The many facets of the neonicotinoid issue

The neonic debate is not a one-issue, one solution scenario

Whoever you talk to in agriculture today, most people agree this is not a one-issue, one-solution scenario. As Dr. Cynthia Scott-Dupree has stated this is more like a 1,000-piece puzzle.

The following are just some of the aspects involved in the neonicotinoid debate that may or may not have made it into media reports or websites:

  • Neonicotinoid-based seed treatments have been a staple for canola growers in Western Canada for longer than in Ontario, yet there has been less concern there about the use of seed treatments.
  • Neonicotinoid-based seed treatments are highly specific, and safer than previously available foliar treatments.
  • Use of neonicotinoids in Australia pre-dates that of Canada — without any negative impacts — nor is there an issue with varroa mite.
  • Corn is cross-pollinated and contains no nectar, and soybeans and wheat are self-pollinating; the crops hold little appeal for bees.
  • As far as quality of nectar and pollen protein levels are concerned, canola is one of the best forage sources but blueberry is one of the poorest.
  • Ontario’s beekeepers have increased their pollination services by 200 to 300 per cent in the past 10 years, a period in which beekeepers claim honey production has dropped by 20 per cent.
  • Is succession in the beekeeping industry affecting production?
  • Use of formic acid with oxalic acid to control varroa mites is fatal to bees.

About the author

CG Production Editor

Ralph Pearce



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