Farmers in Niagara starting to see devastating impact after millions of bees died over the winter

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Niagara is starting to see the devastating impact after millions of honey bees died over the winter.

Niagara Beeway President, George Scott, tells CKTB's Tom McConnell farmers are starting to see the impact of the loss of pollination, with an estimated $1B loss of farm-gate revenue, with $300M in Ontario alone.

"We (the bee industry) are a small but strategically important segment of agriculture. Without us you can't grow berries, apples, cherries or grow soya beans."

Scott says we are facing a near-extinction of honey bees after 90% died over the winter. He says if you see a bee in your garden this year, consider yourself lucky.

Scott thinks a combination of factors has led to the deaths, including urban sprawl, and chemicals.

He says many people buy plants at large box stores that are sprayed and grown with insecticides, which end up poisoning the bees.

"That nursery stock that you're even buying at Canadian Tire. All those plants are perfect, there's not an insect bite on a leaf. You want to pick the best one, you sort through them to find the best one. You bring that home......it's been soil quenched with an insecticide. You put that in your butterfly garden, you just killed every pollinator for 200 metres around that plant."

He says the bees from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Tillsonburg are trying to tell us a story, but the government isn't listening. 

He says the government may wake up as for first time, Canada will not be an exporter of honey, but an importer.

Scott is buying bees and trying to get the eco-system back in place, with no guarantee the bees won't ingest the same chemicals and die over the winter once again.

Niagara Beeway will visit homes in the region with bee issues, to relocate hives to other areas. Click here to find out more.

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