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Minnesota sets broadest U.S. limits on neonicotinoids

Staff Writer | August 29, 2016
Minnesota’s governor ordered the broadest restrictions yet in a U.S. state on the use of agricultural pesticides that have been blamed for hurting bees.
Pollinators   Honeybees have been in serious decline
Governor Mark Dayton issued an executive order that requires farmers to verify that they face “an imminent threat of significant crop loss" before using the chemicals called neonicotinoids.

Minnesota, the country’s third-largest soybean producer, carried out a special review of neonicotinoids that prompted the new limits, the first U.S. state to do so.

Honeybees have been in serious decline in the U.S. for three decades, threatening billions of dollars in crops. In recent years, their death rate has become economically unsustainable, according to the U.S. government.

A survey of more than 20,000 honey beekeepers conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and released in May showed there were 2.59 million or 8% fewer honey bee colonies on January 1, 2016, than the 2.82 million a year earlier for beekeeper operations with five or more colonies.

Honeybees pollinate plants that produce about a quarter of the food consumed by Americans.