Responding to a critical drop in United States honeybee populations, which are vital to crop production, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that it will begin issuing temporary pesticide restrictions in areas where bees are feeding.
The federal rule would create temporary pesticide restricted zones when certain plants are in bloom in areas where bees are maintained by professional beekeepers. The majority of honeybees in the U.S are raised by professionals.
The pesticide ban would only be in place during the time the plant is in bloom and the bees are there, and would only apply to the property where the bees are working, not neighboring farms.
The ban would apply to almost all insecticides, which would cover more than 1,000 products and 76 different chemical compounds, according to Jim Jones, the EPA’s assistant administrator for chemical safety and pollution prevention.
The ban comes on the heels of research into bee colony collapse that suggests the nicotine-like pesticide neonicotinoid is responsible for many bee deaths. The chemical would be included in the proposed ban.
The purpose of the plan is “to create greater space between chemicals that are toxic to bees and the bees,” Jones told reporters.
The plan is the latest part of a multi-part push by the Obama administration to help decimated bee populations.
The damage to bee colonies has been devastating, with a new federal survey finding that beekeepers lost more than 40 percent of their colonies last year.