More than 150 beekeepers from across the province gathered in Markham on Thursday to hear from top researchers and industry experts.

The meeting was held by the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association and Orillia’s Paul Gillet was there to learn more about neonicotinoid pesticides.  

“The poisons they are putting in the land, tonnes of insecticides, it's affecting my bees and I care enough about them I want to find out how it's coming along.”

Neonicotinoids are widely used to protect corn and soybean crop from insects, but they are extremely toxic to bees. The pesticide is applied to the seed then travels through the entire plant including the flowers and pollen.

Ontario's Minster of Agriculture Jeff Leal met with beekeepers on Thursday and promised that the province would work to reduce the amount of pesticides being used. 

The Minister says beekeepers must work together with farmers to come up with a plan that everybody can agree on and he promises to consult the public as new regulations are developed. He says controlling the use of the pesticides is well within the provinces power.

“We do know that the PMRA is an agency of the Government of Canada. They decide at the onset if a pesticide is safe to use, and the provinces have the jurisdiction of the application and use of the material that has been approved by the PMRA in Ottawa,” said Leal.

Leal did not say how much of a reduction there might be but hearing that the ministry acknowledges that there is a problem with the pesticides is encouraging to some beekeepers.

“Definitely if we could see a reduction of 50 or 60 percent, I can't tell you for sure how that's going to look but I'm sure that it will make a great difference because there will be less of it in our environment therefore there is a lot less to affect our bees,” says beekeeper Jim Coneybeare.

The Minister of Agriculture is promising to have a working plan in place by next summer then have that plan implemented by the planting season in 2016.