Ontario beekeepers moved to sue two pesticide manufacturers this week for $450 million, saying the chemicals have decimated their honey bee populations.
According to CBC News
, Sun Parlor Honey and Munro Honey — two of the province's largest honey producers — filed the suit against Bayer Cropscience and Syngenta Canada in Ontario Superior Court on Tuesday.
The suit claims the pesticide companies were negligent in the design, manufacture, and use of neonicotinoid pesticides — which are neurotoxins to insects — specifically on corn, soybean, and canola-seed crops to manage aphids.
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The Globe and Mail reported
that Sun Parlor alleges neonic-related bee deaths have affected nearly 2,000 of its hives. This led to a loss of nearly 140,000 pounds of honey over seven years. More than $2 million in losses were incurred in total, it stated.
The chemical companies did not comment on the new suit, but have said in the past that honeybees are not affected by neonics if the pesticides are used correctly.
Neonics are temporarily banned in Europe, and Health Canada is reassessing them. The government of Ontario has said it plans to regulate the use of neonics soon.
The past six years have seen increased honey bee losses, with 30 percent averaged annually.
Ernesto Guzman, a honey bee scientist at Ontario’s University of Guelph, said that "Neonic poisoning is, of course, a factor, but it is not the only factor" in the increase of bee deaths.
"The mites have contributed to winter loss, there’s no debate about that," said Tom Congdon, whose grandfather started Sun Parlor Honey nearly 100 years ago.
"But it’s nothing compared to what we’ve been seeing. All summer long we’re fighting to keep the colonies in shape. [Neonics] just weaken them down and make them susceptible to other pathogens."
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