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Elmwood, Ontario apiarist devastated at sudden loss of more than 600 hives

Elmwood, Ontario beekeeper loses more than 30 million bees

Elmwood, Ontario beekeeper loses more than 30 million bees

Dalia Ibrahim
Digital Reporter

Sunday, July 7, 2013, 8:14 PM -

It was just a few weeks ago that 50,000 bees were found dead in an Oregon parking lot, and now the problem has hit closer to home at a much more alarming rate.

In the past, many scientists have struggled to find the exact cause of the massive die-offs, a phenomenon they refer to as "colony collapse disorder".

Dave Schuit, who runs a honey operation in Elmwood, Ontario says he's lost more than 600 hives -- that's more than 37 million bees -- in 2012 alone.

Schuit says he's been seeing his bees die at a rapid rate every spring in the last few years.

"This is how they die,” Schuit explained to The Toronto Star, pointing with a broad hand to a bee that’s gone haywire, flailing erratically in the grass. “Their tongue sticks out and the venom drips out their backside.”

According to the 48-year-old apiarist, neonicotinoid pesticides are to blame for the loss.

The Collective Evolution finds that the deaths occur after the pesticide dust is blown into the air (used to coat corn seed with air seeders).

After record-breaking honeybee deaths in the UK, the European Union has banned multiple pesticides, including neonicotinoid pesticides.

Last year, Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Industry began taking samples from dead bees in Ontario and Quebec. Schuit's bee's were a part of that study.

The agency is now "re-evaluating" the pesticides status while analyzing more samples this year.

With files from the The Toronto Star and Collective Evolution

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