Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 21:20 EDT

Pesticide industry supports measures to protect bees, pushes for broader look at bee health problems

December 12, 2013

OTTAWA, Dec. 12, 2013 /CNW/ – CropLife Canada responded to the Pest
Management Regulatory Agency’s (PMRA) request for public input on its
Notice of Intent regarding bees and neonicotinoid pesticides. The
national trade association supports the concrete steps PMRA has
outlined for the 2014 planting season, but has underscored the
importance of finding science-based solutions rather than capitulating
to pressure created by activist groups with known anti-farm agendas.

“Neonicotinoid pesticides help farmers protect their crops from insect
attacks at the vulnerable seed and seedling stages,” said Pierre
Petelle, vice president of chemistry at CropLife Canada. “Coating the
seed means less pesticide is used and beneficial insects like bees are
less much less likely to come into contact with the insecticide.”

The CropLife Canada submission, which is available for review at www.croplife.ca, builds on the industry’s ongoing commitment to work collaboratively to
find ways of reducing unintended exposure to neonicotinoid dust. Other
examples of the industry’s actions include:

        --  Improved labeling of treated seeds
        --  Introduction of best management practices designed to help
            farmers reduce the amount of dust created during planting
        --  Development of a dust-reducing lubricant and commitment to work
            with agriculture partners to make sure that the new product is
            used in 2014 seeding operations
        --  Improved information-sharing with farmers and beekeepers
        --  Support for research initiatives, including a five-year
            national bee disease study

“We remain supportive of the efforts being undertaken to reduce
unintended exposure of bees to neonicotinoids, but we are gravely
concerned about the fact that the various other threats to bee health
are being overlooked,” Petelle said.

Also being overlooked are the many facts that paint a more detailed
picture of the true state of bee health in Canada.

For example, bee health in Western Canada is strong despite the fact
that there is approximately 20 million acres of canola planted every
year, the majority of which has been treated with neonicotinoids.
Additionally, honeybee colony numbers in both Ontario and Quebec have
steadily increased since neonicotinoids were introduced approximately
10 years ago.

“Bee health is complex and there are several other factors can
contribute to the kinds of unusual losses that a small number of
beekeepers in very specific regions have experienced,” Petelle said.
“Getting to the bottom of this situation is of paramount importance,
but we have to look for solutions that are rooted in science if we
expect them to have a meaningful impact.”

SOURCE CropLife Canada

Source: PR Newswire