Archives for posts with tag: pesticides

credit to borianag (Flickr) Licensed under Creative Commons license.

I like to envision the bees in my hives embracing and high-fiving each other following the news from the Government of Ontario yesterday. The province is committed to reducing neonicotinoid usage by 80% by the year 2017 and aim to reduce winter honeybee mortality rates to 15% by 2020!

In a news release put out yesterday by the Government of Ontario, three points are clearly outlined. The province’s approach will help keep crops healthy and improve the environment by:

  • Working towards a goal of 80 per cent reduction in the number of acres planted with neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seed by 2017
  • Reducing the over-winter honeybee mortality rate to 15 per cent by 2020
  • Establishing a comprehensive Pollinator Health Action Plan

To put this into perspective, the honeybee mortality rate over the 2013-2014 winter was 58%. We (collectively) lost more than half of Ontario’s honeybees last winter. Seeing that number reduced to 15% in the next 5 years would be astounding. Tibor Szabo, President of the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association, has this to say: “The OBA appreciates the government’s recognition that the prophylactic use of neonicotinoid-coated seed on Ontario’s corn and soy crops is unwarranted and unacceptable.

The news of this neonicotinoid reduction is great news for all beekeepers, but it’s also excellent news for anyone who eats food. I.e. everyone. Reducing neonics in our food means less systemic pesticide usage in foods that we all consume.

While it would be nice to see neonicotinoids banned completely, this is definitely a step in the right direction. I speak on behalf of all pollinators everywhere when I say: “Hip hip hooray!”

Honeybee on flower

There’s a new petition out today that has been started by the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association. Please take a moment to sign the petition and ask Ontario Premiere, Kathleen Wynne, to ban the use of neonicotinoid pesticides.

Please join this campaign

 

A hand gardening flowers

If you’re the type of person who wants to do your part to help honeybees, but you’re not ready to keep bees yourself, then you can always plant a bee-friendly garden in your yard.

WikiHow has posted a good article with a list of different ways that you can attract honeybees.

I received an email last week from my local association secretary. He has asked to pass along a message for anyone experiencing dead bees in their apiary.

If you know of any beekeepers that are experiencing honeybee mortality with bees dying in front of the hive entrance or on the ground in front of colonies, it may be due to instances of pesticide use in your area. It is quite important that all instances of this type of hive loss are documented. There have been some reports of these losses early this season. The Ministry of Environment and the Pest Management Regulatory Agency are looking into these reports. The federal PMRA is interested in having all incidents documented.

If you are experiencing such losses in your colonies, please keep a detailed log of the losses and contact your local apiary inspector. If you are in Ontario, here is a list of local bee inspectors. If you’re outside Ontario, please contact your beekeeping association for contact information related to hive inspections.