White House: Pesticide Limits May Be Needed to Save Bees

Additional restrictions on pesticides may be needed to save honeybees and other pollinators that have been devastated over the past decade, a White House task force said.

The government also should step up efforts to increase habitat for bees, butterflies and other species crucial to agriculture while boosting research on rapid population declines, the task force said in its report Tuesday. Efforts to boost pollinator populations will require a 70 percent increase in U.S. spending, to $82.5 million next year, the group said.

“Mitigating the effects of pesticides on bees is a priority for the federal government, as both bee pollination and insect control are essential to the success of agriculture,” the report said. “These complex considerations mandate care in all pesticide application.”

President Barack Obama created the group last June to examine the causes of declines in the populations of bees, Monarch butterflies and other species and to craft strategies to reverse the losses. U.S. beekeepers last week reported 42 percent of their honeybees died in the past year, the second- highest since complete records began being kept in 2010.