Local beekeepers' worst fears appear to be coming true.

Bee deaths across the region appear to have coincided with the start of corn-planting in the past week or so and many are trying to find out why.

That includes Alfred Dick who moved to the country to enjoy semi-retirement but he soon found a love for beekeeping.

Now, this sweet pastime is leaving a bitter taste in his mouth.

"I was hoping this was going to be one of my fun things to do out in the country, but last year it became a catastrophe in the spring when they all started to die. And here it is a year later and the same thing is happening again," says Dick.

Dick is convinced the problem is corn-planting seeds treated with a chemical pesticide called neonicotinoids that produce an airborne dust.

It's believed to have a fatal effect on honey bees.

In 2012, the problem wiped out thousands of hives in the region and new guidelines called for farmers to plant under controlled conditions.

According to Dick, a nearby cornfield was planted last week.

It was within only a few hours that he began to see dying bees around his hives.

"I went over to look at my hives and they were all three showing signs of pesticide death. They were twitching, they weren't able to fly, they were sitting in front of the hives and falling on the grass," says Dick.

But now it's up to lab testing to confirm whether pesticides are in fact the culprit.