Save The Bees - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1869281

Save The Bees

Today, the commercial production of more than 90 crops relies on bee pollination. About one-third of the food eaten by Americans comes from crops pollinated by honeybees, including apples, melons, cranberries, pumpkins, squash, broccoli and almonds, to name just a few. Without the industrious honeybee, American dinner plates would look quite bare and less nutritious.

Yet, in New York alone, we continue to read the alarms about the serious decline of managed honeybee colonies and the 400-plus wild bee species that inhabit our state. Many factors affect the health of pollinators, including loss of habitat, disease, climate change and pesticides.

Thanks to the Birds and Bees Protection Act (A7429 Englebright/S699B Hoylman), the New York State Legislature now has the opportunity to stop one of the leading causes of the decline of bees: neonicotinoid pesticides (“neonics”). A Coalition Letter of Support for the bill signed by over 100 health and environmental groups, including the Westhampton Garden Club, was sent to Governor Kathy Hochul and others in December 2021.

The letter states: “Neonics are potent neurotoxic pesticides that have made U.S. agriculture up to 48 times more harmful to insect life since their introduction in the mid-1990s. Neonics persist in soils for years, move easily in rain and irrigation water, and are widely used both on and off the farm.”

Most of the pesticides used on lawns contain neonics. Neonics kill birds, bees and fish, and contaminate our water and food. Neonics appear in roughly 30 percent of Long Island groundwater samples. That’s of increasing concern to health professionals as new studies illuminate the serious risks that these everyday exposures may pose for people, especially children.

Now is the time for New York State to follow the lead of Europe and Canada in restricting the use of neonics. The bill bans the coating of corn, soy and wheat seeds with neonics before planting (a needless use) but does not prohibit neonic treatments for invasive species like emerald ash-borer. The bill’s prohibitions do not take effect until January 1, 2023, for turf and ornamental uses, and 2024 for treated seeds.

Please support this bill’s passage by sending an urgent message to Governor Hochul (, President Pro Tempore and Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins ), and/or Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (Speaker@New York asking them to pass A7429/S699B. Be sure to thank our assemblyman, Fred Thiele (, for his co-sponsorship of the bill.

Lynda Confessore

Joy Flynn

Conservation Committee

Westhampton Garden Club