by Amber

Neonic Pesticides Lawsuit: Canadian Beekeepers Seek Damages

Damages and losses sought from Bayer and Syngenta tally some $450 million CAD. It’s about time someone did something besides talk and file reports on the plight of bees in the face of neonictinoid pesticides. A class action lawsuit was filed on Sept. 2nd in London, Ontario on behalf of all Canadian beekeepers, including Canada’s largest producers – Sun Parlor Honey Ltd., and Munro Honey.

The legal action took place thanks to new information recently released from several parties pinpointing not just the instant death of scads of bees from planting dust, but delayed disease and colony collapse due to hives infested with neonic chemicals. Yes, researchers have proven that non-lethal doses of imidacloprid, clothinandin, and other neonictinoids eventually cause winter bee deaths and hive abandonment. Health Canada tested bees that died over the winter of 2013 and found that 70% of them contained neonics. Not surprising since these are systemic pesticides. Bees don’t have to be present when treated see is planted, or spray is still present in a wet state is on the leaves or blooms.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of all Canadian beekeepers by honey producers Sun Parlor Honey Ltd. and Munro Honey alleges that Bayer Cropscience Inc. and Syngenta Canada Inc. and their parent companies were negligent in their design, development, sale and distribution of neonicotinoid pesticides, specifically those containing imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiomethoxam, while the defendants “knew or ought to have known at all material times that the neonicotinoids would cause damage to the property of the plaintiffs and the other class members.” — RT

And all of this took place just weeks after Bayer AG published a glowing press release on bee populations improving in Europe continuing to banty about the notion that neonictinoid pesticides have nothing to do with global bee deaths. While proof of their disregard for the health of wildlife exposed to the company’s agricultural wares continues to accumulate, they send this out on the wire: European bees are at their best health level in years.

“We know that these insecticides are highly toxic to bees; we found them in each sample of dead and dying bees.” — Christian Krupke, associate professor of entomology Purdue, and a co-author of the 2012 study.

Honeybee Hauling Pollen

Honeybee Hauling Pollen (Wikipedia)

Meanwhile, Canada is seriously considering stiff regulation on the use of neonictinoids. It is now known that bees exposed to these neurotoxins have smaller colonies and produce less honey, along with being disorientated, abandoning the hive, and prone to disease.

Bayer claims to have solved the problem of mass bee die-off from the toxic dust created during planting of crop seed treated with neonic coating with the development of a new lubricant farmers should use with the seed in the hopper. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food isn’t improved with this Bandaid approach, discovering that it merely reduces toxins in planting chaff by 21%. That dust that coats the bees near a field being planted in corn or several other crops where seed is treated with neonics contains enough chemical to kill a host of bees on contact. Still Bayer maintains that this is not the case, defending the chemicals and spreading the blame to a collection of issues rather than one isolated thing. Not surprising, it wouldn’t be good for these international giants if the world refused to use neonics any longer.

Neonics account for 40% of available pesticides… GLOBALLY

Earlier this summer, Home Depot in both the US and Canada announced wanting all plants that come into their stores to be labeled for having been treated with neonics too. What? These toxic agricultural chemicals are on your daisies and petunias? Yep. Would you buy them if they were bug-eaten? A thing the home gardener might just have to get past abhorring. Stopping pests that devour your leaves is killing or harming bee health too. Over 50% of all garden plants sold at big box stores are tainted with one or more neonic pesticides. While you may not be seeing piles of dead bees in the yard, a recently published Harvard study has discovered that non-lethal doses eventually do cause bees to die.

Humans eat plants. Bugs eat plants. Animals eat plants. Birds eat bugs, fish eat bugs… and the health of every facet here is suffering from health issues, disease and death. Perfection and profit is perhaps not the best course to follow.

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The garden played a starring role from spring through fall in the house Amber was raised in. She has decades of experience growing plants from seeds and cuttings in the plot and pots.