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Tag: neonicotinoids (Page 1 of 2)

3 take-aways on neonics and pollinators

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Photo credit: Virescent green metallic bee/Leslie Bol

On April 19, I woke up early, and braved the busy highways of the GTA to get to a very important conference. The International Task Force on Systemic Pesticides, a group comprising 53 scientists from around the world, all working to study the environmental and health impacts of systemic pesticides, were presenting their research at York University.

Having been involved with the Ontario Nature Youth Council’s pollinator campaign, I was keen to learn about the issues of pesticide induced pollinator decline from this conference. Here are three things I learned at the symposium that I’d like to share.

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Let’s plant natives!

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Imagine you are relaxing in your beautiful garden, enjoying the natural beauty, the sounds, the colors, the scents. Now imagine you could do all of this and contribute to the protection of native biodiversity at the same time. You can make this happen by adding native plants to your garden.

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Which wild pollinators are in decline and why?

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There are 1,000s of wild pollinators in Ontario. Bees and flies are most significant, but butterflies, beetles, wasps, ants, moths and hummingbirds also pollinate plants. It is important to keep this in mind when reading about pollinator decline, which has been a hot news topic for many years.

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Neonics at breakfast

Bumble bee on blossom. Credit: John Vetterli

Carpenter bee on blossom. Credit: John Vetterli

For breakfast this morning, I had the pleasure of attending a science briefing on neonicotinoid insecticides (neonics) presented by Dr. Jean-Marc Bonmatin, vice-chair of the international Task Force on Systemic Pesticides. Hosted by the David Suzuki Foundation at Queens Park, the breakfast event was sponsored by MPPs Marie-France Lalonde and Peter Tabuns, and attended by several other MPPs, including Glen Murray, Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

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What’s a gardener to do?

Bumble bee and honey bee on butterfly milkweed. Credit: Martin LaBar

Bumblebee and honey bee on butterfly milkweed. Credit: Martin LaBar

Much of the discussion around neonicotinoids focuses on agriculture, but the horticulture industry also uses these chemicals. In a 2014 Friends of the Earth study of flowers for sale at garden centres in Canada, more than 50 percent of the tested plants contained traces of at least one neonicotinoid. Most shocking was that many of these contaminated plants were labelled “bee-friendly”.

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