TORONTO – Gord Miller recently took dead aim at the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in Canada. Miller is the Ontario environmental commissioner. He made the comments shortly after the release of his recent annual report.

Miller is quoted October 7 in the Toronto Sun, one of Canada’s largest newspapers, as describing neonictinoids as "the biggest threat to the structure and ecological integrity of the ecosystem that I have encountered in my life. Bigger than DDT." Miller was referring to allegations that neonicotinoids are responsible for massive bee deaths, claims that are being disputed by pesticide manufacturers.

The U.S. green industry is familiar with Bayer CropScience’s Merit, the highly popular neonicotoinoid that revolutionized insect control, especially white grub control, in turfgrass.

Neonicotinoids are now believed to be the most widely used insecticides in the world, providing pest control on a variety of crops. While they are still used for crops in Canada, much of the country, including Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, forbid the use of synthetic pesticides for lawn care.

The Toronto Sun article reported neonicotinoids are found in 99 percent of the corn crop, 65 percent of soybeans, 25 to 33 percent of cereals, 95 percent of dry beans and 100 percent of canola where they help control risks like wireworm, grubs, corn rootworm and corn flea beetles.

The big concern with the use of this class of chemistry is bee health, claimed David Schuit, a beekeeper in the province. He has called for an outright ban on neonicotinoids.

"It is an issue that has caused me great concern," said Ontario Environment Minister Glen Murray. "Every corn seed I’m told in Ontario now is treated with this (pesticide) in advance, anticipating insect damage which doesn’t seem to occur all the time."

Click here to read the full article from the Toronto Sun.