It’s no secret that honeybees are an integral part of earth’s ecosystem. It’s also no secret that bees are in danger — particularly in Maryland. But lawmakers have come up with a legislative solution that just might save them yet. As a recent Washington Post headline read: “Maryland’s honeybees are being massacred, and the weapon might be in your house.”
Indeed, in the last year, Maryland lost more than 60% of its hives, each containing up to 20,000 honeybees, largely because of pesticides.
And Maryland is, unfortunately, not alone. Several states across the United States have been experiencing major hive losses that have officially been dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder. While researchers have not yet been able to specifically pinpoint the cause of colony collapse and bee deaths, most agree that pesticides are one of the top contributors and are detrimental to the livelihood of honeybees — namely, neonicotinoids.
Neonicitinoids are defined by treehugger.com as “a potent class of systemic pesticides” that were officially introduced into the agricultural world in the 1990s. Recently, neonicotinoids have been used more readily, because they had been thought to be the least impactful on bees.
However, with increasing consumer use, beekeepers have been noticing an increase in bee deaths and colony collapse. Some products that contain this class of pesticides include Knockout Ready-to-Use Grub Killer, Ortho Bug B Gon, and All-In-One Rose Flower Care.
Currently, the Environmental Protection Agency is working to find the link between several varieties of Neonic insecticides and Colony Collapse Disorder. However, these findings will only be available come 2018.
Years ago, a team of global scientists reviewed 1,121 independent studies, and ultimately concluded that neonics and bee decline are strongly related. Furthermore, they said that the pesticide should be restricted.
Now, Maryland legislation has been passed in both upper and lower chambers to ban the insecticide, and will soon be signed by Gov. Larry Hogan. This is the first legislation in the country to ban Neonic pesticides.
Del. Anne Healy, D-Prince George’s County, authored the bill’s House version. She feels that the new law would set a precedent for other states to 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,” said Healey in a statement, “it will take more than good intentions to preserve and protect bees and other pollinators.”
There are other ways that homeowners can save the planet, such as investing in energy star windows that are not only more energy efficient but can lower utility costs by up to 15%.