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Bee keepers in Vietnam support ecological engineering for pest management

The “Conference of Ecological Engineering and Honey Bee Conservation”  in My Tho was jointly organized by the Southern Regional Plant Protection Center and Vietnam Beekeepers’ Association (VBA) to discuss how ecological engineering would benefit bee keeping

by Moni on May 14, 2013

by
Ho Van Chien, Southern Regional Plant Protection Center, Long Ding, Vietnam,
Monina Escalada, Visayas State Unversity, Baybay, Leyte, Philippines, and
K. L. Heong, International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, Philippines

Conference backdrop

The “Conference of Ecological Engineering and Honey Bee Conservation”  in My Tho was jointly organized by the Southern Regional Plant Protection Center and Vietnam Beekeepers’ Association (VBA) to discuss how ecological engineering would benefit bee keeping.  Rice ecosystems are richly endowed with arthropods that provide valuable regulatory services such as biological control and pollination to benefit humans.  In 2009 ecological engineering approaches were introduced into Vietnam to prevent planthopper outbreaks. In the pilot sites, rice landscapes were transformed with bunds filled with nectar rich flowers to provide food for parasitoids.  The flowers were also frequently visited by bees and some bee keepers in the area claimed that they had increased honey production.

On 8 March 2012 Tien Giang province launched the “Women in Ecological Engineering” program  to encourage women’s participation.  Participating women farmers reduced their insecticide use by 22% .

 

The Conference was opened by the chair of Tien Giang province’s Peoples’ Committee, Dr. Nguyen Van Khang. He has been very supportive of ecological engineering and had organized the launching of the EE Initiative in  September 2010 by vice minister Dr Bui Ba Bong.  Dr Khang welcomes this new initiative to link up with bee keepers as pollination and biological control are key ecosystem services for sustainable agriculture.

 

The President of the VBA, Dr Dinh Quyet Tam, said Vietnam exports about 35,000 metric tons of honey annually valued at about US$ 140 million.  In addition the pollination service bees provide is worth at least US$ 1 billion annually. Similar to bee colonies on the decline in Europe and USA, bee colonies are also being threatened by the colony collapse disorder (CCD) and the increasing use of neonicotinoids in agriculture is a major concern.  The use of 3 neonicotinoids has been suspended in Europe in order to protect bees.  Bee conservation and ecological engineering has similar objectives and there are lots of opportunities for cooperation.

: Some rare bee species of Britain. A. scabious bee. B. tormentil mining bee. C. colletes bee. D. large garden bumblebee. Pictures from http://goo.gl/wXjbc

Meanwhile significant decline in bee colonies are being reported in the US, as 31% of the colonies have died out. Many bee keepers report a 50% decline in their bees.  A report on the bee decline has been prepared by USDA.  SCIENCE recently published an article questioning the role of neonics in food security as claimed by proponents (Stokstad 2013).  In Britain the extinction of some rarer bee species continues to be threatened.

 

 

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