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There is something wrong with hives Steve Martineau spring. More precisely, the season when farmers plant corn and soybeans in fields that stretch to the horizon around her honey of Saint-Marc-sur-Richelieu, Montérégie.

"There is a queen stopped laying for seven days, he said, pointing to one of his 250 hives. This is not normal. Last year also we had it. "

Before many of his hives, a square of fabric is stretched. A shroud for workers who die mysteriously.

"In a normal hive, when a bee dies, the others carry as far as possible, said Martineau. This is to avoid attracting predators. Bees dying like that to walk from their hive, unable to find the entrance, it is not normal. "

"There are a lot of bees lose their sense of direction, he said, pointing to an insect that goes round in circles on the fabric. And the most affected bees return not even here, they die in the field. "

Every two days, Olivier Samson Robert, a master's student at the University Laval, just count the dead bodies and die for analysis as part of a research project funded by the Ministry of Agriculture.

The student is on the trail of a suspect: a family of insecticides called neonicotinoids. They are used as seed coating of corn and soybeans and spread the plant throughout its life.

Hundred times the lethal dose

The most commonly used compounds are called clothiamidine and thiamétoxane. In recent years, almost all maize seed sold in Quebec and more than half of the soybean seeds are coated with these products.

And this is true in fields where bees and they are drinking foraging. "Last year all water samples contained the clothiamidine and 60% of the thiamétoxane says Samson, Robert. And spoke rate 100 times the lethal dose. "

How these poisons were allowed as they threaten the insect more useful to agriculture? The manufacturers say that the bees do not forage maize and would not be exposed.

But they did not anticipate other means of exposure.

"There are dust néonécotinoïdes that emerged with pneumatic drills, says Valerie Fournier, professor and researcher at Laval University. The dust settles on other plants such as dandelions, which are very important for the bees in the spring. The dust also settles on the water where the bees are drinking. In the spring, it is the primary source of exposure. "

The Federation of Quebec beekeepers sounded the alarm. In January, its CEO Christine Jean wrote to the Minister of Agriculture, François Gendron.

"It is urgent, says Ms. Jean, in a letter which La Presse obtained a copy. The important thing is to reach a very large and rapid reduction in the use of neonicotinoids. Your department has several ways to intervene and quickly achieve the necessary results. It is the results that count. "

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2005-04-03 23:44:08 by coastie3

Volumne 2

ACTIVIST JUDGE, n. A judge who attempts to protect the rights of minorities--most especially homosexuals--against the tyranny of the majority. (Amy Mashberg, Austin, Texas)
ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES, n. New locations to drill for oil and gas. (Peter Scholz, Fort Collins, Colorado)
CIVIL LIBERTIES, n. Unnecessary privileges that you aren't afraid of losing unless you are a God-hating, baby-killing, elitist liberal who loves Saddam Hussein more than your own safety. (Megan Ellis, Bellingham, Washington)
CLIMATE CHANGE, n. Global warming, without that annoying suggestion that something is wrong

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