Protecting Pollinators: Maryland Bans Bee-Killing Pesticides
Maryland is the first state in the nation to pass strict restrictions on pesticides thought to be responsible for significant reductions in bee populations with enactment of its Pollinator Protection Act. Maryland lost more than 60 percent of its hives in 2015, each containing up to 20,000 honeybees, making it one of the states with the highest recorded declines. The national average is about 42 percent, yet across the country, farmers and gardeners are still using pesticides linked to colony collapse disorder. Globally, more than one-third of the world’s food supply could be at risk if these and other pollinators are lost.
Neonicotinoids are one potent class of systemic pesticides introduced to agriculture in the 1990s that have been linked to bees’ demise. In recent years, pesticides such as Knockout Ready-to-Use Grub Killer, Ortho Bug B Gon, and All-In-One Rose & Flower Care have been made available to consumers and beekeepers have noticed a corresponding increase in bee deaths.
The Maryland law bans the use of neonicotinoids by everyday consumers that have been spraying home gardens and trees with these deadly pesticides. Farmers and professional gardeners are exempt from the law. A similar law is awaiting the governor’s signature in Connecticut. Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture has not officially recognized the well-researched link, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing it.
This article appears in the January 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.