With snow and ice blanketing the ground and the holiday season in full swing, you might think that this is an unusual time to be considering the plight of the bee populations of the earth. But they need our help now and it seems the perfect time to learn what you can do to aid these little creatures that are so important to our food supply and gardens.
For many years, the Ontario honeybee population has been steadily declining and millions of bees have been dying around the world. It’s decimating the beekeepers and many reasons for these die-offs have been tossed around, including mites and pesticide use.
But, in the last few years, the predominant culprit seems to be a family of pesticides called neonicotinoids. These pesticides have only become popular in the last two decades and are being used agriculturally as seed treatments, by homeowners for grub control and foliar sprays on apples and pears. They are systemic pesticides which means that they are taken up by the plant and transported to all the tissues ( leaves, flowers, roots and stems as well as pollen and nectar) rather than remaining on the surface.
Beekeepers and bee researchers are becoming increasingly concerned that these pesticides may be connected to current bee declines. Several European countries have banned the use of some neonicotinoids for specific crops. The Ontario Beekeepers Association has launched a petition to get the province to ban the pesticide until more research is undergone. This only seems prudent to most people. The Sierra Club Canada has started a campaign called “Save The Bees.”
On September 12th, 2013, the Pest Management Regulation Agency (PMRA) quietly posted a release that read, “HealthCanada’s PMRA has determined that current agricultural practices related to the use of neonicotinoid treated corn and soybean seed are affecting the environment due to their impacts on bees and other pollinators.”
I think that the least we could do for these creatures that work so tirelessly for us and are so important to our food supply and gardens and ask nothing in return is to place a moratorium on this class of pesticide until further research is conducted as to their safety to our environment.
Let your government know that you are siding with the bees.