About two or three weeks ago reports starting swirling around southwestern Ontario that beekeepers were finding dying bees on the front stoops of their hives.
Photos were taken and samples of dead bees as well. Most beekeepers suspect it's insecticide poisoning, possibly from corn planting, however the results are not out yet.
Below is a communication from Crystal Lafrance, Regional Pesticides Specialist, Ministry of the Environment
The ministry has received 19 reports of bee mortality from Ontario beekeepers. We are working with Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs and Pest Management Regulatory Agency to respond to these reports. Samples of dead bees are being analyzed to determine if pesticide exposure could have contributed to the deaths. At this time no definitive cause for the deaths has been determined.
Samples are currently being analyzed by the federal Pest Management Regulatory Agency, and results will be shared with our ministry. If the bee deaths are determined to be related to misuse of a pesticide, then ministry compliance staff will take the appropriate next steps. If the bee deaths are found to be a result of a natural factor such as weather or disease, then the ministry will have a much more limited role.
Beekeepers are encouraged to report cases of bee mortality (please see contacts in the hyperlink below) to the Provincial Apiarist, Paul Kozak or your local bee inspector as MOE, OMAFRA and PMRA continue to work together to identify causes for the bee mortality observed this spring.
Bee Inspector Contact Information