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.
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.
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.