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HOME En - Fr - Es - De English Canada: another evidence of systemic pesticides' effects on the hives

Canada: another evidence of systemic pesticides' effects on the hives

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April 10, 2013 spagnola 18x12 italiana 18x12

2013 manifesto crsadIn 2012, Health Canada's Pest Management Agency (PMRA) has issued a report (PDF English - French) about the massive honey bee deaths during and as a consequence of the corn seeds' treatment with neonicotinoids. During the 2012 spring and summer, the Agency has received a high number of claims about hives mortality in the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario. Most reports came from southern Ontario, with 40 beekeepers and 240 apiaries involved.

To evaluate the role of pesticides, the PMRA, with support of the Ministry of Environment (MOE) and the Ministry of Agriculture (OMAFRA), has performed sampling, analysis and observations on bee health and agricultural activities in the proximity of the affected apiaries.

Beekeepers have reported deaths of varying size and virulence with symptoms of exposure to pesticides (spasms, inability to fly, proboscis extended). The strongest colonies were those experiencing the most obvious symptoms, with the largest number of dead and dying bees, especially bees that forage for pollen. The following monitoring of colonies during the season highlighted the lack of production of honey and the impossibility for the colony to recover. There were multiple cases of orphanhood and / or inadequate queen-bee egg deposition.

In 2012, in particular in Ontario, a warmer and drier spring than usual has been recorded. The corn was sown early, the colonies had wintered in a good way and begun to develop early. The information provided by OMAFRA and Agricorp confirms a correlation between bee mortality and the position of the corn crop in Ontario. Even in Quebec, bee deaths occurred in an area with increasing corn cultivation.

Dead bee samples were analyzed and the molecule clothianidin has been detected in about 70% of Ontario samples; in about 80% of cases clothianidin and thiamethoxam were detected in the samples coming from Quebec. Other pesticides were detected in some dead bee samples, including acetamiprid, coumaphos, fluvalinate, permethrin, phosmet and thiabendazole. However, these pesticides were detected only in a small number of samples or in localized areas, while clothianidin was detected in all areas affected by bee mortalities. Phosmet has been detected at high levels in samples collected near the apple orchards where phosmet is commonly used, but it is considered unlikely that these pesticides would have significantly contributed to the honey bee decline.

The "best practices" that should be made to protect bees have been formulated and publicized.