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Ontario cool down negatively impacts bees

Honey producers launch lawsuit against pesticide companies

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Rodrigo Cokting
Staff writer

Thursday, September 4, 2014, 9:38 AM - It's all over the news. Bees are dying all around the world but they are not going out without a fight.

And in this case the fight might be in court. Two family-owned honey producers are proposing a class-action lawsuit against two chemical companies that make the insecticides responsible for the massive bee deaths.

According to a post on the Ontario Beekepers' Association the class action is being filed by Siskinds LLP with the intention of recovering damages suffered by beekepers due to the use of neonicotinoid pesticides as far back as 2006.

The Statement of Claim alleges that the companies in question—Bayer and Syngenta—were negligent in the manufacture and sale of their pesticides. The companies knew or ought to have known the effect that the chemicals would have on bees given the evidence available at the time.

The class-action lawsuit seeks to compensate for losses caused by killed or weakened bees, non-productive queens and bee colonies, contaminated wax combs and reduced honey production.

The OBA is not directly involved with the lawsuit but is supporting the effort, hoping that it will help local beekeepers by placing the blame where they think it belongs—on the chemical companies responsible for the pesticides.

A ban of the neonics, as they are often called, in Europe forced farmers to use less effective pesticides like organophosphates and pyrethroids. The situation is a bit of a catch 22 as some of these pesticides are also known to have adverse effects to bee populations.


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In Canada, close to 60 per cent of the honey-producing insects didn't survive the winter and while many point to the harsh weather conditions apiculturists in Ontario and Quebec are certain that exposure to neonics has also been an important factor.

One of the companies mentioned in the lawsuit said that they had not been served yet and could not comment on the specifics of the case.

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