[permaculture] Ontario first in North America to curb bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides | Toronto Star

Lawrence London lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Tue Jun 9 22:36:59 EDT 2015

Ontario first in North America to curb bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides
Farmers and the province have agreed to rules for reduction that begins
July 1
Neonicotinoid pesticides are blamed for hindering the ability of bees and
other pollinator species, including birds and butterflies, to navigate,
feed, or reproduce. The chemical is also blamed for making pollinators more
susceptible to illness.

Ontario is moving to take the sting out of pesticides that are killing bees.

On July 1, the province will become the first jurisdiction in North America
to begin reducing the number of acres planted with neonicotinoid
corn and soybean seeds.

Agriculture Minister Jeff Leal said by 2017, the new rules
should curb the acreage planted with such seeds by 80 per cent.

“Farmers are environmental stewards of their land and this regulation will
enable our province’s farmers to strengthen their approach to protecting
their crops,” Leal said in a statement Tuesday.

The pesticide hinders the ability of bees — and 400 other pollinator
species like birds and butterflies — to navigate, feed, or reproduce. It’s
also blamed for making them more susceptible to illness.

In the winter
of 2013-14, Ontario beekeepers lost a staggering 58 per cent of the
province’s honey bees — well above the 15 per cent depletion considered

As of July, new rules will be in place to track the sale and use of
neonicotinoid-treated seeds.

For next year’s planting season, farmers will be allowed to use the seeds
on up to 50 per cent of their corn and soybean fields with exceptions being
granted only to those who can provide evidence of pest problems.

In 2017, all farmers wanting to use any neonicotinoid-treated seeds will
have to prove they have pests.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Glen Murray said the government
must take “necessary action to protect these vitally important species and
the ecosystems
they support from the effects of neurotoxic neonicotinoids.”

Ontario Federation of Agriculture president Don McCabe said farmers “worked
closely” with the province
to ensure the rules work for everyone.

“The OFA supports the need for a complete pollinator policy (and) . . .
will continue to work with the government toward the successful
implementation of this regulation, keeping the concerns of farmers top of
mind as part of a pollinator strategy,” said McCabe.

Tibor Szabo, president of the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association, said “while
the new regs may not be perfect, in the end, the Ontario government did the
right thing.”

“Our bees continue to die from the overuse of neonicotinoids,” said Szabo.

“We hope Ontario farmers will now take it on themselves to go beyond 50 per
cent reduction and only use neonicotinoids when there’s a real need to
control pests.”

The phase-out will be a challenge — almost all the corn seed and 60 per
cent of soybean seed sold in Ontario is currently treated with the

CropLife Canada, a manufacturer of neonicotinoids, has maintained their
product is “one of the safest insecticides ever developed.”

Last year, two major beekeeping firms launched a $450-million class-action
lawsuit against two pesticide manufacturers, alleging their products have
decimated bee colonies.

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