The Pollinator Protection Act
March 17, 2017
The state of the bumblebee population has been a growing concern, with news of the Rusty Patch Bumble Bee being put on the endangered insects list in the United States this past January. The Rusty Patch was a familiar sight to anyone until the mid 2000's, when months would pass without it being reported as seen. It was the dominant bee species from the East, Mid, and Northern states of the U.S. but is now on the watch for activity. With this news, North Carolina officials have jumped to action with the new house bill, The Pollinator Protection Act.
What Exactly Is The The Pollinator Protection Act?
A new house bill has been filed, H.B. 363, and is North Carolina's first step at curbing the declining honey bee populations. The bill reflects the importance honey bees have for farmers and nature alike, noting that "...one-third of food produced in North America depends on pollination..."
The bill states the discovered harm of pesticides which use neonicotinoid, and how it affects honey bees. Neonicotinoid, as the name might suggest, uses a chemical nicotine base against insects. It is much more effective towards insects than any other creature safe from it's composition. It has become popular due to it's ability to easily mix with water, making it easy to water onto the soil for plants to absorb and insects to consume through the plants.
Honey bees act as though they suffer from dementia when exposed to neonicotinoid. Affected honey bees will forget where their hive is, where they are, or how to navigate properly to safety. It is believed to contribute to the declining populations because of this interference honey bees experience when gathering pollen from plants treated with neonicotinoid.
It has also been discovered that seed affected with the chemical has started to cause harm to birds who regularly eat seeds as part of their diet.
What H.B. 363 looks to accomplish is restricting the public and company use of products that have any trace of neonicotinoid. There are certain situations in which these products can still be used, but it is with authorization under this house bill, and only available to select professions such as farmers or pest control specialists.
The bill also states that the State of North Carolina will be reviewing EPA studies on the chemical. The EPA will have the ability to give recommendations and risk assessments to make the best choices regarding the use of neonicotinoid.
The Future Of Honey Bees
The decline of the honey bee population is one that has been slowly raising alarm to the public. Beekeepers and farmers have been noticing the effects already, and speaking on the issue to raise awareness. We depend more on honey bees than we know, and without them we could find ourselves without certain types of fruit and vegetables in the future. If you want to aid in the restoration of the bee population, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife services have put out a webpage listing the different things you can do. It includes guides and information on what you can do and how to do it, so that you can actively take part at your own home to help the honeybees.