Archived Letter – 1479

Wellington Advertiser
Jim Coneybeare dislikes neonic insecticides used to protect farm crops from pests. In a September 7 letter to editor, he cites recent stories on Global TV and in the Globe and Mail, and two weak research studies (out of hundreds available) to support his case.
He ignores reports by the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists (government bee specialists) on over-winter bee deaths that do not even mention neonics as a significant cause. The same for a conclusion by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) of Health Canada that neonic seed treatments aren’t a critical factor in honeybee mortality.
True, PMRA recently announced a tentative decision to discontinue usage of some neonic seed treatments in the future, but the agency states this is because of neonic effects on aquatic insects, not bees. The key issue is whether this can be done without the replacement products being more harmful to environment – including bees – than the neonics they replace. Unfortunately, that’s now happening with neonic bans in Europe. If there is to be enough food grown for everyone at reasonable cost, then crop pests must be controlled.
Canadian honeybee colony numbers continue to climb according to Statistics Canada data. However, there is concern about wild bees. Interestingly, honeybees, a non-indigenous species, have been identified in several studies as a serious threat to wild bees because of competition for flower pollen and nectar, and the way in which honeybees introduce and spread diseases into/through wild bee populations. Perhaps that’s a subject worth Mr. Coneybeare’s attention.
Terry Daynard
RR 7, Guelph

Terry Daynard