Friday, July 20 , 2018, 12:12 pm | Overcast 66º


Williams Introduces Assembly Bill Designed to Protect Declining Bee Populations

Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, has introduced a bill designed to protect bees and support the state’s food system.

One in three bites of food Americans eat rely on bees, and scientists worry that bees are declining at an unprecedented rate, which poses a threat to backyard gardeners and agricultural operations alike. AB 1789 would set a timeline for the Department of Pesticide Regulation to determine whether the pesticide neonicotinoids are driving bee die-offs across the country.

The Santa Barbara Beekeepers Association is sponsoring the bill.

“These chemicals have been banned in the European Union, and it is only appropriate that their use be conditional on good scientific evidence,” said Todd Bebb of the Beekeepers Association.

The Santa Barbara Beekeepers Association is dedicated to the promotion and advancement of beekeeping through best management practices, the education and mentoring of people about honey bees and beekeeping, and increasing public awareness of environmental concerns affecting honey bees.

Colony losses are a very serious problem for beekeepers. Annual losses from the winter of 2006-11 averaged about 33 percent each year, more than double what is considered sustainable, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Honey bees are the most economically valuable pollinator worldwide, pollinating key agricultural crops in California, as well as backyard vegetables and flowers. In California, the almond industry wholly relies on bees for pollination and is currently valued at over $3 billion. Without the yield increases made possible by pollination services, food prices would rise, the farm sector would rapidly become less competitive globally, and the security and variety of our food supply would diminish, according to the Pesticide Action Network North America.

“Scientific evidence increasingly points to pesticides as a key catalyst driving bee die-offs, in combination with other factors like disease and poor nutrition,” said Emily Marquez, staff scientist at Pesticide Action Network. "California officials have failed to complete their evaluation of neonicotinoid pesticides in a timely manner, risking continued harm to bees and the livelihood of beekeepers. The proposed legislation creates a reasonable timetable for the State to finish its review of these pesticides and to adopt new protections for bees."

“I hope this bill will help address the problem of bee declines and return good health to our honeybees and our agriculture system,” Williams said.

— Josh Molina represents Assemblyman Das Williams.


Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >