Bee populations more robust than ever

October 13, 2014

From: Waterloo Region Record/Letter to the Editor

Pierre Petelle/Vice-president of chemistry, CropLife Canada

Watchdog warns of crisis over bees, air pollution — Oct. 8 

Gord Miller, the environmental commissioner of Ontario, said this week bees are the canary in the coal mine. If that is indeed the case, then he might want to rethink the alarm bell he raised in his new report.

Contrary to what the commissioner states, bee populations in this country have been growing for close to two decades and are currently more robust than ever. In Ontario, specifically, the honey bee population has actually increased 37 per cent since 2003. This according to Statistics Canada, which has been watching bee population numbers since the 1920s.

The environmental commissioner is also mistaken in his attempts to dismiss the benefits of neonicotinoid seed treatment technology. A recent study from the Conference Board of Canada estimated that farmers could lose up to $630 million a year if they did not have access to neonicotinoid seed treatments.

It is evident that the environmental commissioner did not seek input from farmers who actually use the technology because if he did, he would have heard about the many benefits it offers. Neonicotinoid seed treatments help farmers protect their crops in a more targeted way, as seeds are coated and planted directly into the ground. This means that beneficial insects, such as bees, are much less likely to come into contact with the insecticide.

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