Stillwater seeks approval for raising bees

The residents of Stillwater want to become a pollinator friendly community. There was a city council meeting regarding this concern on Sept. 16. The Honey Bee Club of Stillwater wanted a bill to pass that would protect the bees by requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to suspend the use of four of the pesticides belonging to the neonicotinoid class because they can kill bees outright or at low doses cause harm to bees immune system, navigation and foraging. People should not be using  neonicotinoids. Bees play a crucial role in the environment and should not be living in fear.

Pollination occurs when pollen is moved within flowers or carried from flower to flower by pollinating animals such as birds, bees, bats, butterflies, moths and beetles. Pollination is important because plants grown for food, and medicines need to be pollinated by animals in order to be produced.

For example, apples, blueberries, coffee, chocolate, potatoes and other items are produced with the help of pollinators.

“If you use the chemical you can find it in the soil, plant tissues and the pulp that the plant makes. Insects and pollinators are dying when they come in contact with this chemical.””

— Andy Weaver

There is disturbing evidence that pollinating animals have suffered from loss of habitat, chemical misuse, invasive plant and animal species, diseases and parasites. There are ways the issues can be resolved.

Since 2006, beekeepers have been reporting annual losses around 30-50 percent of the bee population.

Mayor of Stillwater Ken Harycki explained, “The decline of bees is noticeable at my house in that I have plum trees which have not borne fruit in three years. The issue is getting a lot of attention and if there is something that we can do or change at the city level it makes sense to do it.”

Neonicotinoids are a systemic agricultural insecticide resembling nicotine.

Biology teacher Andy Weaver said, “If you use the chemical you can find it in the soil, plant tissues and the pulp that the plant makes. Insects and pollinators are dying when they come in contact with this chemical.”

Rose Floral has neonic0tinoid free nurseries.

Senior Sofia Mattson, works at Rose Floral. She explained, “For the past two years the owner decided to ban the chemical due to all the research that has came out, even though it costs us more to have something that is not neonicotinoid.”

There are ways people can support their local pollinators.

Weaver explained, “First of all, do not use neonicotinoids. Secondly plant common milkweed or bee friendly plants that can provide nectar. Insects need nectar year-round.”

Senior Andrea Rustad did her Girl Scout Gold Award project on Monarch butterflies.

Rustad said, “I got involved in the Pollinator Friendly Stillwater Project through my own project. We both try to support Monarch butterflies, bees and the prevention of neonicotinoids.”

The insecticides Clothianidin, Dinotefuran, Imidacloprid, Nitenpyram, Thiocloprid, Thiamethoxam and Acetamiprid include neonicotinoids. To find out whether an insecticide is a neonicotinoid, look on the list of active ingredients. The goal of being a pollinator friendly community is to support all the local pollinators. The first step is being aware of the problem, then coming up with ideas to be a part of the solution.