Seed World

Use of Neonics in Seed Treatments is Safe: Health Canada

After extensive research and review, Health Canada has completed its re-evaluations of the neonicotinoid pesticides clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam in relation to their potential impact on bees and other pollinators, and has released the final decisions for each.

Health Canada has announced that it will be cancelling some uses of these pesticides, and changing other conditions of use such as restricting the timing of application. Remaining uses, including for treatment of canola and cereal seed and greenhouse vegetables, are not expected to pose unacceptable risks to bees and other pollinators.

Health Canada is restricting the use of foliar applications of clothianidin for orchard trees, strawberries, and municipal, industrial and residential turf sites. Foliar applications for cucurbits are limited to one application per year.

In regard to imidacloprid, the use of the pesticide as a foliar application for crops including fruit trees will be disallowed.

In order to protect pollinators, Health Canada is cancelling the following uses of thiamethoxam:

  • Foliar and soil application to ornamental crops that will result in pollinator exposure (in other words, are planted outdoors and are attractive to pollinators)
  • Soil application to berry crops, cucurbit crops and fruiting vegetables, and
  • Foliar application to orchard trees.

In 2012, Health Canada began re-evaluations of three neonicotinoids to address growing concerns around bee health.

“These pollinator re-evaluations considered hundreds of scientific studies, from both manufacturers and published literature. Cancellations and new restrictions will be implemented over a two- to three-year period,” Health Canada said in a news release.

Health Canada continues to evaluate the potential risks to aquatic insects from the use of neonicotinoids. Current research shows that these pesticides are detected frequently in waterbodies at levels that could be harmful to certain aquatic organisms. The Department expects to report on its findings at the end of 2019, it said in a news release.

For the full evaluations decisions visit: