Dave Schuit, who runs a honey operation in Elmwood, Ontario says he's lost more than 600 hives -- that's more than 37 million bees -- in 2012 alone.
"This is how they die,” Schuit explained to The Toronto Star, pointing with a broad hand to a bee that’s gone haywire, flailing erratically in the grass. “Their tongue sticks out and the venom drips out their backside.”
Sounds kinda like the mad cow disease of the honeybee.
So, what is killing them? Apparently something called neonicotinoids insecticides: thiamethoxam, imidacloprid and clothianidin.
And what do we use these insecticides for? To control pests/bugs on oilseed crops, all maize crops, and any cereal crops sown between January and June. Neonicotinoid seed treatments are used in winter and spring oilseed rape (OSR) to control cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB), flea beetle, peach-potato aphid (which transmits turnip yellows virus (TuYV)) and turnip sawfly. Unfortunately the "good bugs" the bees, also get targeted in the sweep and destroy mission to eliminate the pests by use of pesticides.
I have searched on alternatives to the use of these pesticides on crops, but not much is available.
Why are bees and animal pollination important to the world?
Around 90 agricultural crops - representing one third of global food production volume - are dependent to some extent on animal pollination. Foods and beverages produced with the help of animal pollinators include almonds, apples, blueberries, coffee, melons and soybeans.
The problem was so concerning in Europe that effective December 1, 2013, they banned the production and use of these insecticides for a two year period.
Now the manufacturers of this pesticide, Bayer and Syngenta are suing the government for banning the pesticide to save the bee.
Why? Money of course.
In 2012, Syngenta’s seed care sales increased and exceeded 1.1 billion USD. Thiamethoxam is a key substance in this financial result.
Now that stings......