Colorado Bill Aims To Protect ‘Our Most Important Pollinators’

(CBS4) — On Friday morning, Colorado state legislators, environmental advocates and beekeepers announced the introduction of a bill to protect bees. They call the bees “our most important pollinators.”

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Rep. Sonya Jaquez Lewis (D-Longmont), is one of the bills sponsors and says the message is simple — if we don’t have bees, we don’t have food. That’s why she and other state leaders are taking action.

Jaquez Lewis comes from a ranching and farming family and says the impact of the declining bee population in has impacted her personally.

“It is absolutely proven. We have many studies that show neonics are very toxic — 5,000 to 10,000 times more deadly to bees than DDT. There are municipalities in Colorado that have already banned it, and we have three states that have already done it. Other states are looking at it, so we know that we’re on the right track,” she said.

Sonya Jaquez Lewis (credit: CBS)

Local bee expert Gregg McMahan from Rocky Mountain Bee makes his living off honey bees and runs a bee rescue.

“The bee’s cluster inside, (they keep it) nice and warm. The keep the queen at 55 degrees,” he said while showing one of his hives.

With his life’s work revolving around bees, he’s keeping a close eye on the new bill.

“The regulations are great for all of our native bees. We have 950 species of native bees, they are the ones we have to worry about,” McMahan said.

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While he knows there are other contributing factors he supports the new proposal that takes aim on specific chemicals

“Neonics are pervasive in a lot of insecticides. You can go to Lowe’s or Home Depot or any gardening supply company and they’ll be on the shelves,” Jaquez Lewis said.

And while beekeepers like McMahan welcome stronger regulations, he says it’s about balance.

“We do need to find the happy medium in between using our pesticides properly. I think it’s a smart thing to start opening our eyes a little more, and I think this bill starts to help that to happen,” he said.