The declining bee population on Earth has been linked with widespread use of a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids. While the chemicals have already been banned in several countries, they are still widely used in the United States. Maryland, however, is the first state poised to approve a measure that bans the pesticides, after losing 60 percent of its hives last year. The pending legislation has passed the state’s upper and lower chambers, and now awaits the signature of Governor Larry Hogan, which is expected.
Colony Collapse Disorder, the name for the mass die-off of bees, threatens bee populations across the North American continent. While factors contributing to CCD range from stress to flowers losing their scent, the widespread use of neonicotinoids is likely the biggest danger to the little pollinators. Despite bans in effect for years in other parts of the world, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) delayed its ruling on the harmful chemicals until early this year, when it finally released a report pointing to a specific type of neonicotinoid, imidacloprid, as a major bee killer.
Although many people still regard bees as annoying pests, their role in agriculture is undeniable. Bees are responsible for pollination of most produce destined for supermarkets, and a world without them would mean over half of the fruits and veggies in your local grocery store would essentially disappear. There are other efforts in motion to help bees, like this microorganism cocktail called “pro-bee-iotics,” but banning the chemicals that are wiping them out seems a lot more efficient.