Two major bee keeping firms top a $450 million class action lawsuit against two pesticide manufacturers, alleging their products have caused widespread deaths in bee colonies, the Toronto Star reported.
A claim filed Wednesday by Sun Parlour Honey and Munro Honey asks Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice to certify a suit against Bayer Inc., its CropScience subsidiary, Syngenta International and its Canadian arm.
The plaintiffs point to a widely used class of pesticides called neonicotinoids — or “neonics” —a toxin affecting the nervous systems of the insects making honey and pollinating crops.
Growers coat soybean and corn seeds with the pesticide, causing an “enormous impact, ” said Julie White of the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association.
“When things get planted, the dust goes into the air, it’s systemic as well growing in to the plants and it gets into puddles . . . the bees either get killed in the field or they carry it back to the hive, ” she told the Star.
The European Commission has restricted the sale and use of the pesticides since 2013, with Japan, France, Germany, Italy and eastern Ontario’s Prince Edward County taking various forms of action, says the claim.
About 40 per cent of the insecticide market is comprised of Neonics, which can also be applied by spraying. Global sales reached just under $3 billion in 2011.