Pesticides don’t pose a huge risk for bees in northern British Columbia, but overuse can dangerous for them, says provincial apiarist. (Lakes District News file photo)

Wise use of pesiticides poses low risk to bees

Dandelions might be unsightly and even regarded as a weeds by some people, but for millions of bees buzzing around in the spring they’re a food source.

Bees feed on the pollen in dandelions and cutting the yellow, flowering plants removes a food source for them.

Though bees can get by with other flowers, the bigger risk to the winged pollinators is the overuse of agricultural chemicals.

The use of neonicotinoid pesticides applied to such crops as corn and canola has proven devastating for bees in Ontario and Quebec. The chemicals are absorbed into the plants and make their way into the nectar and pollen. Neonicotinoids have been found to be toxic to bees.

The bee losses moved Health Canada to ban two of the three neonicotinoid pesticides.

READ MORE: Farmers ponder impact of alternatives to pesticides being banned

The European Union went further and banned all three neonicotinoids.

LOOK BACK: ‘Victory for bees’: European Union approves ban on three pesticides that kill them

The situation in northern British Columbia differs from other parts of the country in that there are not as many agricultural fields on which pesticides would be applied.

But pesticides and insecticides still pose dangers to bees and other insects, especially if they’re inappropriately applied.

“If we apply them wisely and only use when we need them then there is minimal or negligible risk of any problems,” as Paul van Westendorp, of the provincial government’s apiculture office told Lakes District News.

“If we have cavalier attitudes in the use of these products it’s bad. They’re designed to be safe if applied correctly.”

The effects of some chemicals on bees are sometimes indirect because they affect the wider environment.

“Herbicides can have environmental effects which can eliminate food sources for wild bees. It’s an alteration of the landscape,” van Westendorp said.

Wise use of pesticides and other chemicals is the only way forward and blanket bans are unrealistic, van Westendorp explained.

“The high quality and low prices that the public demands [for agricultural products] depends on the use of some pesticides.”

Blair McBride
Multimedia reporter
Send Blair an email
Like Lakes District News on Facebook

Just Posted

William Griffin arrested in Houston homicide

RCMP have now arrested William Griffin, the man wanted in connection to… Continue reading

Police look for suspect in Nov. 10 homicide

Victim identified as Elijah Dumont

B.C. First Nation Chief Ed John faces historic sex charges

John served as minister for children and families under then-premier Ujjah Dosanjh

Man hit, killed by vehicle in Fraser Lake

A man was struck and killed by a motor vehicle in Fraser… Continue reading

Cullen gets $89,000 in post-MP severance

At 55, the former MP will also be eligible for an $82,000 per annum pension

Cold, stormy winter forecast across much of Canada, The Weather Network predicts

In British Columbia temperatures will be slightly above normal and precipitation will be just below normal

29 B.C. students in Hong Kong amid tense protests, university siege

Eight UVic and 21 UBC students still in Hong Kong

‘Midget’ no more: Sweeping division name changes coming to minor hockey in Canada

Alpha-numeric division names will be used for the 2020-2021 season and beyond

Ottawa urges CN and union to continue talks as 3,200 workers go on strike

The rail workers began their strike after failing to reach a deal by a midnight deadline

Student tells B.C. Supreme Court she wasn’t allowed to leave Indigenous smudging ceremony

Girl cross-examined Monday in Nanaimo courtroom, case continues Tuesday

Trans Mountain received $320M in government subsidies in first half 2019: report

The money included $135.8 million in direct subsidies and $183.8 million in indirect subsidies

UPDATED: Vancouver Island’s Joe gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty case

Melissa Tooshley expected in court on Thursday in same case

Nineteen boats carrying invasive mussels stopped at B.C. borders

Waters of Columbia-Shuswap still test mussel-free

Woman ‘horrified’ after being told to trek 200 kilometres home from Kamloops hospital

‘I can’t get from Kamloops back to 100 Mile House injured, confused… no shoes, no clothes whatsoever’

Most Read