Pesticides are one of the main reasons why bee populations have plummeted at an incredible rate in the past couple of years. In Vermont, for example, beekeepers reported losing an average of 57 percent of their hives from 2017 to 2018, and that’s even higher than the national average of 40 percent loss over the same time period.
The good news is that Vermont may soon witness a halt in this downturn pattern as state legislators have passed a law restricting pesticides known to harm bees and other pollinators. The bill specifically targets neonicotinoid pesticides, which are systemic in nature, meaning that the chemicals make the entire plant, pollen, and nectar toxic. Neonicotinoids stay present in the environment for months or years after application and even in small amounts, these pesticides kill bees and harm wildlife, including birds, and invertebrates like worms.