The Bee Cause



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 decline.



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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.



Our Campaigns




Take the Pledge to Let It Bee.  You can help Canada’s 40 species of bumble bees by creating bed & breakfast accommodation right in your backyard or even on your balcony. You’ll find they, in turn, will help you with better results in your garden.

“Let It Bee” is among the most ambitious public outreach campaigns in Friends of the Earth’s forty year history.  Stage One of the campaign calls for dramatic changes in commercial landscaping and domestic gardening and lays out the top actions to take. Read the “Let It Bee” Campaign Media Release.





Friends of the Earth is gearing up for its first annual Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count in collaboration with Bumble Bee Water.

If you’ve planted your own Bee & Bee for bumble bees, you’ll want to stay tuned for new details on this citizen science campaign.

Register here for the The Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count Campaign. The first Canadian Bumble Bee Count kicks off June 1 and runs through until July 15, 2016. 



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.  

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