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"Bee-ing" an Advocate to Save Pollinators Beyond Earth Day

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Friday, April 23, 2021   

HARTFORD, Conn. - Even though Earth Day has passed, groups advocating for bees hope people will continue to take steps to save these pollinators.

Bee populations saw a 60% decline between 1947 and 2008. In 2016, Connecticut became the first state in the nation to enact legislation that restricts neonicotinoids, a category of pesticides that can be fatal to bees.

Malia Libby, an associate with the Save the Bees campaign at Environment America, said eliminating "neonics" in backyards, gardens and parks is one of several ways to help bees.

"But these pesticides are really persistent as well," said Libby. "They'll last in the soil or groundwater for years after they were last applied. So, the sooner we can get rid of them, stop putting them out into the environment, the sooner we'll be able to see those benefits."

Libby pointed to a 2018 report showing even after the European Union placed a moratorium on neonics, the residue continued to show up in honey samples.

She said for this reason, it's too soon to see the impacts of the restrictions in Connecticut and other states.

Libby said the next Farm Bill, due in 2023, is another area of focus for Environment America. The group hopes to see the U.S. transition to more sustainable agriculture systems that would create less dependence on pesticides in the first place.

"Systems like crop rotations, cover crops and prairie strips, we're really interested in," said Libby. "Because they have a really high potential of decreasing the amount of pesticides that farmers need to input into their farming process."

Libby emphasized that anyone can also do their part to help pollinators, by building suitable habitats in their own communities.

"Always planting natives is a great way of doing so, as well as planting a diverse set of plants," said Libby. "This gives bees a wide variety of food options to choose from, and ensures that the plants that they might need to survive are probably there."

She adds Environment America has a list of everyday activities for anyone who wants to help the bees, and appreciate the Earth as a whole, on the group's website, 'environmentamerica.org.'


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