37 Million Bees found dead in Ontario, Canada after planting large GMO Corn field.
37 Million Bees found dead in Canada after large GMO crop planting.
Hoax or Fact:
Mixture of hoax and facts.
These messages shared widely online, especially via social media sites state that 37 Million Bees have died in Ontario, Canada after the planting of a large GMO Corn field. Let us see if the claim as such is a fact or not.
Source of Information
The claim in question originated from an article published in website organichealth.co in late 2014 bearing the same title. The information in the article seems to have been sourced from some news reports in 2013, like on thepost.on.ca, thestar.com and CBCnews-Canada (cbc.ca). While all those reports mention the large scale honeybee deaths and talk about the concerns relating to Neonicotinoid pesticide (a group of systemic insecticides) use with Corn Planting near the hives; no report mentions GMO specifically. The article on organichealth.co too mentions GMO only in the title and beginning sentence (Millions of bees dropped dead after GMO corn was planted few weeks ago in Ontario, Canada.) The rest of the article talks about concerns of neonicotinoid pesticides causing the deaths of bees.
Reasons for Honeybee Deaths
Bees and other insects are important for the global food production because they pollinate about three-quarters of all crops. So the large scale loss of honeybees in many places of world like Canada, UK, North America and others in the past decade has been a growing concern. Their decline has been linked to loss of habitat, disease and pesticide use.
What Studies Suggest
The Pest Management Regulatory Industry of Health Canada took samples of dead bees from apiaries (bee yards) in Ontario and Quebec, also including Dave Schuit’s, the bee keeper reported in Organic Health article. They detected Clothianidin, a type of neonicotinoid in approximately 70% of the samples analyzed in Ontario and clothianidin and thiamethoxam (another neonicotinoid) were found in those analyzed from Quebec. Moreover, clothianidin pesticide was found at 80 per cent of apiaries visited.
A study released in Oct. 2013 by the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences described that the neonicotinoid pesticides kill honeybees by damaging their immune system; making them unable to fight diseases and bacteria.
It is a common belief that the Honeybees are abandoning hives and dying because of insecticide use. A Harvard study shows that sub-lethal exposure to neonicotinoids is likely the main culprit for the devastating bee colonies, triggering Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).
Although there are speculations that GMO Corn is causing the deaths of millions of bees around the world, it is not proven. Available data and studies suggest that it can be the use of neonicotinoid class of pesticides used in farms that are causing the deaths of nearby honeybees. It is because of these concerns, in December 2013, the European Union banned the use of three widely used neonicotinoids for two years, thiamethoxam, clothianidin and imidacloprid -- saying they posed an unacceptable risk to bees.
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