By: Julianna van Adrichem
Published: Organic Council of Ontario, July 18, 2013
 

Photo Credit: FarmStart

Ontario is bringing together a group of experts to provide advice on how to prevent bee mortalities.

According to a press release from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food from July 9, 2013, “the Bee Health Working Group will be comprised of beekeepers, farmers, agri-business representatives, scientists, and staff from both federal and provincial government agencies. Drawing on a broad range of expertise, the working group will provide recommendations on how to mitigate the potential risk to honey bees from exposure to neonicotinoid — a pesticide used to treat corn and soybean seed. The working group will meet for the first time this month and provide its recommendations by spring 2014.”

Kathleen Wynne, the Premier and Minister of Agriculture and Food commented: “The creation of this working group is a vital step in our efforts to protect the environment and Ontario’s agri-food sector. We look forward to working together to find solutions that will support a thriving, healthy bee population that will in turn support a strong, successful agri-food sector.”

The development of this working group is following reports of millions of bee mortalities throughout more than 230 Ontario bee yard locations. Over the past decade populations of honey bees and other pollinators have been in decline worldwide (1). There is mounting scientific evidence that supports the observations that neonicotinoids are connected with bee colony collapse (2; 3; 4;5). In the European Union there is now a two-year moratorium on three types of Neonicotinoids (10). Furthermore, the recent report provided by the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) confirms the connection between the use of neonicotinoids and damage to Ontario’s beekeeping industry.

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