Encinitas man fighting to save honeybees: Beekeeper wants city to restrict use of pesticides

ENCINITAS, Calif. - An Encinitas beekeeper is trying to launch a campaign to educate people about the impact of pesticides on the honeybee population.

James McDonald removes bees for a living, but he keeps them as his passion.

"When is the last time you've seen a bumble bee? When I was a kid I saw them all the time. Now, they're nowhere," said McDonald.

McDonald uses an observation hive to teach kids about the importance of the honeybee.

"75 percent of all the food you see on our table is somehow the result of pollination and we're wiping out the pollinators," he said.

McDonald is working with Encinitas deputy mayor and mayoral candidate Tony Kranz on a resolution to limit the use of certain pesticides in the city.

"We can start by establishing policies and procedures that say, 'Hey, these things aren't good for these and other pollinators so let's stop using them,'" said Kranz.

If city council agrees to adopt the resolution, Encinitas would become the fourth so-called "bee friendly" city in the nation.

"In the end, if we're using a pesticide that's not quite as effective but still does a decent job and we know that we're not impacting bees, then I think that's the right approach," said Kranz.

McDonald and countless scientists believe pesticides that are labeled systemic and containing neonicotinoids are to blame for killing the bee population. He would like to see certain pesticides banned, but said that is unrealistic. Instead, McDonald wants the public warned about their impact.

"The bottom line is, it weakens them, and it builds up in their system and something else kills them," said McDonald.

Bees are not the only ones being harmed.

"You have the little bees fluttering around and they're just dying out in mass numbers and it's just foolish to think that they're the only creature being affected by these chemicals," said McDonald.

Kranz says he hopes to present his resolution to the city council in October.

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