Numerous previous studies have associated the harmful effects of pesticides to bee deaths. A new study by the Canadian Senate Committee has placed the blame firmly on neonicotinoids. The report advises Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) to quickly complete its re-evaluation of neonicotinoid pesticides. Neonicotinoids have been approved for use in Canada for 10 years, but the PMRA is in the process of re-examining their use and the Senate committee has advised further investigation into the role of pesticide.
The report outlines nine specific recommendations to improve bee health in Canada, including:
Allowing the import of “bee packages” used to start colonies from other countries, such as the United States.
Accelerate the conditional registration process in order to reduce the current number of conditional registrations granted to neonicotinoid active ingredients.
Continue monitoring pollinator mortality during the spring of 2015 to determine effectiveness of protective measured adopted for the 2014 planting seasons.
Increasing the amount and duration of research funding in order to conduct long-term research into the preservation of pollinator health.
Improve management practices of hobbyist beekeepers and growers while minimizing chemical product use and ensuring the availability of untreated seeds.
Improve pollinator habitat via initiatives such as the planting of selected wild flowering plants on median strips and highway shoulders, and other areas.
Grassroot environmental organizations have criticized the report as mirroring the recently released White House Pollinator Task force recommendations; however, the Canada report puts more of an emphasis on addressing concerns regarding neonicotinoid insecticides. It also falls short by failing to suspend the use of these chemicals, although dozens of studies exist documenting the harmful impact of these pesticides.