Thiel: Bee deaths not caused by seed coating

August 4, 2014

From: Calgary Herald

By Paul Thiel, Calgary Herald

In Rebuttal

Re: “A stinging report,” Editorial, July 26.

As a leading manufacturer of neonicotinoid products to protect crops in agriculture, we felt the need to respond to the misinformation included in your recent editorial on bees. We agree that bee health is an important issue, however your editorial fails to provide an objective assessment of what is happening in Alberta, much less in Canada.

While bee health is a concern for agriculture and beekeepers alike, the extent of the problem is grossly misrepresented. Your article chose to ignore a number of critical facts, including the growth of bee numbers in Canada, the improved management practices made by Canadian bee keepers and the compelling data on seed treatments as a valuable tool in agriculture.

The recent Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists (CAPA) report indicated bee losses of 18.5 per cent in Alberta, a figure that rivals the lowest winter loss rates in recent memory and is very close to the 15 per cent losses that most beekeepers consider as natural winter mortality. Looking at trends, Alberta has decreased its bee winterkill rates by 50 per cent, going from 30 to 40 per cent from 2007-2010 down to 15 to 24 per cent in the last four years. Medhat Nasr, Alberta’s provincial apiculturist, attributes the decrease to “the use of Varroa mite control products and the adoption of effective bee surveillance and management systems.” The reasons for the high losses reported in Ontario remain unclear. A proportion of Ontario beekeepers had a much lower level of mortality (nine to 22 per cent) when compared to the provincial average. The CAPA report indicated that further analysis will be conducted by the Ontario government for the 2013-14 wintering data.

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