I was pleased to read in Sun Country that farmers are getting beekeepers to put hives around their fields to pollinate their crops.

The article pointed out that North Dakota produces more honey than any other state but that bees are dying out. It stopped short of pointing out a major reason they are dying out and hives are collapsing: the widespread use of neonicotinoid pesticides.

It doesn't do a farmer much good to have beekeepers put hives near his crops and then kill the bees. He might have some trouble getting a beekeeper to put them on his land again!

These pesticides are used to coat seeds before planting and stay in the crop to poison insects, including honeybees, as long as the crop grows. They don't target the major pests that damage crops, so there's no need to use them: live bees will do crops that require

pollination far more good than these pesticides will. Farmers who want bees and other insects, including monarch butterflies, to pollinate their crops should make sure they are no "neonics" in the seed when they buy it.

Most companies that sell garden plants are now keeping neonics out of their stock, but they might still be present in seed sold to farmers.

Farmers who intend to use pollinators should be safe and ask before they buy seed in the spring.

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