Save America’s Wildlife

Digger bees are digging a new law in New York

In a move that will help all bees, Gov. Hochul signs Birds and Bees Protection Act to restrict bee-killing pesticides coated onto seeds.

Save the bees

Tom Koerner/USFWS | Public Domain
A digger bee at a national wildlife refuge.

Digger bees are the most common bee in New York. They nest in the ground and spend their days above the dirt, flitting from flower to flower. Like all other bees in the Empire State, they recently got some good news. Thanks to the signature of Gov. Hochul on the Birds and Bees Protection Act, New York has a new law that restricts bee-killing pesticides that are coated onto seeds. 

Bees are dying. Honey bees. Wild bees. Consider the American bumble bee, which has seen its population fall by 90% and has gone missing in multiple states. 

A changing climate, habitat loss, and bee-killing pesticides are the culprits, which is why a new law in New York has gardeners, nature-lovers and bee-enthusiasts buzzing. 

The Birds and Bees Protection Act, signed by Gov. Hochul on Dec. 22, restricts the practice of coating seeds with a class of bee-killing pesticides called neonicotinoids, or “neonics” for short. NRDC finds that the law will eliminate 80-90% of the neonics entering the environment in New York. 

The practice of coating seeds with bee-killing pesticides has been a thorny one to tackle. At the federal level, the EPA has said that pesticide coatings aren’t considered pesticides – a loophole if ever there was one. And this basic rubric has been passed down to the states. 

The New York law gets to the heart of the issue, recognizing that these pesticide coatings are a serious problem and restricting them. 

We offer a big congrats to the bill’s primary sponsors, Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal and Assemblymember Deborah Glick, and a big thank you to Governor Hochul. 

The Empire State is now more bee-friendly. Moreover, New York has provided other states with another roadmap for protecting bees.

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