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Boulder, CO Adopts Legislation to Protect Bees

May 07, 2015

Bee Colony Collapse

Colorado City Adopts “Bee Safe” Resolution

This past Tuesday, Boulder City Council members unanimously voted to adopt new legislation that will bar use of neonicotinoid pesticides within city limits, unless to save valuable or older trees. An article posted on DailyCamera.com explains that this type of pesticide contains synthetic nicotine as a neurotoxin to stun and ultimately kill insects and pests. While this in harmful to insects such as honey bees, many of the plants these pesticides are used on come pre-treated against neonicotinoids.

With the recent resurgence of Colony Collapse Disorder, a mysterious condition that has been affecting and reducing honeybee populations across the county, more concern has been placed on whether or not these harmful neonicotinoids are to blame. While the passing of this legislation will not have a large impact on the city’s regulations or prevent use of neonicotinoids on private property, bee advocates are optimistic that the adoption of this bill by Boulder, CO, is a step in the right direction.

"Boulder plans to provide a model for how other cities can tackle this problem," said Molly Greacen of Bee Safe Boulder. Greacen also noted that part of the legislation is to inform scientists and the public when the city is planning to use neonicotinoids on valuable trees and also that monitoring the local water supply, namely Boulder Creek, for contaminants is also in the overall plan. While use of neonicotinoids will not be prohibited on private property, the city council will work to discourage it.

While this legislation is working to better protect the honeybee population, there are some who oppose the recent changes. Ryan Riley of the Colorado Pest Control Association feels as though neonicotinoids are crucial in controlling insects which have become immune to other control treatments. Riley states that the use of neonicotinoids inside buildings has little environmental impact. "Let me bring it home for you," Riley said in his interview. "Bed bugs. The one tool we have left in the toolbox is neonicotinoids."

With the stance on neonicotinoids still up in the air between both sides of the issue, Boulder, CO, has made a conscious decision to limit its use in order to help protect and sustain local honey bee populations. While the use of neonicotinoids is still permissible on private property and in special circumstances, there is much more transparency around their use and bee advocacy groups such as Bee Safe Boulder understand that this is just a step in the right direction.

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