Pesticides have become an ever-increasing problem for wildlife and biodiversity.
One of the most vulnerable victims to these chemicals has been honey bees, who play an important role in the pollination of our crops.
Thankfully, Maryland has been the first state to ban bee-killing pesticides to give their bee population a chance to recover.
The Reality Of Bee Killing Pesticides
Beekeeper in the state lots an average of 60% of their colonies in 2015. That’s nearly 20% more than the national average. A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) survey even confirmed that Maryland had one of the highest bee population declines in the country (1).
Although there are other factors that catapulted the number to these heights, pesticide use is a major (if not main) contributor. In particular, Neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides, are notorious for killing bees. They work by affecting the central nervous system of insects to paralyze and kill them (2).
And it’s a widespread problem: EcoWatch has reported that 29 independent scientists conducting a global review of 1,121 independent studies found overwhelming evidence of pesticides linked to bee declines (3).
These insecticides are found in products like Knockout Ready-to-Use Grub Killer, Ortho Bug B Gon, Lesco Bandit Insecticide, and All-In-One Rose & Flower Care.
The ban will not only outlaw their use on private property, county property, and in nurseries and garden centers, but also keep the items off the shelves of hardware stores state-wide. Amateur gardeners, however, will still be able to purchase the product out-of-state.
While California, Alaska, New York, and Massachusetts have all made attempts to limit or ban neonicotinoids, Maryland is the only state to successfully instill a ban.
Fighting The Ban
Despite the importance of the ban, five Montgomery County lawn care businesses and seven residents have filed a lawsuit against it. They motion that pesticide use on private property should not be limited if the products have been approved by the state’s Department of Agriculture as well as the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (4).
The private property ban will not be in effect until January 1st, 2018, although the pesticide is already banned from use on county properties.
You can find out more about what’s happening to the bees in the video below: