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Efforts continue to quell the backlash over President Donald Trump’s changing statements on the Russia summit. Also on the Thursday rundown: protestors are out for Mike Pence’s visit to Missouri; and nobody wants to go, but one option is green burials.

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Report: Bees Continue to Decline in U.S.

Honeybee colonies in the United States declined dramatically last year, and advocates say that's not sustainable for agriculture in the U.S. (USDA)
Honeybee colonies in the United States declined dramatically last year, and advocates say that's not sustainable for agriculture in the U.S. (USDA)
May 13, 2016

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - U.S. beekeepers have reported losing nearly 44 percent of their colonies over the last year, according to an annual report just out.

Tiffany Finck-Haynes, food futures campaigner for Friends of the Earth, says that's too high to be sustainable for agriculture in this country. She blames the problem on climate change, loss of habitat and pesticides.

Finck-Haynes says this year Maryland became the first state to pass a bill to eliminate the consumer use of popular pesticides containing neonicotinoids, and Connecticut quickly followed.

Other cities and universities are also banning them, but she says it's going to take federal action.

"We're seeing a lot of action at the local and state level to restrict the use of pesticides," she says. "Hopefully, that will put some much needed pressure on EPA, the USDA and our members of Congress to take significant action."

The report is a collaboration between the Bee Informed Partnership, the Apiary Inspectors of America and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Finck-Haynes says people want to help but don't understand the labels on the plants they buy.

"Gardeners are pretty up in arms, saying, 'Whoa, wait a second. I thought I was going to the store, and if I bought a pollinator-friendly plant, that means that it's good for bees,'" she says. "Not realizing they could be creating a poisonous environment for bees in their backyard, not the safe haven they were envisioning."

Finck-Haynes says another thing consumers don't understand is that for more than 140 crops in the U.S., the seeds come pre-coated with pesticides.

She says the EPA is relying on states to pass laws protecting bees, and regulatory agencies are letting the pesticide industry pull the wool over their eyes instead of seeking solutions.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MD