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Government

Illinois Scientist Praises Strategy To Reverse Declining Bee Population

A White House “national strategy” to reverse America’s declining honeybee and monarch butterfly populations is being praised by a University of Illinois scientist known for her research on the subject.

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Credit flickr user Paul Rollings / "Honeybees" / (CC BY 2.0) / http://bit.ly/1BavCmT
/

University of Illinois entomologist May Berenbaum says the plan is, to her knowledge, the federal government’s first comprehensive effort to address the decline in the number of pollinating insects.

“This appears to be really a landmark --- I don’t know how much will be implemented. That’s politics. At least the plan is there. And it is eminently feasible.”

The White House plan calls for more research dollars aimed at reducing losses in honey bee colonies, and increasing monarch butterfly populations. It would also require federal agencies to grow plants on federal lands that provide better food for pollinating insects.

Not everyone concerned about the decline in bee populations and other pollinators likes the White House strategy. The group Friends of the Earth says the federal government needs to suspend the use of what it calls “systemic bee-killing pesticides”. The White House plan doesn’t do that, but it would bar new uses for the pesticides in question, while researching their safety.

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