Maryland Measure Seeks to Protect Bees from Pesticides - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Maryland Measure Seeks to Protect Bees from Pesticides

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Some Maryland lawmakers want to better protect bees from certain pesticides, but opponents testified Tuesday that it's unclear whether the pesticides are causing a drop in bee populations.

The Pollinator Protection Act would require any plants, seeds or nursery stock treated with certain pesticides to include a warning label. It also seeks to prevent people who are not experienced with using the pesticides, which are known as "neonics," from using them. Supporters say the intent of the legislation is to diminish the widespread use of the pesticide to stop the decline of honeybees.

"The critical issues are neonic pesticides are a major contributor to honeybee decline, resulting in Maryland beekeepers losing nearly 50 percent of their hives in 2012," said Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, who is sponsoring the bill.

The pesticides are now sold retail, and supporters of the bill say homeowners shouldn't be able to use it on their lawns and gardens.

The pesticides would only be available for sale to certified applicators, farmers or veterinarians, under the bill.

Opponents say there's no definitive proof the pesticides kill bees.

"We can tell you one thing. It will have a devastating economic effect on our industry," said Joe Miedusiewski, a lobbyist who represents landscapers, horticulturalists and golf course superintendents.

The measure also is being sponsored by Del. Anne Healey, a Montgomery County Democrat.

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