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Pesticide Linked to Bee Deaths to Get Tighter Regulation

Health & Wellness  (tags: health, bees, pesticides, Canada, protection, government, warning )

- 2103 days ago -
The Canadian government is trying to quell growing worries about pesticide dust killing millions of bees by introducing changes for crop farmers, but some beekeepers call it a "Band-Aid" solution.


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Michael O (176)
Saturday September 14, 2013, 9:24 am
Health Canadaís agency responsible for pesticide regulation on Friday released a list of actions it plans to take next spring to try to mitigate troubling losses at apiaries from insecticides used at nearby farms.

Among the planned measures are forcing corn and soybean farmers to follow certain seed-planting practices, improving labels on pesticide and seed packages and requiring seeds to have "dust-reducing" lubricants.

"We have concluded that current agricultural practices related to the use of neonicotinoid treated corn and soybean seed are not sustainable," a press release from Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency states.

Ontario beekeeper Dave Schuit, who lost millions of bees and more than half of his 2,000 hives, said the planned measures are not enough and called for an outright ban of the pesticide.

"Basically I see it as a Band-Aid," said Schuit, who owns Saugeen Country Honey Inc. located in Elmwood, Ont. "[The Pest Management Regulatory Agency] shouldíve done their study before they approved this pesticide."

Since 2009, Quebec beekeepers have suffered pesticide-related issues with their colonies, but concern around the issue heightened after an unusual number of bee deaths near corn fields were reported across Ontario last spring.

Seventy per cent of the dead bees tested came up positive for neonicotinoids, a pesticide used to coat many seeds before planting.

At first, abnormally windy and dry conditions last spring were pinpointed as a contributing factor.

However, the federal government notes it has continued to receive a significant number of mortality reports in corn and soybean growing regions this spring, when there was more normal spring weather. Reports came not only from Ontario and Quebec, but also Manitoba.

Apiarists, like Schuit, describe millions of their bees dying with their tongues sticking out, wings flared and bodies trembling ó signs of acute pesticide poisoning.

As it works now, crop farmers plant their seeds using a device called an air seeder that blows the seed into the ground down a tube. Talcum powder is used to lubricate the seeder, but use of the powder is believed to cause insecticide from the coated seed to get blown into the air and get picked up by foraging bees.

Some research suggests planting on dry, windy days causes the insecticide dust to disperse and that bees can come into contact with it while flying over the field or when the dust settles on nearby flowers or water where they forage.

"They are looking at changing the lubricant to one that would be less likely to produce drift from dust spreading around," says University of Manitoba entomologist Rob Currie of the government proposal.

But Schuit describes the seed lubricant as an attempt to provide a "reflector" protecting bees from the deadly dust, but the problem lies in the chemical itself.

"When the plant grows up, it sucks up the water and the pesticide [on the seed]," said Schuit. "So, the whole plant is toxic. When the bees take the pollen, they die. The bees are dying because of the pollen."

"It doesnít matter how hard they try to control the dust. Itís in the plant, itís in the pollen. And when itís in the pollen, it gets into the hives."

The Canadian Honey Council, which represents 7,000 beekeepers across the country, called Health Canadaís announcement a "positive step."

"We know neonicotinoids kill bees. Insecticides kill bees. Thatís what they are designed to do," said the councilís executive director, Rod Scarlett. "But itís trying to mitigate the risks and making sure that the science behind any decisions that are made is clear science and is irrefutable."

Late last year, a two-year ban across the European Union on some neonicotinoid chemicals linked to bee deaths came into effect. However, earlier this week, the U.K. government opposed the ban, saying thereís not enough evidence of the risks to pollinators to justify the ban.

Around the world, beekeepers are struggling with unacceptably high deaths of the pollinators, hurting an industry relied on not only by consumers for honey but also by crop farmers for pollination.

Canadaís losses last winter reached nearly 29 per cent of the colonies across the country, a death of more than 200,000 colonies. Thatís double the percentage of losses in the previous year.

Manitoba saw the largest losses, with 46.4 per cent of colonies dying, while Ontario had the second highest rate of loss at 37.9 per cent.

Past Member (0)
Saturday September 14, 2013, 2:56 pm
Once again Harper and his goons don't give a damn...thanks Michael

MmAway M (519)
Saturday September 14, 2013, 7:24 pm
Wish "Science" and all of this Spray was never invented. TU Michael!

Patricia H. (440)
Saturday September 14, 2013, 9:56 pm

Jonathan Harper (0)
Sunday September 15, 2013, 2:18 am
save bees

Frances Darcy (92)
Sunday September 15, 2013, 6:15 am

S S (0)
Sunday September 15, 2013, 6:22 am
Thank you.

Nimue Michelle Pendragon Gaze (339)
Sunday September 15, 2013, 7:06 am

Past Member (0)
Sunday September 15, 2013, 9:37 am
No more chemicals and our bees, our human race and our planet.

Elizabeth M (65)
Sunday September 15, 2013, 9:58 am
T"When the plant grows up, it sucks up the water and the pesticide [on the seed]," said Schuit. "So, the whole plant is toxic. When the bees take the pollen, they die. The bees are dying because of the pollen."
So.. there should be an all out ban on neonicotinoids and other pesticides that are killing the bees.
Anyone remember Joni Mitchell, 1970, in her song "Hey farmer put away that DDT now, give me spots on my apples, but leave me the birds and the BEES please". They have known for so many years how bad pesticides are, yet they keep developing new ones.Come on Canada do the right thing!!!!
Thank You Michael for such a good article.


Sheyla V (2)
Sunday September 15, 2013, 10:49 am
Thanks for the information.

Kenneth Davies (0)
Sunday September 15, 2013, 12:37 pm

Winn Adams (179)
Sunday September 15, 2013, 1:21 pm

M B (62)
Sunday September 15, 2013, 1:33 pm
save the bees, we need them to survive !!

Muriel Servaege (53)
Sunday September 15, 2013, 1:48 pm
Noted. Thank you, Michael. The problem is the same everywhere. 2 or 3 years ago, I bought a hive for wild bees, and they seem to be more numerous.

Kate Kenner (215)
Sunday September 15, 2013, 1:51 pm
Pesticides like this are called progress. It took them long enough to do this and even now it's only because of the impact on humans and not because they give fig about the bees.

David C (75)
Sunday September 15, 2013, 2:07 pm

reft h (66)
Sunday September 15, 2013, 3:06 pm
Harper doesn't like scientists.

Nelson B (0)
Sunday September 15, 2013, 3:33 pm
Chemical companies have too much influence with politicians.

Connie O (45)
Sunday September 15, 2013, 5:44 pm
something needs to be done to save the bees

Julie P (154)
Sunday September 15, 2013, 6:17 pm
"wild bees are responsible for 80% or more of the pollination of the world plant life, including food crops and fruit trees...In southern Ontario for example, where bumble bees were once common, it is now thought they are virtually no existent in most locations, while many other species are, or are approaching, the ďthreatenedĒ species category."

I live in a southern Ontario. My lot is about 1/4 acre and I am a good distance from any soy or corn fields and have never used any pesticides, My daughter calls my garden 'The Jungle" as my beds are overflowing with shrubs and perennials, with a focus on native plants. I have a brush pile, some bare ground, piles of mulched leaves and rotting stumps where different kinds of bees can nest. I have blooms from March until November of numerous types of plants for pollen and nectar sources for the bees. I provide shallow dishes of rocks partially filled with water in case they need a drink. If you wander around my property you will see bees all day long (including numerous bumblebees) when it is sunny, and even when cloudy or drizzling. I just had a large portion of my front lawn grass removed and I am planting it with flowering shrubs and perennials for pollinators.

I wish every person who recognizes the bee crisis would do the same. We need to stop poisoning them, provide habitat for all different types of bees, and numerous different sources of nectar and pollen or we are going to be in very serious trouble, not only in terms of food production, but also ecosystem collapse, given approximately 90% of wild plants require pollinators.

DaleLovesOttawa O (198)
Sunday September 15, 2013, 8:19 pm
Certainly governments are aware of the dangers of having a drastically reduced bee population world-wide. Some countries have taken stronger action while others sit on their hands and act as apologists for the corporate world, which is unfortunate for the bee populations. The fact that Monsanto and company are considered more important than the bees who pollinate the crops of the profits is an indication of misplaced priorities. If all the bees die off then governments will kick themselves and wonder what kind of stupidity they practiced to have been so short sighted.

Franshisca Dearmas (89)
Sunday September 15, 2013, 9:37 pm
No more chemicals and pesticides pls. Noted. TY Michael

Charlene Rush (79)
Sunday September 15, 2013, 9:42 pm
It should have happened, yesterday.

Inge B (202)
Monday September 16, 2013, 1:24 am
Ban all the poison


Elisa F (235)
Monday September 16, 2013, 3:11 am
Save the Bees! Thanks, Michael.

Karen Kersten Chestney (112)
Monday September 16, 2013, 3:42 am
Sad. We need bees ----they pollinate and that's important. Besides, who doesn;t like honey?

Ruth C (87)
Monday September 16, 2013, 6:36 am
Continue killing Bees and we are as good as dead!

Lindsay Kemp (6)
Monday September 16, 2013, 10:14 am
Bees simply have to be protected, no question about it!

Rekha S (0)
Thursday September 19, 2013, 5:55 am
Bees are so hardworking and sweet, they need protection right now from this sort of thing.

Sonali G (0)
Sunday December 29, 2013, 4:09 am

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