It’s a well known and mysterious problem – bee populations all over the United States down.
You don’t have to be an expert in environmental science or biodiversity to know that bees play a vital role in our environment. In fact, as much as three quarters of the global food crop is pollinated by bees. Remove bees from the equation and you have a real problem to say the least.
Howard County Bee Population Down
There is no doubt diminishing bee populations exist here in Howard County, too. According to a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, honey production in Maryland was down 12% last year. This certainly harms farmers and consumers who depend on locally-sourced produce.
Kittleman Takes Steps to Protect Howard County Bee Population and Other Insects
On June 16th, 2016, County Executive Allan Kittleman officially announced a new policy that would limit the use of neonicotinoids – a class of insecticides shown to negatively impact bee populations – by the Department of Recreation & Parks.
The new policy restricts the use of neocointinoids and encourages the use of alternative means of controlling pest populations. By drastically eliminating the amount of neocointinoids used at our parks and around the county, local environmental advocates believe this policy can help increase local bee populations.
“Many of us have heard about the decreasing numbers of both honey bees and monarch butterflies. While the EPA continues to look at the potential negative impacts of neonicotinoids, the Department of Recreation & Parks has crafted a policy that is practical and sets forth guidelines for those instances when there is no other option but to use neonicotinoids. We hope that this new policy will encourage the entire community to use alternative means to control pests.” – Allan Kittleman
Currently, the Department of Parks & Recreation makes little use of insecticides.
“We use very few pesticides in our parks and under strict and specific application procedures regulated by the State…There are alternatives to neonicotinoids that have no negative or unintended impacts to pollinators so it just makes sense to do this.” said John Byrd, Director, Howard County Parks & Recreation (source: HowardCountyMD.gov).
Local environmental advocates agree with the Kittleman Administration’s approach.
“This is a great step in the right direction….When the state bill comes into effect, Howard County Maryland will be one of the safest places in the country for pollinators.” – said Meagan Braganca, Legislative Chair for the Sierra Club Howard County (source: HowardCountyMD.gov).
The new policy will benefit the ecosystem here in Howard County and surrounding areas as well. The Baltimore Sun has a great article on the Administration’s policy as well, which can be viewed here. For more information this new policy addressing the Howard County bee population, click here.
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