State plan to protect honeybees goes into effect

FILE - In this July 16, 2014, file photo, a bee works on a honeycomb the Gene Brandi Apiary in Los Banos, Calif. The Environmental Protection Agency has found that a major pesticide harms honeybees when used on cotton and citrus but not on other big crops like corn, berries and tobacco. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – State officials have finalized a pesticide-management plan meant to protect honeybees and other pollinators from further population declines.

The Roanoke Times reports the voluntary plan mainly encourages beekeepers and pesticide applicators to better communicate about the location of hives and the dates and times of pesticide spraying. It does not strengthen existing pesticide regulations.

The plan stems from an Obama administration directive calling for a national strategy to safeguard pollinators.

For more than a decade, bees and other pollinators have been rapidly declining. Scientists blame a mix of parasites, disease, pesticides and poor nutrition.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says farmers and gardeners depend on pollinators to produce important Virginia crops, including pumpkins, watermelons and berries.

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