Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Good winter for bees

It was a good winter for bee colonies, reports the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists.

Ontario colony losses were 18 per cent, slightly higher than the Canadian average of 17 per cent.

Mark Brock, chairman of the Ontario Grain Growers Association, said the loss rate was less than half the rate the year before.

Losses range from 12 to 30 per cent, depending on the severity of winter weather.

Brock noted that the higher survival rate happened before Ontario’s restrictions on neonicitinoid seed-treatment pesticides came into force.

The Grain Growers of Ontario have lobbied vigorously against the restrictions, saying they are not based on sound science. They lost court challenges, so the restrictions that get tighter each year, remain in force.

One of the restrictions requires farmers to prove they have a threat of insects in their fields before they are approved to buy treated seed.

Unlike overwintering rates, there are no reliable rates of colony losses due to neonicitinoids. But pesticides, even though they are highly valuable to society, are not politically correct.