A response to Croplife Canada’s open letter from a member of the vocal minority

To the Expositor:

Re. letter to the editor, January 7, 2015, from Mr. Petelle of CropLife Canada. I want to respond to his letter, on behalf of “the vocal minority,” as Mr. Petelle puts it. In response to the worldwide decline in pollinator health (both honey bees and native pollinators) Purdue University has concluded a two-year study on the effects of insecticide seed treatment on honeybees and other pollinators (“Multiple Routes of Pesticide Exposure for Honey Bees Living Near Agricultural Fields” which anyone can Google, and the complete report found online—there’s the science, Mr. Pettelle). Insecticides have been found present at low levels in soil, up to two years after treated seed was planted, as well as on nearby dandelion flowers and in corn pollen which the bees gather. Thus, the insecticide finds its way into honey and beeswax. Studies will continue on the sublethal effects of neonicotinoids, since bees that do not die from the insecticide may suffer other effects, such as loss of homing ability or reduced resistance to disease or mites. Final note: at least a third of our food depends upon pollination. A Big Mac, without pollinators doing their job, would be no more than the bun and the lettuce.

Jane Harding

Reston, Virgina

and a longtime seasonal visitor to Manitoulin (60+ years) and member of the Lake Manitou Area Association