California bans bee-killing chemicals on state lands

By Michael Doyle | 06/12/2024 01:15 PM EDT

“It certainly took longer than we would have hoped,” said Earthjustice attorney Greg Loarie.

A honeybee pollinates a flower on a lamb's ear plant.

A honeybee pollinates a flower on a lamb's ear plant on May 16, 2021, in San Anselmo, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Persistent environmentalists have won a long-sought victory with the California Fish and Game Commission’s imposition of a ban on the use of bee-killing neonicotinoid insecticides on the state’s refuges and other public lands.

Prompted by a long-ago 2017 petition filed by the American Bird Conservancy, the state commission has finalized rules banning the so-called neonics as of July 1. The prohibition covers 1.1 million acres of fish and wildlife habitat, ecological reserves and wildlife areas.

Neonics are a class of “systemic” insecticides that are absorbed into plants and turn them toxic. Neonics are lethal to many invertebrates including butterflies, bees, earthworms and mayflies, which in turn provide food sources for birds and other wildlife.


“It certainly took longer than we would have hoped and would have expected, but unfortunately, sometimes these wheels of bureaucracy turn more slowly than you would expect,” Earthjustice attorney Greg Loarie said in an interview.