EAST AURORA, N.Y. — When warmer weather arrives, the buzzing of bees will soon follow.
But as the threat of colony collapse disorder lingers and the bee population shrinks, one legislator wants to make sure their future is secure.
Beekeepers in New York lost close to 50 percent of the colonies last year, experts say. The numbers aren't looking much better for 2018: a loss of close to 30 percent is expected.
One of the reasons for the decline is use of a pesticide linked to colony collapse disorder. Erie County Legislator Patrick Burke is working to ban the personal use of neonicotinoids.
"We are a Great Lakes region, and neonicotinoids go into waterways and they stay and there and they contaminate them,” said Burke, D-Buffalo. “We have an obligation to do something about that."
There's a roadblock on getting this legislation passed.
In New York, local municipalities cannot regulate pesticides. Burke says they've asked the state for a pass in the past and the request was denied.
If he wins the seat vacated by Mickey Kearns, when Kearns was elected Erie County Comptroller, Burke says he'll submit an amendment to the law. In the meantime, the bill remains on the county legislature's agenda.
Until the bill passes, Erine Holko over at Masterson’s Garden Inc. has some advice to home gardeners.
"Consider an organic type of pest solution and we are happy to help with those, and to provide more nectar for the bees," she said. “The best thing anyone can do is to plant more flowers."