastating loss of our honeybees here in the United States, but more importantly how I feel it is going to affect the infrastructure of agriculture here in the United States. In my business hive management is everything. My overall system has changed very little in the last 20 years, with the exception of treating hive pest management. However, the overall health of the bees has always been considered good and profitable. Starting in the spring of 2006, we began to see a change in our hive health. Not only was I seeing this, but many other beekeepers in western New York were seeing the same things. Typical scenario was the honeybees were not expanding in number and not making any honey. And finally, an empty hive or even in some cases, honey left behind. Yes, we had weather conditions in the Northeast in the fall of 2006 that were wet and cold, and many counties in New York were declared disasters. However, in the Northeast we have had wet falls before and still made honey. Honeybee losses across New York State this winter, right now, are being reported at 50 percent or more, with some operations reporting as high a loss as 80 percent. Because of the current cold weather, many beekeepers have yet to fully inspect their bees in New York, so the number of hive losses could escalate. To recoup these losses, a purchase of new hives or honeybee packages will have to be made. However, the breeders who sell these items have little or none which to sell. One breeder I spoke to could not deliver a package to me until May 15. That is late for apple pollination. I believe the availability of honeybees for pollination services this spring in New York will be very close, due to the reports still coming in from many area beekeepers. New York State inspection officials, when they inspected my bees for mites, found zero to little mites, both in New York and in Florida in 2005 and 2006, so I do not consider the Colony Collapse Disorder due totally to mites or other pests living within the hives. So what is it, then? Hot, cold, water, drought? We have had all these conditions in the past, but never with all these consequences, and not every beekeeper throughout the country had the same type of conditions, yet everyone is still losing honeybees. This problem does seem not to be in one region and we have to include Canada in our discussion. So what is different? I don't know, but pesticides at sublethal doses need to be looked at. We have chemicals being used today that are different than materials in the past. In France, in May of 2004, the seed treatment GAUCHO was removed for use because number one, and I quote, from the report from Duquesne and Pastor University report, ``The results of the examination on the risks of seed treatment GAUCHO was alarming. The treatment of seeds by GAUCHO is a significant risk to honeybees in several stages of life. The consumption of contaminated pollen can lead to an increased mortality in care-taking bees.'' GAUCHO contains the active ingredient Imiclacloprid. Materials with Imiclacloprid in them, in the last couple years, are labeled for use in just about every fruit and vegetable that I pollinate. Could this be the problem? I don't know. However, in France, the year before GAUCHO was taken off the market one-third of the bees in their country died. They have not reported any significant losses since the removal of that product from the market. I firmly believe we need extensive additional research that confirms what this Colony Collapse Disorder is and any further repercussions that may come from this. We need this now. I know that Penn State University is working hard on this problem, as other honeybee labs across the country are also doing. However, the equipment being used is antiquated. Our industry needs government research dollars now. The economic impact on my operation alone will cost me over $200,000 just to replace the honeybees that I have currently lost. I do not know if I even will have enough bees to cover my pollination contracts in New York. This also has impacted my income from honey production and my pollination service for the reduction from this lack of bees. The United States is looking at the potential loss of the pillar in agriculture. Agriculture in the whole United States is dependent on honeybees. If we cannot survive as a beekeeping industry in this country, then there will be no agriculture community here in this country. If this Colony Collapse Disorder is allowed to continue, we could be looking at 100 percent dependency on foreign countries for feeding the American public. In my opinion, this real possibility is unacceptable. In conclusion, I strongly urge that my government officials, by funding for honeybee research, that we also look at getting made public the crop insurance for beekeepers and finally, I ask for help in recouping our losses from this problem, since we do not have crop insurance. I thank you for your time and support for our industry. [The prepared statement of Mr. Doan appears at the conclusion of the hearing.] Mr. Cardoza. Thank you, Mr. Doan. Mr. Brandi. By the way, I am going to ask the witnesses to make sure that your microphones are directly in front of you so that the transcriptionist can receive your testimony. Thank you. STATEMENT OF GENE BRANDI, LEGISLATIVE CHAIRMAN, CALIFORNIA STATE BEEKEEPERS ASSOCIATION Mr. Brandi. Thank you. Good morning, Chairman Cardoza and distinguished members of the subcommittee. My name is Gene Brandi and I have owned and operated a commercial beekeeping business headquartered in Los Banos, California, for the past 30 years. I serve as the Legislative Chairman of the California State Beekeepers Association and appreciate this opportunity to inform the subcommittee of some severe difficulties facing the beekeeping industry and the effect these problems have on the ability of honey bees to adequately pollinate the Nation's crops. Honey bees are a critical component of the Nation's agricultural economy. The pollination work of honey bees increases the yield and quality of U.S. crops by approximately $15 billion annually, including over $6 billion in California. When I started working with bees in the 1970s, it was not uncommon for winter colony losses to be five percent or less. Since the mid to late 1980s, our Nation's bee industry has been experiencing an increase in winter colony mortality and in recent years the problem has become severe. This winter, beekeepers throughout much of the country are experiencing from 25 to more than 75 percent colony mortality. Approximately 40 percent of my 2,000 colonies are currently dead and this is the greatest winter colony mortality I have ever experienced in my 30 years of beekeeping. I have already lost nearly $60,000 in almond pollination income compared to last year, when I had a more tolerable but still costly 20 percent winter loss. I will also lose at least $20,000 in income from the sale of bulk bees this spring, in addition to an unknown quantity in lost honey production. The cost to restock my 800 dead colonies this year will be approximately $48,000. We are just beginning to restock our dead hives with bees from our surviving colonies and this weakens the surviving colonies for a few weeks until they can rebuild their populations. I will purchase new queen bees and it should take about two months for the newly restocked colonies to build up adequate bee populations to be considered commercially viable. Even though my loss is substantial, other beekeepers throughout the country have suffered much greater losses. Beekeepers who lost over 50 percent of their colonies will have difficulty making up their losses from their own operations, as I plan to do. What is causing colony collapse disorder? There are many problems facing the bee industry today that make it difficult to keep honey bees healthy and CCD may very well be caused by a combination of these and perhaps other factors. Poor nutrition, mites, diseases and exposure to certain pesticides are serious issues that affect the ability of honey bees to survive and thrive. Good nutrition is critical to overall colony health. An adequate supply of nutritious natural pollen and nectar for as much of the year as possible is the best way to keep bees nutritionally healthy. California, in particular, is a difficult place to find good locations where bees can safely and successfully be placed when they are not needed for crop pollination, given the shrinking availability of bee pasture due to urbanization and other issues. This year the lack of rainfall in California will make it especially difficult, since the available sources of natural food will be greatly reduced. Bees that are nutritionally stressed are more susceptible to diseases, parasites and other problems. It has been known for many years that exposure to certain pesticides can kill adult bees. Lesser known is the fact that some pesticides can also kill or deform immature bees, the brood, adversely affect queen and drone viability or may cause bees to lose their member, which prevents them from flying back to the hive. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency currently requires that pesticides be assessed only for adult bee toxicity. It would be very beneficial in trying to resolve the CCD problem if pesticides were also assessed for their ability to cause additional adverse affects on bees. Additionally, it is also important that EPA require enforceable label language on those products that are known to be harmful to honey bees so that they are not applied to blooming plants that are visited by bees. It would be very beneficial for USDA-ARS to have a honey bee toxicologist who could independently test pesticides for acute and residual bee toxicity, the ability to damage brood, effect on queen and drone viability and the potential for causing memory disorders or other sub-lethal adverse effects on bees. The University of California, Davis campus used to be home to one of the premier honey bee research facilities in the Nation, with three Professor of Apiculture conducting studies in honey bee behavior, honey bee physiology and honey bee genetics. The UC Extension Apiculturist, based in Davis, continues to serve the industry well, but he is the only bee person remaining on the campus. Other than that, the UC Davis facility is not currently being used for honey bee research, as there are no longer any active professors of apiculture on the campus. This facility is strategically located in the heart of California's Central Valley, the area of our Nation that uses the most bees for crop pollination. It is also located at the southern end of the Nation's largest bee breeding area which produces nearly one million queen bees annually. If a USDA-ARS honey bee research scientist or scientists could be stationed at UC Davis to establish a research partnership at this facility, it would be a great asset to the beekeeping industry and to the growers who need strong, healthy bee colonies to pollinate their crops. The need for additional bee research is obvious. There are just too many unanswered questions that need to be addressed if the bee industry is to survive and perhaps thrive again. USDA- ARS honey bee research facilities in Beltsville, Baton Rouge, Weslaco and Tucson are conducting some good research at this point, but they need to do much more. These labs could all use additional funding in order to find solutions to our industry's many problems. I appreciate the opportunity to present the information to you today on behalf of the bee industry and thank you for your concern about our industry and for those who depend upon a healthy bee industry to pollinate their crops. [The prepared statement of Mr. Brandi appears at the conclusion of the hearing.] Mr. Cardoza. Thank you, Mr. Brandi. Compelling testimony, as well. Thank you, as well, for providing the committee with samples that you grow. Mr. Adee. STATEMENT OF RICHARD ADEE, LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN, AMERICAN HONEY PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION Mr. Adee. Chairman Cardoza, Members of the Subcommittee, on behalf of the American Honey Producers Association, I want to thank you for the opportunity to testify today about Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD. There is much we do not know about CCD. It is clear, however, that CCD is causing widespread damage to our industry. Beekeepers across the country are reporting collapsing colonies and staggering bee losses. Some are losing 90 percent of their bees. A few examples illustrate the terrible impact that CCD is having on America's beekeepers and our bees. One migratory beekeeper, based in Mississippi, has only 220 of 1200 colonies remaining. A sixth generation Colorado beekeeper has lost 2800 of his 4,000 colonies. A Texas beekeeper, who normally sends 3,000 colonies to pollinate in Stanislaus County, California, could send only 1,000 this season and some of those were too weak to pollinate. CCD also appears to be spreading. Just a few weeks ago, my own bees in California seemed to be strong and healthy. Since then, however, we are finding that these colonies have not been maintaining their populations. Our bees usually produce about 2.7 new bee colonies, called nucs, per colony. This season, the yield is only two nucs per colony. This is unprecedented in our 15 years in California and very disturbing. As you know, CCD affects more than honey production. Over 90 crops depend on bees for pollination, including California almonds, New York apples, Florida oranges, Georgia peaches, North Carolina melons, Tennessee soy beans and Texas cotton. Bee pollination directly adds about $20 billion to U.S. farm output each year and supports about one-third of the human diet. CCD should also be a loud wake-up call to all of us about other serious problems facing American beekeepers. Since the 1960s, the number of U.S. bee colonies has fallen by almost 50 percent. At the same time, the demand for pollination is increasing sharply. It is unclear where we will get the additional bees we need. U.S. bees are also a continued attack for a variety of serious mites and pests, including the Varroa, the Vampire Mite; Tracheal Mites and bacterial and fungal diseases. Pests are also building resistance to the new treatments more quickly than in the past. Beekeepers worry about bee kills caused by the misuse of pesticides and about the affects of new GMO crops and agricultural treatments. Bees and beekeepers face other stresses caused by the almost constant movement of bees for pollination by the need for much more intensive colony management and by unfairly traded imports. We urge Congress to work closely with beekeepers, producers and research on an urgent basis to find the causes of CCD and to develop effective measures to stop it. We must also work together over the long-term to assure the survival and continued health of our vital beekeeping industry. Without these efforts, we worry that our industry will face an even bigger crisis, a problem some are calling ICD, or Industry Collapse Disorder. We have a number of recommendations to address these serious issues. Strong federal support for new honey bee research is essential. Congress should provide at least $1 million in dedicated funding for CCD, which could be allocated to the ARS laboratories in Beltsville and Tucson, and to consider other funding for CCD research at the academic and private sectors. Funding must also be maintained and appropriately increased for the four current ARS honey bee labs. These labs do research that is critical for our industry survival. The central role of bees must also be recognized in applying for environmental laws. Potential harm should be of paramount concern in regulating existing crop chemicals and new ones. At the same time, new treatments for CCD and other disorders need to be approved as quickly as possible, consistent with the protection of the environment and the public health. To help U.S. beekeepers survive recent losses, Congress may want to consider one time loss payments for injured beekeepers. For the longer term, beekeepers should be able to protect themselves against losses of various kinds through Federal crop insurance. Congress has authorized crop insurance and it should strongly urge the USDA to implement such a program for beekeepers on an expedited basis. Finally, in the 2007 Farm Bill, Congress will have other opportunities to help American beekeepers, including continuing and improving the current marketing program for honey. Mr. Chairman, we look forward to working with Congress to end CCD and to assure that our Nation's bee industry is strong. Thank you very much for holding this important hearing. I would be pleased to answer any questions that the members of the subcommittee may have. [The prepared statement of Mr. Adee appears at the conclusion of the hearing.] Mr. Cardoza. Thank you, Mr. Adee. I want to begin the questioning by thanking you for your testimony. In particular, your testimony indicated that USDA's risk management agency had been contacted or contracted for development of a pilot program on honey bee insurance and that that has not happened yet. That was in 2005; it is now 2007. I would encourage USDA to get with the program here and move this program, because clearly it is needed for this industry now, not later. I had a question for you, but we are very short of time because the votes have interceded and a number of the members of the committee have other functions that we have to deal with, other events that we have to be at, meetings we have to intend. So my next question is for the entire panel and please keep your answer as short as possible, but as concise and to the point of the exact problem as you can possibly do. Several of you have indicated and raised concerns over the impact of agricultural pesticides on honey bee populations and that was raised in almost every member's testimony. My experience is that farmers and ranchers are generally very wise users of pesticides, that they follow the labels, that they comply with the standards and still it seems that you think or you suspect that this is having an impact on bee populations. I would like for you each to discuss in greater detail your perspective on pesticide use and the potential impact that this might be having on this problem. Mr. Wenger. Real quickly, I am also a licensed pest control operator, as well as an almond grower and I need to say that whenever we apply anything in the springtime, you are not applying any kind of pesticides that are killing agents, they are just fungicides in the almonds. The only time that we do come up in California against some problems is when we have an Alfalfa Weevil. But through the ag commissioners, we have to notify all beekeepers within a two-mile radius, as long as they register with the county ag commissioner, they have to register with the county ag commissioner, let them know where they are at. We can go in and we can notify all the beekeepers through a phone call that we are going to be applying and tell them when we are going to do that, and we have to do that 48 hours in advance so that they can do something to protect those hives, if there is something to be done there. But also, from what I have been hearing talking to folks, it could be things that are happening during the growing season, especially a lot of the bees that we have in California come from out of state, so it might not be something that is happening while the bees are in the field. Mr. Cardoza. Thank you, Mr. Wenger. Mr. Adee. My experience in South Dakota is it basically follows your assessment of the aerial applicators, pesticide applicators. We have a great bunch of people working good with us, the same way in California, but part of the problem probably is and could be is that some of these pesticides working in combination, by themselves are not harmful to bees, but in combination are lethal and we have seen this with some of the treatments we have had in hive use, and some of the fungicides that they are putting on the trees. Neither one by themselves are not harmful, but in combination we have a lethal product, and so we just need more research. And I think the applicators are doing their best, the beekeepers are doing their best, but we are just having some problems in there. Mr. Cardoza. Mr. Doan, did you have a perspective? Mr. Doan. Yes, sir. Our concern is, at least on my part and when you read the evidence out of France, and I don't think my growers do it on purpose, but there are systemic pesticides that are being used and so they are coming through the plants, the bees are collecting it as pollen, bringing it back to the hive and then it is fed to the young and to the nurse bees. And if you read through what I have presented, you will find that the evidence indicates that there are disrupters of their orientation of all insects and that would lead me to believe that these bees are flying off and just are not able to come back to those hives to find where they belong, and bees are social insects and they die on their own. Mr. Cardoza. You suspect this? We don't have empirical evidence to point to that? Mr. Doan. We don't have here. So far, there have not been any tests done to check for the pesticides in the pollen. The samples have been drawn, but as far as I know, there is no labs to run these tests at currently, or machinery. Mr. Cardoza. Mr. Brandi. Mr. Brandi. Certainly, in the San Joaquin Valley of California, we do have a lot of experience with pesticides and where bees are exposed to pesticides routinely throughout the year, depending upon the crops we happen to be on. But over the past 30 years, the applicators have become much more educated and aware of the value of bees and certainly are cognizant of that. I think it is more of a situation of the fact that we just don't know what certain chemicals will do to bees, sub- lethal or acutely or residually toxic. We used to have a person at UC Riverside that would independently test pesticides for bee toxicity. He retired in the early 1980s and has not been replaced. The fellow from Washington State University was the next independent tester of pesticides as they relate to bees and he retired back in the 1990s. So really, we have been kind of blind here for about the last 10 years and that is why I thought if the USDA had a bee toxicologist that could be hired on, it would be good, because we just don't know about, not only the residual effects of some of these chemicals, but the other sub-lethal effects that have been referred to here today as well. We just don't know. We are guinea pigs in the field. Mr. Cardoza. In my Healthy America Act, a number of members of this committee and a number of congressional members have been very concerned about the lack of research dollars that have been going into agriculture in the last few years. Thank you for highlighting that problem. Clearly, Mr. Wenger, in your testimony, you raised anecdotal correlation to declining research dollars and raising disease and pest problems, and so if you have any further comment, we are almost at the end of our time here, but I will give you the opportunity to comment on that. Mr. Wenger. Well, I just think a lot of the times these problems just creep up on us slowly and we have noticed, even through the land grant universities, as we go into more and more areas of research, it seems like a lot of the basic ag research is where we are losing and today it is not so much that we need the research to how to produce a better almond or how to produce more almonds per acre, but it is these things like this with the bee research. How do we help with the air and the water issues? And so I think anything the Congress can do with the land grant universities especially, to encourage the continuation of support of agricultural research and applied research and the extension agents and how they get that out in the field, it would be very beneficial, not only to agriculture, but all those in America that depend upon American agriculture. Mr. Cardoza. Thank you, Paul. Mr. Etheridge. Mr. Etheridge. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Brandi, let me ask you first. How long has CCD been an issue, that we have noticed it? Mr. Brandi. CCD was only named such just within the past few months, but we have noticed an increase in winter colony die-off for several years, but it has never been as severe as this year. Mr. Etheridge. Let me tell you why I am asking the question, because I am trying to get, and I don't expect you to give me a definitive answer when I ask you. So hopefully, we have got a few scholars in the audience and some of the USDA is still here, because we talked about pesticides a few minutes ago and we have been using pesticides for years, you know, to expand our crops and do other things, so you know, I want to be careful how we go there. I really wonder if it is a combination and I really wish I would have this chance to ask the USDA representative earlier. I wonder if it started regionally as we had droughts. You know, we have had severe droughts in some areas over the last number of years now, and in North Carolina it has been several years since we have had one, fortunately. The Midwest has really been in tough times, and the far west have had some severe droughts and even in some parts of the Southeast. You really wonder if this stress adds to those issues. I know we need to do some research on this, so let me move to another question and raise that. You are a representative of industry and you have been at it a long time, as you have indicated, and as the industry comes together, is there a working relationship across the industry? I know we have beekeepers, but across the industry, of things they are doing to gather data so that we can share that data with our university representatives, as I raised the issue, if you remember, with the first panel, because they have got a lot people out there. We provide a lot of research dollars in a lot of areas, and if the industry is gathering data to share, it would be very helpful to have that data to be available. Or are we gathering data, or was it all anecdotal? Mr. Adee. At the present time, Dr. Bromenshank, up in Montana, has been doing a survey of the industry, just to see the depth of the problem and he has put together some very, very good information and I think it is going to be very useful information. Mr. Etheridge. Do you know when that might be completed? Mr. Adee. I think it is ongoing right now. Parts of it have been completed already. I have seen some of it, yes. Mr. Etheridge. Mr. Chairman, I think it would be helpful to this committee if once that survey is completed and the information has been consolidated, it would be very helpful to us to have that information. Mr. Cardoza. I will certainly make sure we get that. Mr. Etheridge. So we can at least share that. Mr. Cardoza. Yes, we will be certain to get that. Mr. Etheridge. As we make our decision, that would be very helpful. Mr. Cardoza. Yes. Mr. Etheridge. Thank you. Mr. Ellingson, you have been in business, as you have indicated earlier, a long time. Mr. Ellingson. Yes, sir. Mr. Etheridge. You have a seen a lot of ups and downs and a lot of changes. Having grown up on a farm, I have some understanding of that. But I guess my question is, is we went through the mites and other things and I think there is probably not a real good understanding on the part of the general public of how important bees are to productivity. Farmers know. Those people that are actually engaged in the specific commodities know. So hopefully this hearing, Mr. Chairman, will help start that process. I think my bigger question is, compared to the problems that we have faced in the industry, with beekeeping over the years, and you indicated in your earlier testimony the severity of this. How would you classify the current situation as it relates to previous challenges that have been faced by the industry? Mr. Ellingson. I would say we are on the coast of catastrophic, to give a one-word answer. I would also say that, you know, we have gone through this using, you know, Dr. Marla Spivak's hygienic queen selection. You know, can we put in new frames? We have done all the things you are supposed to do right and we are still seeing this problem. Usually, if you have a problem, you know, if your combs are old, you replace them and you get new combs and things work well and hives turn around. If you have got Nosema, you feed Fumidil, those types of things. I have been doing all of these things; we are still having a problem. I asked a fellow beekeeper the other day when I went and bought some--I said, Darryl, what did you do last year when you had this big collapse compared to this year? He said nothing. I did everything. The same way I did it last year, I did it this year. And he has no answer, either, why his bees are okay this year. Mr. Etheridge. I think that is a good one for me to end on, unless someone else disagrees with that. Thank you, sir. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Cardoza. Thank you, Mr. Etheridge. I want to make two points before we close here today. First of all, we have had a discussion on a number of things. We are going to follow this question, this mystery that we have in the bee industry and back to nature to completion. We are going to try and figure out what that is. We are going to advocate for more resources. Government's wheels turn oftentimes too slow. We are going to need private sector and the State departments of agriculture to work with USDA to try and help Congress get to the point where we can help you all deal with this situation. But you have the commitment from this committee that we are going to do everything within our power and follow the leads, like detectives, wherever they may go. It may be, as Mr. Doan indicates, that it could be a pesticide issue; it may not. We don't know that yet and I don't want to implicate anything before we know for certain what the true culprit is. But I think it is imperative that we do find out who that culprit is and what the culprit is, because this industry is too important to the country and to food production for us not to follow the leads and find out what is causing this problem. I thank you all. I thank all of the witnesses for their testimony. I thank the members of the committee for their interest. Under the rules of the committee, the record of today's hearing will remain open for 10 days to receive additional material and supplementary written responses from the witnesses to any questions posed by members of the panel. This hearing of the Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture is hereby adjourned. [Whereupon, at 12:18 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.] [GRAPHICS NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT] Additional Testimony of Gene Brandi of the California State Beekeepers Association I appreciate this opportunity to submit additional testimony on colony collapse disorder to the Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture. Certain pesticides have adversely affected bee health throughout the United States for many years. Additional scientific knowledge about the acute, residual, and sub lethal adverse affects of particular pesticides to honey bees is critical to understanding whether or not these compounds are responsible for any degree of colony collapse disorder. Beginning in 1996, as Chairman of the American Beekeeping Federation's Research and Technical Committee, I served as a member of the EPA State Labeling Issues Panel. The panel consisted primarily of EPA and state pesticide regulators, and was assembled in an effort to improve the bee hazard warning on pesticide labels. It became apparent to me early in these discussions that there was a severe lack of appreciation by EPA with regard to the severity of pesticide problems encountered by honey bees and other pollinators in the United States. After several years and many attempts, in my opinion the bee hazard warnings on pesticide labels were not improved. Pesticide toxicity to honey bees from spray, dust, and certain bait formulations has been apparent for years, but there is also concern that systemic pesticides may be adversely affecting honey bees as well. Independent research by a honey bee toxicologist can determine the effects of topically applied and systemic pesticides to honey bees on various crops. My experience leads me to believe that the effects of pesticides on honey bees are not a high priority with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Given that approximately $15 billion of the U.S. farm economy would not exist without the pollination work of honey bees, and it is clear that the nation's honey bees are at risk from colony collapse disorder, it is vital that EPA increase its ``level of concern'' with regard to pesticides that adversely impact honey bees. I very much appreciate the concern of the House Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture and its attempt to help the bee industry and the scientific community find solutions to the colony collapse disorder problem. Thank you for the opportunity to testify at the hearing and for allowing this additional testimony to be added to the record as well.