OLYMPIA — Washington’s bees are in trouble. Climate change, chemicals and other factors have caused our state’s bee population to decline at a rate faster than the national average, with colonies decreasing 9% from April 2022 to April 2023. 

The Senate took an important step to protect bees and other pollinators Tuesday with the passage of Senate Bill 5972, which will end the domestic outdoor use of pesticides that contain neonicotinoids. This type of insecticide is absorbed into plants and can be present in pollen and nectar, with deadly effects for the pollinators that feed on them. 

The bill passed the Senate 29-20.  

“Bees are such an important part of a healthy ecosystem and an absolutely critical component to food production,” Liias said. “Fewer bees equal less food, weaker crop yields and a potentially devastating impact on our state’s agricultural community – a tremendously important part of our state’s overall economy.” 

Another supporter of pollinator health is First Spouse Trudi Inslee, who testified in support of the bill back in January. 

“(My husband and I) are very conscious of what we use on our personal property in care of the plants and things that we grow, and we encourage others to do the same,” Trudi Inslee said. “Be kind to bees.” 

Liias’ bill is his latest effort aimed at protecting and strengthening Washington’s bee population. His 2019 bill (SB 5552) protected pollinator habitat. In 2021, Liias’ SB 5253 implemented the recommendations of the Pollinator Health Task Force, which included steps to assist beekeepers, track Washington’s different bee species, partner with neighboring states to protect bee populations and much more.