As concerns over sustaining local bee populations persist, California's Department of Pesticide Regulation wants to reduce the amount of pesticide use that is deadly to bees.
The main bee-killer pesticides are called neonicotinoids, a chemical used to protect plants from unwanted pests like aphids. Neonicotinoids are the most widely used pesticides in the world, but the 14th most used in California. Still, thousands of pounds of this chemical are used throughout the state every year.
The new restrictions would prohibit the use of this type of pesticide for non-agricultural purposes such as in homes, yards, or outdoor areas. Residential use restrictions are expected to be in effect in 2024. States like Maine and New Jersey already have similar restrictions in place.
Agricultural use of these pesticides would be more heavily regulated and use would depend on the type of crop and the presence of pollinators like honey bees. Currently, there is no set date to enact these regulations on California's agricultural industry.
California is America's top producer of agricultural goods. Opponents of this regulatory change in the agriculture industry claim this may affect crops that are typically sprayed with neonicotinoids like almonds, grapes, walnuts, tomatoes, and strawberries.