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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Beekeepers running out of time

Letter to London Free Press Aug 9 2014 

Beekeepers running out of time 

I am pleased to see an editorial comment on the pollinator crisis (Bee health worth million-dollar study, Aug. 5). Fred Rinne brings out some important points, for example that the topic needs more attention and humans are “messing with” the cycle of life. He also states that the federal government plans to spend more than $1million over a four-year period to study this issue. This may give the appearance that something is being done, however, many science-based studies have taken place over the past several years. Health Canada has come out with the report “Evaluation of Canadian Bee Mortalities that Coincided with Corn Planting” in Spring 2012, and issued the notice of intent, “Action to Protect Bees from Exposure to Neonicotinoid Pesticides” on Sept. 13, 2013. In this report, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency “has determined that current agricultural practices related to the use of neonicotinoid treated corn and soybean seeds are affecting the environment due to their impacts on bees and other pollinators.” Many other studies have been conducted through reputable institutions, including the University of Guelph, and our Ontario Bee Health Work Group, led by entomologist Tracy Baute, have shown that there are definite linkages between decline of the honey bees (and possibly other pollinators) and the use of pesticides, such as clothianidin and others. Perhaps the time for study is over, and a time for concrete action can begin. The governments should be listening more to the beekeepers and working much more closely with Ontario Beekeepers Association, rather than just throwing another study at this situation stretching over a long period of time. Time is something that the bees don’t have nor do the beekeepers, or fruit and vegetable growers. 

Margo Does 

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