Friday, March 21, 2014
Ontario Bee Health report is a reason to comment about neonicotinoid pesticides
I hope you are all well, and have your keyboards at hand.
The overdue report (http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/about/beehealthworkinggroupreport.pdf) by the Ontario Bee Health Working Group (http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/about/beehealthworkinggroup.htm) was published on March 19/14. It does not recommend a moratorium on neonicotinoid pesticides.
Neonicotinoids are systemic insecticides that last for a year or more while travelling through soil/water courses. They kills bees, and/or affects their ability to forage, fly, locate themselves and reproduce; they also have bad effects on other pollinators, arthropods and birds
The National Farmers Union has issued a press release which says:
"The recently released Ontario Bee Health Working Group Report is another case of "corporate profits trumping ecological needs," according to National Farmers Union (NFU) Vice President of Policy and Ontario farmer, Ann Slater.
... "This approach will allow chemical and seed companies to continue to sell farmers seed treated with neonicotinoid insecticides but will do little to protect bees or our natural and agricultural ecosystems."
"The report is a missed opportunity to promote the use of more ecological farm practices such as complex crop rotations, as well as to show a real commitment to Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices, which recommends that pesticides be used only when there is a demonstrated pest problem instead of as routine practice," states Slater."
It goes on to say that the National Farmers Union is "glad to see Minister of Agriculture and Food, Hon. Kathleen Wynne's commitment to establish a new Ontario Pollinator Health Working Group with an expanded focus beyond bees. “This indicates some understanding on the part of Premier Wynne that the implications of neonicotinoids have broader ecological implications,” said Eatwell. “I encourage the Premier to give a greater role to ecological and organic farmers along with bee keepers in the new working group and to limit the involvement of Syngenta, Bayer CropScience and organizations representing multinational chemical and seed companies. This new group must be able to recommend actions that put the health of pollinators and our natural and agricultural ecosystems first.” (said NFU vice president for Policy, Karen Eatwell)
I admit that as of the date of this post, I've been too annoyed to read the entire OBHWG report. I've got to get in the right frame of mind to plow through the ... deleted several things #*#*#*#*# ... text. But I'll be writing Agriculture Minister / Premier Wynne and encourage you to read the report and write to say whatever you need to say about this issue. This may be done directly through the Premier's website: http://correspondence.premier.gov.on.ca/en/feedback/default.aspx or email firstname.lastname@example.org or via the Ministry of Agriculture email@example.com or phone 416-326-3074
with definitely send a copy to the National Farmers Union, via Karen Eatwell, NFU Acting Region 3 (Ontario) Coordinator, 519-232-4105, firstname.lastname@example.org
and if you want to bother, a copy to the Debra Sikora, head of the Ontario Bee Health Working Group (OMAFRA)" <Debra.Sikora@ontario.ca>
On the positive side, there are pollinator garden projects going in my city, and everywhere. People care that bees are in trouble. People care about Monarch butterflies crashed population and even the Ontario government is taking milkweed off the noxious weed list.
We've got winter aconite blooming up against the sunny side of the house where the snow melted. I'm going to go outside and enjoy that for a while.