Proposed Spokane pesticide ban could protect honey bees

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by KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on June 16, 2014 at 5:45 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 16 at 6:54 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.-- The Spokane City Council planned to propose an ordinance Monday that would ban City departments from using a new class of pesticides, considered harmful to honey bees.

Beepekeers across the country, including the owner of Milller’s Homestead near Cheney, believe neonicotinoids have an adverse effect on the health of honey bees.

The State Department of Agriculture does not have a ban in place for the nicotine-based pesticides that have been widely used since 2005. Miller’s Homestaed owner James Miller said neonicotinoids are designed to kill various insects that destroy agricultural crops.

Miller had tens of thousands of honeybees working in his hives.  Beekeepers like him reported losing 40% to 50% of their hives, on average, to neonicotinoids.

“It’s not just the honey bees, it’s the native pollinators,” Miller said. “It’s the monarch butterfly, and then the next question is, what it’s doing to fruits and vegetables that you and I are eating. What it’s doing to us.”

The Spokane City Council drafted an ordinance that will ban the purchase and use of six types of neonicotinoids within City departments. It cited the pesticides as harmful, if not lethal, to honey bees.

In 2013, the Washington State Department of Agriculture declined a request from Thurston County to restrict use of the pesticides.  An official with the department told KREM 2 News it was working on educating homeowners about neonicotinoids and supporting research being done by Washington State University. 

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