On April 7, Maryland became the first state to ban the consumer use of neonicotinoid pesticides. Bravo Maryland! Neonicotinoid is a class of chemicals that include seven different chemicals. Many studies have shown that neonicotinoids cause honey bee deaths.
The bill had bipartisan support. In a 2015 survey, 78 percent of Maryland voters favored restricting consumer use of neonicotinoids. And for good reason. Last year Maryland lost more than 61 percent of their hives. This was twice the national average and far more than the sustainable 10 percent loss. Honey bee pollination in Maryland is valued annually at $26 million.
The prohibition on neonics does not apply to certified applicators, farmers, or veterinarians.
In January 2016, the EPA confirmed that the neonicotinoid imidacloprid is highly toxic to bees. They have yet to test the other neonicotinoid chemicals.
How to Spot Neonics
Currently there are more than 500 neonicotinoid products on the market. See this list for some neonic products. If you would like to avoid using a neonic, read the ingredient list. Look for any of the following ingredients: imidacloprid, clothianidin, acetamiprid, thiacloprid, dinotefuran, thiamethoxam, and nitenpyram. (Note: The label will not say neonicotinoid.) As a gardener, I know that these chemicals are not needed and that we can have beautiful spaces without them. Switch to organic methods.
The following states have considered or are considering banning neonicotinoids in the 2015-2016 legislative sessions: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Virginia and Vermont.
Maryland’s law is good news for bees. Will your state follow?