“Wild pollinators and managed bees, typically honeybees and bumblebees kept by beekeepers, are critically important to the health of New York’s environment, as well as the strength of the state’s agricultural economy. New York has more than seven-million acres in agricultural production, and many of the state’s leading crops, such as apples, cabbage, berries, pumpkins and several other fruits, rely heavily on insect pollination. New York State is also home to more than 450 wild pollinator species, a native population that is important not only to the pollination of commercial crops, but also to biodiversity in our environment.
However, over the past several years, the loss of managed pollinator colonies in the state has exceeded 50%. Some commercial migratory pollinators have experienced colony losses in excess of 70%. This is coupled with losses in the native pollinator community and the habitat that sustains them. Honeybees and other pollinators experience a multitude of stressors, including: parasites/pathogens; pesticide exposure from various sources; nutrient deficiencies, including forages affected by climate change; habitat loss and fragmentation; poor management practices; and lack of genetic diversity. Of these stressors, few have generated as much attention as a class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids. Over the last two decades, neonicotinoids have become the most widely used insecticide in the world due to their efficacy and comparatively low toxicity. The prevalence of neonicotinoids in most agricultural and ornamental settings has become the source of much debate focused on the connection between increased neonicotinoid use and recent pollinator decline. Although scientists do not yet know the specific cause(s) of pollinator loss and the phenomena of Colony Collapse Disorder, which is observed in managed honeybees, recent research indicates that the decline is likely the result of complex interactions among multiple stress factors.1
Regardless of cause, the upward trend in colony loss observed over the last decade is unsustainable. In response, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo formed the New York State Pollinator Task Force in 2015. Chaired by the Commissioners of the Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Agriculture and Markets (AGM), this group was charged with developing a plan for New York State to conserve and grow its pollinator population.”
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New York State Department of Environmental Conservation / Agriculture and Markets 24 June 2016.