The Bee Cause
The Bee Cause calls for a ban on bee harmful pesticides and practices while proposing and delivering practical ways to help bees and wild pollinators.
Bees are critical to food security
Two-thirds of the food crops humans eat everyday require bees and other pollinators to successfully produce a crop. However- the health and productivity of honeybees, bumble bees, and other pollinators are in great peril, and populations are dwindling worldwide.
Although honey bee losses have been linked to multiple factors, a strong and growing body of scientific evidence has shown that the use of neonicotinoid pesticides are a major contributing factor to bee die-offs.
What are Neonicotinoids?
- Neonicotinoids (neonics) are systemic pesticides that are absorbed into plant tissues. Once applied, they spread through the entire plant, including the stems, flowers, pollen and nectar.
- Neonicotinoids can poison bees directly, and even low-level exposure can lead to sub-lethal effects such as altered learning, impaired foraging and immune suppression.
- Neonicotinoids are used on virtually 100% of corn seed, and on a large percentage of soy, wheat, and canola seed.
- Neonicotinoids are applied to crops using seed coatings, sprays, soil drenches and granules.
- Hard to believe, but new neonicotinoid pesticides have been approved since PMRA announced neonicotinoids were under review.
Help To Make The Single Most Effective Change For Bees
Unless Canada changes how new pesticides are approved we will constantly be fighting to have one pesticide or another taken off the market. Our system is broken. It is too close to the pesticide manufacturers and too far from up-to-date scientific methods.
It is hard to believe, but a number of new neonicotinoid pesticides have been approved since Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) announced neonicotinoids were under review. And it did so in the face of mounting scientific evidence and growing public concern.
The scientific approach must be updated by replacing “Risk Assessment” with “Systematic Review” and ending the practice of issuing conditional registrations. The first neonicotinoid pesticides were allowed on the market even though the PMRA recognized the threat to honey bees. They issued registrations on the condition that more studies would be done to understand the impact on bees. For over ten years PMRA ignored its own conditions while millions of bees died agonizing deaths. Unless we change the system, pesticide manufacturers will continue to sell neonics and the next generation of systemic pesticides. Here’s what we need to do.
We need a transparent and participatory process of systematic reviews. Under the present rules, PMRA only tells the public it is about to register a new pesticide after it has made the decision. You and I are welcome to submit comments, but we can see the scientific information only by traveling to Ottawa and reading it in the library. These decisions release poisons across Canada without any public environmental assessment.
Friends of the Earth will be asking everyone to agree to write one letter or email in 2016 to support our campaign to change how pesticides are regulated. Sign up for Friends of the Earth e-newsletter so you will know when to send your letter or email.
Neonicotinoids aren’t just used in agriculture- many plants sold at home garden centres have also been pre-treated with these bee-killing pesticides.
Unfortunately, many gardeners have no idea that they may actually be poisoning pollinators through their efforts to plant bee-friendly gardens.
The 2014 Gardener’s Beware report, released by Friends of the Earth Canada, Friends of the Earth U.S., and the Pesticide Research Institute, found that 51% of plant samples collected big box stores in 18 cities across Canada and the U.S. contained bee-killing neonicotinoids.Click here for the report, press releases and results
What You Can Do:
- Send a Letter to Minister of Health Philpott – let her know we appreciate getting rid of conditional registrations but it’s only a first step.
- Send Our Letters to Garden Centres – ask them to stop selling plants and seeds treated with bee-killing pesticides.
- Find out which Retailers are Acting on Neonicotinoids – labelling their plants or phasing-out neonics altogether.
- Create A Bee Cause Space at Home – learn how to support our pollinators in your own backyard.