New Law to Protect Bees Flies Through Committee

The House Energy and Environment Committee today advanced a bill, sponsored by Representative Cathy Kipp, that will protect bees and other pollinators by regulating the use of certain types of pesticides. The bill passed by a vote of 7-4. 

“Bees and other pollinators are incredibly important for our environment and the future health of our state and planet,” said Rep. Kipp, D-Fort Collins. “The nature that we enjoy all year round depends on our delicate ecosystems remaining in balance. By regulating the use of these pesticides, we can protect pollinators and our Colorado way of life.” 

HB20-1180 would protect bees and other pollinators throughout the state by requiring the commissioner of agriculture to regulate the use of neonicotinoid and sulfoximine pesticides.  The exception to the regulation would be the use of these pesticides for indoor use as pest control, personal and pet care products as well as for commercial and other qualified applicators or limited uses. If in the future, the commissioner finds a similar product that is comparable to the effectiveness of neonicotinoid and sulfoximine pesticides, the commissioner may adopt rules to disallow the use of neonicotinoid and sulfoximine pesticides for personal, pest control or pet care use. 

On May 20, 2019, the EPA announced the cancellation of a dozen pesticides that are known to be harmful to bees. This included neonicotinoid pesticides. According to an article by Bloomberg Government, neonicotinoids attack the nervous system of insects. Neonic pesticides are also systemic, meaning they make an entire plant poisonous to pollinators. The European Union has banned the outdoor use of five neonicotinoid pesticides. 

According to Science Magazine, sulfoximine pesticides also act on nicotine receptors but avoid the pitfalls of neonicotinoid pesticides because they bypass some pesticide resistance in certain insects. A preliminary study conducted by Nature Research found that exposure to reduced “reproductive success” in bees, however, more data is needed to form a definitive conclusion.   

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