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Organic Consumers Association

Bees Dying by the Millions in Canada

ELMWOOD - Local beekeepers are finding millions of their bees dead just after corn was planted here in the last few weeks. Dave Schuit, who has a honey operation in Elmwood, lost 600 hives, a total of 37 million bees.

“Once the corn started to get planted our bees died by the millions,” Schuit said. He and many others, including the European Union, are pointing the finger at a class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids, manufactured by Bayer CropScience Inc. used in planting corn and some other crops. The European Union just recently voted to ban these insecticides for two years, beginning December 1, 2013, to be able to study how it relates to the large bee kill they are experiencing there also.

Local grower Nathan Carey from the Neustadt, and National Farmers Union Local 344 member, says he noticed this spring the lack of bees and bumblebees on his farm. He believes that there is a strong connection between the insecticide use and the death of pollinators.

“I feel like we all have something at stake with this issue,” he said. He is organizing a public workshop and panel discussion about this problem at his farm June 22 at 10 a.m. He hopes that all interested parties can get together and talk about the reason bees, the prime pollinators of so any different plant species, are dying.

At the farm of Gary Kenny, south west of Hanover, eight of the 10 hives he kept for a beekeeper out of Kincardine, died this spring just after corn was planted in neighbouring fields.

What seems to be deadly to bees is that the neonicotinoid pesticides are coating corn seed and with the use of new air seeders, are blowing the pesticide dust into the air when planted. The death of millions of pollinators was looked at by American Purdue University. They found that, “Bees exhibited neurotoxic symptoms, analysis of dead bees revealed traces of thiamethoxam/clothianidin in each case. Seed treatments of field crops (primarily corn) are the only major source of these compounds.


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