So you missed pollinator biologist, Susan Chan's presentation (Disappearing Act 2) on neonicotinoids in October? That's a pity but have no fear! Susan's powerpoint is available for download.
A lot is being done in Ontario to reduce the use of these harmful pesticides, put there is still much more to do.
Susan offers a very clear picture of why neonics are so problematic. A wide spectrum neurotoxin, applied locally, it ends up on every part of a plant (also the nectar and the pollen). Neonics are persistent and water-soluble.
As well, there are no labels on pesticides indicating that the product contains neonics (which have major active ingredients). Farmers have to buy by brand names; "these things are not pure," Susan says. "We have a real problem with labelled use, versus reality--the way it is used and the way we are supposed to use it do not line up."
Susan says that while the honey bee is the poster child for the harm neonics cause, many other creatures are impacted, including aquatic invertebrates, birds, butterflies, and amphibians.
In the wider environment, the concern is that neonics move with soil and surface water.
It is also scary to learn from Susan that neonics are used on every crop in Ontario--from corn, veggies and fruits to Christmas trees. 99% of Ontario corn acres are using neonics-treated seed. Our land is not even growing food: 40% is industrial use, and the other 60% is feed use.
And although we have strong integrated pest management in the horticultural sector, in the field, we have no such system.
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).
If farmers can start to follow label instructions we can also reduce its use. OMFRA took action and is now a leader in N. American in this respect, with a policy and best management practices. Susan says they are clamping down on farmers and seed producers to be involved in the education and forcing farmers to prove that they need the seed. They are requiring farmers to look for the pest in the fall, getting the farmer back into the game to see if they have a problem.
Click on the link to learn more from Susan's powerpoint presentation.