From Bees to Birds – Common Pesticide Used in Canada Linked to Population Decline

The battle over the use of neonicotinoids across Canada is heating up as a result of a study from the Netherlands which has drawn a cause and effect relationship between the controversial pesticide and the decline in bird populations. The controversial chemical is already banned in the European Union and environmentalists in North America would like to see the same prohibition on this continent. There is already proof that the chemical damages the ability of bumblebees to scour for food. It is believed by many to be the reason why bee populations have plunged in recent years.

It may be coincidental that bird and bee population declines have been accelerating over the past decade just as the use of neonicotinoids has become so prevalent as to be used on millions of hectares across the country, but the Dutch don’t think so. As a matter of fact, their report released just two days ago is chalk full of scientific research showing that the chemical has an adverse impact on the non-target invertebrate species. In other words, it’s killing off worms and other such critters that are not the target of the chemical. It is these species that birds heavily depend on during the breeding season. As a result, the lack of a required food source is causing certain bird populations to decline.

A retired researcher from Environment Canada explained that neonicotinoids are designed to kill off insects that want to thrive off of soy, corn, canola and other crops. The problem is that the chemical ends up killing a lot more insects that it was intended to do. This confirms what the Dutch found. However, Pierre Mineau, the retired scientist in question, still believes the chemical serves a vital purpose. He would see its use limited or its potency reduced for the sake of non-target insect populations.

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