Pity the poor honey bee. Itís the littlest livestock breed and the most maligned livestock breed.
The hard-working humble insect always seems to be in crisis, be it depletion of its foraging grounds, farm field pesticide treatments, two types of killer mites and other hive invaders... thereís always something interfering with the basic business of transforming nectar into one of man and womankindís greatest foods.
Lately the Ontario Beekeepersí Association has sounded the alarm about another condition... hundreds of honey bees in multiple hives with acute poisoning symptoms.
Beekeepers have reported the incidents to various agencies and OMAFRA inspectors have taken samples for analysis in an attempt to determine this latest cause of bee mortality.
Anecdotal observations, the Beekeepers say, show a strong link between the poisoning episodes and air seeding of treated corn. In all cases, surrounding fields have been seeded within a day of bee mortality.
Honey bees are among several creatures which play a large role in the pollination of crops across the province. Whatís happening to them may also be happening to other non-managed pollinators, the Beekeepers warn. Depletion of natural pollinators could wreak havoc on crop production.
The association knows farmers are doing what they feel is required to get planting done in a timely manner and are concerned about inadvertently causing harm to pollinating insects.
The Beekeepers are asking that all parties involved work with concerned farmers, many of whom double as beekeepers - to find a solution.
The solution should put the honey bee first and meet all of its requirements which mainly means more respect and deference should be provided, more caution taken with farm practices, as the bee goes about its business of supplying us with the next best thing to maple syrup.
The AgriNews is dedicated to covering and promoting agriculture, one of Eastern Ontarioís most important economic sectors.