Pesticides linked to bee deaths will be phased out in Canada, sources say

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OTTAWA — The federal government is taking steps to phase out the use of nicotine-based pesticides, linked to a rising number of honey bee deaths, starting in 2021.

Sources close to the decision confirmed to The Canadian Press that the Pest Management Regulatory Agency of Canada will announce Wednesday a three-year phaseout of two of the three main neonicotinoid pesticides approved for use in Canada.

The agency has already announced plans to phase out the third pesticide in all outdoor uses, meaning it can’t be sprayed or used to pretreat seeds before planting.

Neonicotinoids, or neonics, are a class of pesticides used by farmers and hobby gardeners alike to manage pests like aphids and spider mites. Scientists blame the chemicals for weakening bees, making them more susceptible to disease and bad weather.

Wednesday’s decision will mark the completion of nearly six years of work by the agency, and follows a similar ban by the European Union that takes effect at the end of the year.

Environmental groups say they are glad to see Canada moving ahead with a ban, but say five years is too long for the full ban to take effect.

The Canadian Press