Most beekeepers are aware that the use of neonicotinoid pesticides has been temporarily banned in Europe. The driving source of this action was the impact of neonics on the honey bee (and other pollinators).
In Canada, the use of neonicotinoid pesticides has also caused a stir. In Canada, the issue gained considerable public attention in the spring of 2012 when significant honey bee mortality was report coincident with the corn planting season. Following the reports of bee mortality, Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency concluded that…
“An evaluation of the information from the 2012 incidents lead to the conclusion that planting of corn seeds treated with neonicotinoids contributed to the majority of the bee mortalities that occurred in corn growing regions of Ontario and Quebec in Spring 2012, with the likely route of exposure being insecticide contaminated dust generated during the planting of treated corn seed. The unusual weather conditions in the spring of 2012 were also thought to be a contributing factor.”
In the spring of 2013, the Agency continued to receive reports of honey bee mortality during the spring corn planting season. Again, this triggered an investigation. The agency recently released their report on the 2013 incidents.
In the 2012 event, unusual spring weather was thought to be a contributing factor. In the spring of 2013, however, the weather was more typical and yet the mortality events still happened. From this, the Agency concludes that “the information evaluated to date, suggest that clothianidin and/or thiamethoxam contributed to many of the 2013 bee losses.” The two chemicals mentioned are types of neonicotinoids.
Furthermore, the Agency states that “the PMRA has concluded that current agricultural practices related to the use of neonicotinoid treated corn and soybean seed are not sustainable.”
The report concludes…“The PMRA intends to implement additional protective measures for corn and soybean production, and issued a Notice of Intent on September 13, 2013 outlining action to protect bees from exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides with a closing date for public comment of December 12, 2013.”
We note with interest the actions are neighbors to the north are taking to protect the honey bees.