April 21, 2024

Beekeepers and farmers in the city met in a dialogue last Feb. 8 to address the alarming increase in the fatality rate of bees due to excessive pesticides used as agricultural chemicals.

The City Veterinary and Agricultural Office under Dr. Silardo Bested said the dialogue with cut flower and vegetable farmers of Barangay Camp 7 was initiated by the Saint Louis University-Extension Institute for Small Scale Industries Foundation Inc. (SLU-EISSIF) Beekeeping Center in collaboration with the CVAO to thresh out the problem. 

It was attended by Camp 7 barangay officials and Department of Agriculture-Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority.

CVAO Agriculturist II Marcelina Tabelin said during the dialogue, the SLU Beekeeping Center reported experiencing three high bee fatality incidents starting last year.

It was acknowledged this may be caused by excessive pesticides used as agricultural chemicals.

The parties agreed to coordinate the schedules of spraying agricultural chemicals to avoid pasturing of bees.

Tabelin said the dialogue also brought awareness of the effects of excessive use of pesticides among farmers, who were also advised to practice Good Agricultural Practices.

“Pesticides, while effective in controlling pests, have unintended consequences on bees, crucial pollinators for ecosystems and agriculture. Exposure to pesticides can weaken bee immune systems, impair navigation abilities, and disrupt reproductive cycles, leading to decline in their population which also significantly lowers down the yield on honey,” Tabelin said.

“One of the effects brought by excessive use of pesticides as explained by the SLU Beekeeping Center is it drops the population of bees. Pesticides can kill the scout bees or even the entire colony through trophallaxis, which is a process of sharing food such as nectar. Moreover, concerning food safety, contaminated bees can possibly cause contamination to honeys produced,” she added. – Aileen P. Refuerzo