OUR VIEW: Crop-sprayed insecticides are a real buzz kill

It’s time to talk about the birds and the bees. Unfortunately, the facts of life aren’t all sunny these days.

Bee colonies across North America are dying off in shocking numbers.

Commercial beekeepers report one quarter to one-third of their bees dying every year. That’s alarming. Bees are responsible for pollinating more than 90 per cent of the world’s flowering crops.

Without bees, there is no food. A number of studies have recently linked the bee deaths to a neonicotinoid class of insecticides. The insecticides are widely used on some of North America’s biggest commercial crops, including corn, canola and soybeans.

They are also used on many plants sold in commercial nurseries.

When bees come into contact with the pesticide through the pollen or nectar of the plants, they suffer damaging effects.

The chemical has also been linked to declines in bird populations by killing off birds’ food supplies.

The chemicals have already been banned in Europe.

Last week, Ontario became the first province to move toward greater restriction of their use.

Environmental groups in Canada have called on Health Canada to ban the pesticides here too. Many farmers have opposed that.

But as one expert pointed out, if the pesticides kill all the pollinators, there won’t be any crops left to protect.

One day, we’ll likely look back on this class of pesticides the same way DDT is considered today.

Meanwhile, the birds and the bees and the rest of the planet deserve better.

It’s time for the government to act.