A new report says a record-breaking 58 per cent of Ontario’s bee colonies failed to make it through the winter, increasing the political pressure to curb the use of neoticinitoid insecticides as seed treatments.
Overwinter losses were 28.6 per cent in 2012-13 and 15 per cent in 2011-12.
“This level of winter loss is considered a high winter loss for most Canadian bee keepers,” says the report by the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturalists.
It says the average overwintering loss is 25 per cent, and it blames both a harsh winter and the use of neoticinitoids.
The association notes that a scientific review of 800 reports done for the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides blames neonics for a wide range of problems.
“The effects of exposure to neonics range from instant and lethal to chronic,” says the report.
“Even long-term exposure at low levels can be harmful.”
Health Canada’s Pest Management Review Agency has called the way neonics have bee used “unsustainable” and has called for changes, such as measures to reduce neonic dust escaping during corn planting.
A recent paper by Nigel Raine of the University of Guelph has concluded that neonics have adverse effects on bees.
A University of Saskatchewan study found that neonics reduce insect populations in wetlands and that has an adverse impact on birds’ feed.