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'Pollinator Protection Act' won't save the bees

Bee losses probably are caused by a combination of stressors

I am writing to oppose passage of the Pollinator Protection Act in Maryland's General Assembly this year ("Maryland measure seeks to protect bees from pesticides," Feb. 17).

I use very few pesticides at my home in Prince Georges County. Those I do use are incorporated as part of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. I do use Imidacloprid in my greenhouse during the winter months. I am also a beekeeper and have nesting blocks for native pollinators.

As far as I know, every pollinator "kill" associated with a Neonicotinoid pesticide was attributed to the misuse of the pesticide. The proper use of pesticides reduces unintended consequences drastically.

There is some consensus that honey bee losses are likely caused by a combination of stresses, including poor nutrition, loss of forage land, parasites and pathogens, lack of genetic diversity and, yes, pesticides.

One well accepted bad guy is the parasitic Varroa mite, which kills honey bee colonies. The decline of native pollinators is likely due to the loss of suitable habitat.

House Bill 605 would ban my use of Neonicotinoids (I have advanced degrees in entomology, but I am not a certified commercial pesticide applicator). But it would have little or no added benefit to the health of honey bees or other pollinators and it will unnecessarily burden the nursery and greenhouse industry.

Moreover, HB 605 would also restrict the use of Neonicotinoids for other registered uses, such as termite control, where bees are not exposed.

If additional research implicates Neonicotinoids as a culprit in pollinator decline, we might be able to correct the situation by eliminating some uses, like application to a flowering plant when pollinators are feeding on the nectar and pollen.

William F Gimpel Jr., Bowie

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