June 23, 2014 10:55 pm
Updated: June 24, 2014 11:22 am

Study shows pesticides are injuring bees


VANCOUVER, B.C. — It’s the first week of summer and the birds and the bees are busy – but a new study concludes the latter may be in danger due to systemic pesticides.

Also known as neonics, systemic pesticides are absorbed by plants and move throughout organic tissues, down to the roots, leaves and stems, according to the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture.

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They were banned by the European Union last year and because they’ve been linked to the decline of bees, there have been calls for the Canadian government to do the same. Now, a new study by the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides is backing up those claims.

The study, which analyzed eight hundred peer-reviewed reports on the impacts of the pesticides, concluded there is enough evidence of harm that action must be taken to ban the substances.

The neonics are a nerve poison for the insects and invertebrates – such as earthworms, and impair their memories, ability to navigate and make them susceptible to disease. The report claims they have become the most widely used group of insecticides globally, with sales of over $282 billion dollars in 2011.

“Right now we know that all the documented evidence for the managed bees that we use for agriculture is that they’re hurting, they’re declining, and that’s why we should care…I think this study tells us it’s time to stop using these pesticides,” said Elizabeth Elle, a conservation biologist from Simon Fraser University.

-With files from Linda Aylesworth


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