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Health Canada proposes tighter restrictions on neonic to protect pollinators

by Mark Sabourin
EcoLog, 6/8/2018 8:36:00 AM

Health Canada is proposing significant restrictions on the use of imidacloprid products in an effort to protect bees and other pollinators. Imidacloprid, along with clothianidin and thiamethoxam, have been approved for agricultural use in Canada and are part of a family of insecticides known as neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids have been implicated in the decline of pollinator populations, notably bees.

These recommended restrictions are based solely on the pollinator risk assessment for imidacloprid and consider a substantial amount of new data and research on pollinators. The proposed mitigation measures to protect pollinators are in addition to earlier proposals that were intended to protect aquatic insects.

Imidacloprid is often used as a coating on crop seeds to prevent insects from eating the seeds and to protect the plants as they grow. It can also be sprayed onto plants or bare soil and used as a granular application on turf grass or as a tree injection.

The proposed restrictions on imidacloprid would include:

  • a phase-out of foliar application on orchard fruit, some tree nuts, and most small fruit and berries
  • a phase-out of soil uses on berries, some ornamentals and herbs, and outdoor-grown fruiting vegetables, cucurbits, and legumes
  • changes to the timing of foliar application on some tree nuts, strawberries, grapes, fruiting vegetables, legumes, potatoes, peanuts, tobacco, hops, and some herbs
  • additional protective label instructions for cereal and legume seed treatment uses.

According to Health Canada, there has been a 70% to 92% decrease in reported bee deaths or other adverse effects since Health Canada implemented previous actions to protect bees from the dust from the planting of corn and soybean seeds treated with neonicotinoids.

Consultations on this proposed decision will be open to the public until August 29, 2018. A final decision on the use of imidacloprid in Canada is expected in December 2018.

To request a copy of "PMRA (PRVD2018-12) Imidacloprid and its Associated End-use Products: Pollinator Re-evaluation" and to comment on it, click here.

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