Minnesota Cracks Down On Neonic Pesticides, Promising Aid To Bees

It’s been four years since scientists first startedaccusing a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids, or neonics for short, of killingbees. These pesticides are used as seed coatings on most corn and soybean seeds.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is taking a new look at neonics, but it hasn’t imposed any new restrictions on the pesticides.

Now Minnesota is stepping ahead on its own. Last Friday, Gov. Mark Dayton ordered a variety of steps to help pollinators, including bees. Several of those steps involve restrictions on neonics.

If Minnesotans want to spray neonics on plants, for instance, they now need to go through an additional step, verifying that the pesticides are needed. The state’s Department of Agriculture also will increase inspections and enforcement efforts to make sure that any pesticides that are highly toxic to bees — including neonics — are being used according to regulations.