From CBC Radio & Quirks & Quarks

From CBC Radio and Quirks & Quarks: Scientists Say Restrictions on Neonic Pesticides Aren't Enough to Save Bees - We Need a Ban

“The case has become quite clear that these chemicals are causing harm and their use is largely unjustifiable.” – Dr. Jeremy Kerr [a professor at the University of Ottawa who studies biodiversity and ecosystem function].

Concerns over the widely used agricultural pesticides known as neonicotinoids — or neonics — have reached their peak when 242 scientists from around the world call for an urgent ban.

That's what happened a little more than a week ago when, in an open letter addressed to international governments, the scientists wrote: "the balance of evidence strongly suggests that these chemicals are harming beneficial insects and contributing to the current massive loss of biodiversity."

In April, countries in the European Union came together to ban the three main neonicotinoids — a victory for scientists. But now they want to make the ban global.

The pesticides were found to ravage aquatic insects and pollinators like butterflies. But some of the biggest victims are bees, whose populations are already in trouble.

Jim Coneybeare is a beekeeper from Wellington, Ontario, and president at the Ontario Beekeeper's Association. He says when he opened his hives this spring, his bees kept near the pesticide-treated fields were devastated.

"We had pretty much historic winter survival rates in non-neonic treated areas. And in neonic treated areas, probably about 65 percent of hives have died," said Coneybeare.

Read the full story and listen to the Quirks & Quarks episode, aired on CBC Radio on June 9, 2018