bee flower 060222SPRINGFIELD –An initiative led by State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) and State Representative Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston), will protect pollinators like bees and butterflies by setting guidelines on the spraying of certain pesticides.

“Pollinators are essential to the health of our environment and our agriculture,” Fine said. “This law guarantees that they are not unnecessarily killed by pesticides targeting mosquitos, allowing them to continue to play their vital role in our ecosystem.”

The legislation restricts when commercial pesticides, also known as “mosquitocides,” can be applied to surfaces where mosquitoes feed, such as plant leaves, turf or mulch. As many other insects often feed on these areas, pollinators can be unintended victims of pesticides during colder seasons when the mosquito population is lower. This law intends to limit the harm to pollinators at the hands of these pesticides.

“Pollinators are a key element of the circle of life. When our young constituent, Scarlett Harper, brought this problem to my attention I knew I had to do something,” said Rep. Gabel. “This bill protects bees and butterflies by ensuring that yard workers are educated about the best and worst times to spray for mosquitos and limiting the time for spraying.  Thank you to Scarlett for her organizing and to Senator Fine for helping to shepherd this bill through the process.”

In the event of a public health emergency, like a virus transmitted through mosquito bites, the law allows for pesticides to be sprayed to stop such an emergency. Until then, this law prohibits spraying pesticides from October 16th through April 14th every year. This legislation will also require additional notification for when mosquitocide is sprayed in residential areas and would also prevent it from being sprayed on windy days, preventing pesticide drift. Fine is hopeful that this initiative will set an example for more environmental stewardship in lawmaking. 

House Bill 3118 was signed into law May 27, 2022. It will take effect Jan. 1, 2023.