Update on Neonics

Practicing beekeeping for over 20 years, I have seen the precipitous decline in bee populations. I just lost all three of my beehives this past year, more than at any time in my beekeeping career. Yes, I can replace them, but it is costly at about $180 for each mini beehive nuc. At that point, it becomes an expensive hobby! Last year, according to the USDA, my state of Maryland lost 61% of their honeybee populations, which is two times higher than the national average.

A newly installed package of bees in the spring
This pesticide contains neonics

Segue into what is making it problematic in keeping bees and that is the continued use of neonics (neonicotonoids), a systemic pesticide that persists in all the plant parts,  plus habitat loss. So, are you seeing products containing neonics in stores? You shouldn’t be in Maryland, where I live. As of May 31, 2017, there is a state ban on consumer use of neonicotinoid pesticides  slated to take effect Jan. 1, 2018, after Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan  announced that he will allow S.B. 198/H.B. 211 to become law without his signature. Maryland is actually set to be the first state in the U.S. to ban neonicotinoids for consumer usage. However, it’s important to note that other pesticides affect bees too, and we will have to do much more than simply banning this class of pesticides. As of Jan 1, 2018, all such products containing neonics should have been removed in the state of Maryland.

Don’t spray herbicides on your dandelions-let the bees gather nectar and pollen from them

Check your store and the label of common products (such as Bayer Rose & Flower Care) for neonic chemicals with ingredient names like: acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, thiacloprid, thiamethoxam, nitenpyram, and nithiazine. If you see a product containing any of these chemicals, please take a picture with your phone and send in the store name, location and date to Maryland Dept. of Agriculture Pesticide Regulation Program, Dennis Howard, email: dennis.howard@maryland.gov.

Dead honeybee

Unfortunately, the legislation does include exceptions for farmers and veterinarians, though it still marks a step in the right direction. Another exception involves pet care products, particularly those related to fleas, mites, ticks, and heartworms. Anyone who violates this rule will be forced to pay a $250 fine. Homeowners are known for applying extremely high levels of neonics by not following directions and thinking that the more insecticide they apply the better.

Neonicotinoid pesticides contribute to mortality of all pollinators such as bees, birds and butterflies. Non-pesticide-related threats — loss of forage or parasites — are made worse by neonicotinoid exposure.

Pesticide use affects all our pollinators; go to Neonic-Pesticide Free Nurseries

Pollinator extinction poses a huge threat to food security, because about 75 percent of all foods crops require a pollinator to grow.

Spurred by the high level of bee losses, several cities have enacted outright bans on neonicotinoids. Several states, like California, Alaska, New York, and Massachusetts, are currently considering legislation that would ban neonicotinoids, though none of the proposals have made it through the state’s legislature.

I found these still on the shelf at a local Big Box Store in Maryland and emailed the State of Maryland

11 Replies to “Update on Neonics”

  1. You have many followers, with this post & video it shows a picture of a staggering decline of one of our best pollinators! Consumer beware of labeling, read it and act upon it and then lets see an upswing in our pollinators, it can’t be to soon!

  2. Are you saying that the use of flea and heart worm products contribute to the decline of the bee population? I am so concerned about that idea. Are there alternative products that can protect my pets? As well as the bees?

    1. No, the use of neonics in pet products won’t affect the bees. Bees visit plants that are sprayed with neonics, so that is their contact with neonics

  3. Thanks so much for keeping us updated on Neonics. We are watching our labels closely, and even printed out a list of the common Neonics to ensure they are not in our products.

  4. I never spray my fruit trees until after all blossom s are gone. But I used Bayer Systemic .Rose fertilizer. Is this bad?

  5. When Maryland’s State Dept of Agriculture sprays for mosquitoes, how safe is the solution that they use?
    Also, there is an all natural product called Mosquito Beater to spay in the yard. Has anyone tried it? Is it effective? Our neighborhood is collecting money now so answer promptly, please!

    1. Mosquito beater is non-toxic and safe to use. But I don’t know about the solution used by MD State. You would need to contact them

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