LONDON, Ont. – Ontario beekeepers are suing pesticide manufacturers for $450 million, alleging their chemical agents are responsible for the huge decline in bee populations in recent years, reports the Toronto Sun.Sun Parlor and Munro Honey Sept. 4 launched a class action lawsuit to recover losses by beekeepers dating as far back as 2006. It specifically targets insecticides clothianidin, parent compound thiamethoxam and predecessor product imidacloprid, alleging that they have been demonstrated to have significant adverse impacts on the survival, growth and health of bees. “From an economic standpoint it’s certainly big. From an environmental and social standpoint, it’s even bigger” said Dimitri Laskaris, a laywer with Siskinds LLP, representing the case. The statement of claim alleges that Bayer (CropScience) and Syngenta were negligent in the manufacture, sale and distribution of neonicotinoids in Ontario that caused beekeepers to suffer significant losses and damage. None of the allegations have been proven in court. The manufacturers have said a variety of factors – including parasites, management practices and weather – have played a role in the declining bee population, which has seen numbers fall by 35 percent annually in Ontario, and even more in other provinces. They say neonicotinoids replaced toxic insecticides that were harmful to the broader environment and note that bee deaths aren’t an issue in Western Canada, where neonic-treated canola seed is common. The apiarists’ lawsuit alleges the companies have made false, misleading and deceptive claims of safety and that treated corn and soybean seeds are now “ubiquitous and inescapable for bees.” Read the complete article on the Toronto Sun here.