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Canada outlaws use of certain neonic pesticides

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Agriculture has been working on finding solutions to the neonicotinoid, or “neonic” debate. Neonics are used to treat insects that attack the roots of plants. They are widely used as a seed treatment or even as a pesticide application. However, neonics have also been found to have an effect on the pollinator population, especially in bees. Now, Canada has decided to ban the use of certain neonic products.

While the United States has been working to promote more bee habitats, especially along the bees’ migration path which comes right through Iowa, Canada has decided to go more along the lines of the European Union and ban certain uses. This decision was made by Health Canada, jointly with Agriculture Canada’s Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency.

Dr. Nigel Raine is a bee specialist at the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph. He says the move may not be going far enough. While it does reduce the number of neonic pesticides available for spraying, it does nothing about the seed treatments used in agriculture.

Three neonic products are being restricted by the Canadians for fruit and vegetable production. They are: Clutch; Imidacloprid – most growers will know it as Admire; and Thyithanocym – Cruiser or Acterra product names. We hear from Caleigh Hallink-Irwin is the manager of crop protection services with the Canadian Horticulture Council.

Dr. Raines says neonics in seed treatments damage far more than honey bee colonies.

Because of this ban, there are concerns with finding a treatment to root-based pests. There is nothing in the pipeline to replace neonicotinoid.