Monday, 5 May, 2014: Several recently published studies have reported that some fungicides may interact with other agrochemicals in ways that make them harmful to bees. Initial reports were sketchy. In their May 1st issue, Good Fruit Grower published a short article that I wrote expressing concern about the need for better information on exactly which fungicides might contribute to bee mortality. (See pages 43-44 at http://read.dmtmag.com/i/298602).
Now David Biddinger and Kathleen Demchak at Penn State have responded with an excellent article detailing what is currently known about interactions of various pesticides (including fungicides) with various species of bees. Check out their article at this link.
At Cornell, Bryan Danforth and his students are attempting to assess the abundance and importance of native pollinator species in agriculture. Check out their project at http://www.northeastpollinatorpartnership.org.
Understanding how pesticides and other ag practices impact orchard ecology should enable us to do a better job of reducing negative impacts from the pesticides that are needed to protect crops from insects and diseases.