The House of Delegates passed legislation Saturday intended to protect the state's honeybees from a class of pesticides that has been linked to a dramatic decline in their numbers.
The House measure would restrict the sale and use of a type of pesticides known as neonicotinoids. It allows exceptions for individuals certified to apply the pesticides and for farmers.
Delegates voted 96-39 to approve the bill, which has been sought by Maryland beekeepers. A version of the bill has passed the Senate, but the two measures would have to be reconciled before they could become law.
A 2015 survey showed that Maryland has had one of the largest declines of honeybees in the nation, with a 61 percent loss of colonies during the preceding year. Some studies have implicated neonicotinoids, but manufacturers contend they do not harm bees when properly used.