Pesticides Worsening the Honey Bee Crisis

OttawaSierra Club Canada is calling on the Canadian Government to review a pesticide deemed perilously toxic to honey bees and recently declared illegal for sale in the United States.

The pesticide is believed to impair bees’ ability to reproduce. Its approval was fast tracked by Health Canada in 2008 without public consultations for use on fruits and vegetables.
 
The pesticide spirotetramat (manufactured by Bayer CropScience under the trade names Movento and Ultor) was invalidated by a US federal court this past month as a result of a suit filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Xerces Society.
 
“We are asking the government to follow through with its strategy of taking its policy cues from the United States and rescind the registration of this pesticide in Canada,” said John Bennett, Executive Director of Sierra Club Canada. “There is a crisis in bee populations around the world and pesticide use is considered to be one of the key contributing factors.”
 
During the winter of 2008-09, losses in Canadian commercial beekeeping operations exceeded one-third of the number of colonies that were wintered, or more than twice the normal rate of mortality according to the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists.
 
“Health Canada should immediately move to ban this pesticide and review how we evaluate the impact of pesticides and other chemicals on the environment,” said Bennett.
 
This issue will be a topic of discussion by bee-keepers at their annual convention this week. The value of pollination performed by honey bees is commonly measured in the billions of dollars.
 
“The developments around this chemical again bring into question blindly following the US lead on approvals and the practice of accepting a percentage of the proceeds of the sale of a chemical by Health Canada,” said Bennett.
 
View the court decision, and visit www.BeeSafe.org for more information on threats to honey bees.
 

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