What can I do?
There are many ways to promote stable bee populations while still maintaining your farm or garden. Minimize unnecessary use of insecticide treatments, especially those used in seeds. Use them only when needed, such as where historic pest infestations are above threshold or where high risk for pests have been anticipated or determined. There are also ways to structure home gardens to prevent insect invasions, which will in turn reduce the need for chemical insecticides. Natural insecticide home remedies can also be used in place of harsh chemicals. For an easy and convenient guide to boost native pollinator populations in your own home garden, check out the Garden Guide for Pollinators published by the Pollinator Partnership.
Educate your neighbors
Talk to your neighbors about reducing neonic usage. The Sierra Club Upper Valley group held a “Bees, or Not to Be” even last April to educate the public. See more about this event here.
You can also download fact sheets on pollinators and Pesticides and share them with friends and neighbors.
In 2014, Vermont Law School recently became the first neonicotinoid pesticide free higher education campus. Learn more about how they did that here.
Additionally, the cities of Spokane, Seattle and Thurston County, WA, Eugene and Portland, OR, Shorewood, St Louis, Andover and Stillwater, MN, and Ontario Canada have passed bills limiting the use of neonics, primarily on public property. See model resolutions here.
There are several bills going through the statehouse right now. Contact your legislator to tell them what you think!
Based on conversations in committee hearings and what we have learned from the bills’ sponsors, legislators seem to be inclined to take some legislative action this year to address this growing concern.
S.200 An Act relating to the use of neonicotinoid pesticides and H.236 An act relating to the use of neonicotinoid pesticides
These bills that would prohibit the sale and application of neonicotinoid pesticides, as well as seeds that are pre-coated with neonicotinoids, in Vermont. Much of the testimony has centered on research that indicates that neonicotinoids have been identified as one of the leading causes of the decline in bee health, affecting their flight, navigation, body movement, and life expectancy. Legislators have also learned that seeds, such as feed corn and soy beans pre-treated with neonicotinoids, are commonly used in Vermont, despite the fact that the agricultural pests that these pesticides are meant to kill are not prevalent in our state.
Introduced by Rep. David Deen, proposes to establish a “Pollinator Protection Advisory Committee” comprised of legislators, agency staff, academics, and citizen stakeholders. Again, because it is the second year of the biennium, it is possible that this bill, which currently mandates that the Advisory Committee produce a report and recommendations to the legislature by January 2017, will have more political traction than bills that would ban neonicotinoids outright.
See Beyond Pesticides Comments on S.200 here: BP Comments VT S 200 (2).
The European Union has signed a ban on the most popular neonicotinoids due to the decrease in pollinator populations. The EPA has agreed review the certifications regarding the safety of these neonics but has not taken any legal action. Tell the EPA to declare a moratorium on bee-killing pesticides.