Beekeepers swarmed to the Capitol on Jan. 29 to testify against a bill that would have put a 2-mile no-hive zone around North Dakota homes, day care centers and schools, a restriction industry leaders say would have ended beekeeping in the state.
Honeybees, crucial in the pollination of many U.S. crops, are still dying off at an worrisome rate, even though fewer were lost over the past winter, according to a government report issued on Thursday.
Seventeen DFL legislators rebuked the state Department of Agriculture late last week over its planned review of the controversial pesticides implicated in the decline in honeybees, arguing that the study should include the possibility of restricting or even banning them in Minnesota.
A pioneering European Union survey into the impact of pests and diseases on honeybees found death rates were lower than feared, in part countering concerns about the collapse of colonies of the crop-pollinating insects.
A group of Minnesota beekeepers on March 5 asked state agriculture officials to suspend the use of corn seeds treated with certain pesticides.
The petition, signed by 40 beekeepers, blames neonicotinoid pesticides for killing honeybees.
North Dakota, which has long led the nation in honey production, has developed guidelines for farmers, ranchers, landowners and beekeepers to better protect honeybees and help reverse the effects of a mysterious disorder that has vastly eroded the insects’ population in recent years.
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