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Maryland General Assembly

Md. Senate passes bee-killing pesticide ban

Rachel Baye

The state Senate on Wednesday passed a ban on pesticides that are believed to endanger bee populations. The measure would prevent stores from selling certain products that contain the chemical, known as neonicotinoids.

A January report from the Environmental Protection Agency found that the chemicals harm honeybees when used on cotton plants and citrus trees, though not on other crops, including corn and tobacco.

Michelle Danoff, a beekeeper of 30 years, said she has seen the effect firsthand at her home in Edgewater.

“In the last five years, I’ve had numerous declines," she said. "A third of our food is contributed to the pollination of bees."

She said Maryland saw a 61-percent loss in bee populations last year.

Opponents raised concerns about banning common household products, such as bed bug treatments and flea and tick meds for pets. As a result, legislators explicitly left those products out of the ban, applying it only to those products used outdoors. The measure also exempts farmers.

Still, Senate Minority Leader J.B. Jennings, who represents Baltimore and Harford counties, warned that the ban is premature because the research on the chemicals is still relatively new.