Just two years ago, Dave Schuit’s honeybee hives were thriving and he was planning an expansion of the family business. But in the last year, an astounding 37 million of his bees in 600 hives have died and he doesn’t know if he’ll have any honey harvest at all this year.
Now, he’s joining a growing number of beekeepers across the country pointing the finger of blame at a group of pesticides they say needs to be banned.
For Schuit, last summer’s bee season started out well. “And then when they started planting corn, my bees started dying by the millions,” Schuit told CTV’s Canada AM Friday.
“When they came out of their hives, they formed a blanket (on the ground.) They became paralyzed, their legs couldn’t move, their wings couldn’t move, their tongues were sticking out and the venom was dripping from their backside.”
For Schuit, watching the insects he had long-cared for die in front of him was as hard as it would be for a cattle farmer to watch cows in their death throes.
“It was terrible agony. It was terrible to see my bees dying,” an emotional Schuit said.
Nearly half of Schuit’s operation is now gone, and while some of his bees are surviving, his queens are not faring well. He was once able to keep a queen alive in a hive for several years, but now Schuit says “I can’t keep a queen alive one year.”