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Minnesota restricts neonicotinoids

by Britt E. Erickson
September 5, 2016 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 94, Issue 35

Credit: Shutterstock
Photo shows two bees on the center of a sunflower blossom.
Credit: Shutterstock

Minnesota now has the toughest restrictions in the U.S. on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides. When imposing these controls, the state claimed that the chemicals “present toxicity concerns for honeybees, native bees, as well as other pollinating insects.” In an Aug. 26 executive order, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) directed the state’s agriculture department to require pesticide applicators to show a “verification of need” before they spray neonicotinoids. “Bees and other pollinator populations have been in decline in Minnesota and across the country due to a variety of pressures including habitat loss, pesticides, diseases, and parasites,” the order states. A special review initiated in late 2013 by Minnesota’s agriculture department found evidence that neonicotinoids can be deadly for bees and other pollinators. The order doesn’t limit the use of seeds coated with neonicotinoids because the state does not have the authority to do so. Environmental groups are urging the state to adopt new legislation that would allow it to impose such restrictions on coated seeds as well as the dust released when treated seeds are planted.


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