Wednesday, December 20, 2017


Today's Waterloo Region Record carries the following article titled "Agency backs off from pesticide ban". While my early morning edition had this article in the Local Section, I could not find it in the on-line version in order to provide a link to it. There has been considerable research over the last five years which some scientists and a number of well known environmental groups believe strongly implicates neonicotinoid pesticides as the culprits in bee dieoffs. Some of those I have previously posted about here in the Advocate.

The Agency mentioned in the title is the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) which is part of Health Canada. Neonicotinoids are nicotine based pesticides "...commonly used by farmers to help keep everything from field crops to fruit orchards free of pests like aphids, spider mites and stink bugs.".The PMRA's interim assessment will bar them from being applied directly to the leaves of crops as well as bar them from use on municipal and residential lawns. They will however be allowed to continue to be used as pre-treatment for seeds prior to planting.

It seems to me that the compromise does two things. Firstly banning them from leaves and lawns is a pretty clear admission that they are harmful, presumably to bees and or perhaps other life forms. Secondly allowing them to be used as a pre-treatment for seeds that are going to be below the ground's surface indicates that they are likely an effective pest management tool and that the PMRA hopes that their use only sub-surface will either eliminate or minimize exposure to bees. Based on both media and scientific reports about the damage caused by neonicotinoids over the last five years, I hope that the PMRA's actions are adequate to do the job.

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