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The push to protect Maryland's 14,000 bee colonies

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Posted at 11:32 AM, Feb 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-17 11:44:11-05

Beekeeping and agriculture go hand-in-hand in Maryland.

An estimated 1,800 beekeepers maintain 14,000 colonies throughout the state, according to the Maryland Department of Agriculture.

RELATED: Md. gives final OK to bill to protect bees from pesticides

These honey bee colonies are increasingly responsible for pollinating the state’s crops, as wild honey bees have died off from parasitic mites, the department says.

Last year, the Maryland General Assembly passed the Pollinator Protection Act in a 98-39 vote, banning the sale and use of pesticides with chemicals known as neonics beginning in 2018.

RELATED: BGE helps bees, butterflies live under power lines in parks

Studies have shown the chemicals hurt the bees’ nervous systems, yet manufacturers dispute these reports.

Beekeepers lost nearly 61 percent of their hives last year in Maryland, which is about twice the national average.

Maryland was the first state in the country to target pesticides found to harm bees.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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