Maryland is to become the first U.S. state to ban neonicotinoid-containing pesticides to help increase the dwindling number of honey bees.
Honey bee populations in the state of Maryland have declined by 61% since 2015, according to the USDA.
This incredible statistic ( two times higher than the national average) is why beekeepers across the state are celebrating the recent decision to ban pesticides which have been linked with Colony Collapse Disorder.
Ban Bee-Killing Pesticides
In April, a report from ThinkProgress, the Maryland House, and the Senate, agreed upon and jointly passed a final version of the Maryland Pollinator Protection Act.
If it is deemed worthy of passing, the legislation will almost completely eliminate consumer use of the widely-used pesticide that has been shown to negatively impact honey bee populations.
In essence, Maryland will become the first state in the U.S. to ratify such protection for our beloved pollinators.
While scientists haven’t pinpointed a single cause behind the mass honey bee deaths, most agree that pesticides are an important contributor. The reason a ban on neonicotinoids hasn’t been passed nationwide is because the USDA has failed to declare a link between neonics and bee deaths.
Reportedly, the widely-used pesticides are a key part of expanding the global insecticide market projected at around $15 billion in revenues.
The EPA is reviewing the link between several varieties of the insecticides and the bee deaths, however. Those findings will be shared with the public in 2018, the same year Maryland’s ban on neonicotinoid-containing pesticides goes into effect.
Concerning the legislation, Tiffany Finck-Haynes, a campaigner at Friends of the Earth, commented that “Maryland’s [pollinator] losses are really staggering.” She also noted that “sustainable” bee losses are considered to be around 10 to 15 percent of a colony – significantly less than what Maryland has been experiencing.
Recently, over the past couple of years, scientists have found a number of links between neonicotinoids and poor bee health.
For example, one study found that exposure to neonicotinoids impacted a bee’s brain. This results in the inability to distinguish the scent of food. Further studies are suggesting that pesticide exposure can even weaken a honeybee’s immune system, making it more difficult to fight off viruses.
Of course, bees’ populations are also threatened by a decreased food sources and the varroa mite – both which have been implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder.
Del. Anne Healey, D-Prince George’s County, who authored the House version of the bill.“
The new law would be a landmark, and it would set a standard that maybe other states would follow. Our honey bees are in serious trouble, and if we lose our bees, and other pollinators, one-third of our food supply is in danger, it will take more than good intentions to preserve and protect bees and other pollinators.