Science doesn’t support a ban on neonics

October 17, 2014

From: The Waterloo Region Record

Terry Daynard farms in Wellington County and is a former associate dean, research and innovation, at the Ontario Agricultural College at the University of Guelph. 

In an Oct. 11 Record column (Neonic pesticide ban vital for bee health, as well as our own), some environmental groups called for a ban on use of neonicotinoid insecticides.

They support this with questionable information and claims.

This column provides an alternative perspective.


But to state that neonics are “the primary cause” of increased bee mortality — especially over-winter mortality — is simply not supported by science.


The two-year moratorium in Europe was imposed in December 2013 by politicians, not the science-based European Food Safety Authority, Europe’s equivalent to Health Canada. Australia, with abundant neonic usage but no varroa, has low bee mortality.

The European Union moratorium has only now become effective for autumn-sown crops. This fall, unprotected canola plants (called oilseed rape in Europe) have been attacked extensively by flea beetles. The result has been both large crop losses (45,000 acres in the United Kingdom alone — more than the entire Ontario canola acreage in 2014) and increased insecticide spraying. Many farmers have sprayed three or more times. The UK has authorized emergency spraying of two new pesticide products (ironically, both neonics) to help.

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