According to The Washington Post , Maryland lost more than 60 percent of its bee hives last year, each with up to 20,000 honeybees. Honey bees are critical to the pollination of many plants and the loss of the honey bee population in the United States would have devastating environmental and economic consequences.
The widely suspected culprit is Neonicotinoids, known as neonics. Monsanto is a major supplier of pesticides that neonics. Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a report acknowledging that pesticides containing neonics were killing off beehives at an alarming rate. The European Union has significantly restricted the use of neonics.
Under the Maryland bill homeowners would be banned from buying products containing neonicotinoids such as Knockout Ready-to-Use Grub Killer, Ortho Bug B Gon, All-In-One Rose & Flower Care, Lesco Bandit Insecticide and other products at 3,000 hardware stores, garden centers, nurseries and other outlets in the state. A report issued late last year by the Maryland Division of Legislative Services, — while acknowledging that the use of pesticides is killing or weakening “thousands of honey bee colonies in the United States each year” — was still uncertain if pesticides are the single or major source of such destruction. However, the report found that honey bees are “routinely and chronically exposed to neonicotinoids.”
It is still unclear if Maryland Governor Hogan will sign or reject the bill, according to the same Washington Post article, but Del. Anne Healey (D-Prince George’s), who authored the House version, said it had strong bipartisan support, and there appeared to be enough votes to override a veto.
Other states may be considering similar legislation. The National Resources Defense Council has published an article on “8 Ways to Attract Bees and Butterflies” for those who want to help and learn how they can assist these important pollinators.