A honeybee lands on a milk thistle flower.

A honeybee lands on a milk thistle flower.

Bees are becoming a political buzzword around the Colorado Capitol, as activists look for more ways to preserve the flying insects that make plant pollination happen.

Advocacy groups organized by Environment Colorado say they will canvas door-to-door this summer to push for new state laws next year to curb pesticides that sting pollinators such as honey bees and butterflies.

The campaign kicked off on May 20 -- World Bee Day --  citing sharp declines in wild pollinators.

Environment Colorado says volunteers will knock on "tens of thousands of doors across the state."

Next Tuesday, the Colorado Environmental Health Coalition is planning a strategy meeting in Denver on how to reduce toxins that harm the vital insects.

The pesticide issue is simmering nationally, as well. 

Tuesday Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, signed a new state law to restrict pesticides deemed toxic to bees. The legislation fell short of the total ban advocates sought.

The Trump administration's Environmental Protection Agency cancelled the registration of a dozen pesticides found to be harmful to honeybees, The Washington Post reported on May 22.

The Minnesota legislature this week set aside $900,000 in its state budget to pay people to fill their lawns with wildflowers, clover and native grasses "in an effort to slow the collapse of the state’s bee population," the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Thursday.

In March the New Mexico legislature passed a bill to raise public awareness of issues affecting pollinators, including a statewide plant-identification project, a pollinator garden at the state Capitol and instructions to state agencies to keep their focus on bees and butterflies.

The National Conference of State Legislatures doesn't list Colorado among the states taking strong steps to protect its pollinators.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, has declared June Colorado Pollinator Month.

The Colorado advocacy organization People and Pollinators Action Network is coordinating a number of events to teach the public about the role bees and butterflies play. Those events include:

  • Saturday: Mapleton Garden/Whittier Garden Tour, Boulder - PPAN educational table and honeybee observation hive.
  • June 5: Upslope Brewery's Pints for Pollinators Fundraiser, Upslope Brewery Taproom, 1501 Lee Hill Drive, Boulder.
  • June 15: Fort Collins Xeriscape Garden Party, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fort Collins City Hall parking lot.
  • June 22: Habitat Hero, "wildscaping" workshop, 1 to 2 p.m., Harlequin's Garden, Boulder.
  • June 22: Urban Farmer Pollinator Month Celebration, 2 to 7 p.m., Urban Farmer Restaurant, Denver. A pollinator mural by a local artist will be unveiled between 5 and 6 p.m. The happy hour will feature the Bees Knees Cocktail. PPAN will receive the proceeds from purchases of the special cocktail during Pollinator Month. A "bee-based" dinner will be served at 7 p.m.
  • All Mondays in June: Rayback Collective Pollinator Garden Project, 4 to 6 p.m., Rayback Collective, Boulder.

> RELATED: Bees make the Capitol case for pollinator highway across northeast Colorado

In 2017 Colorado legislators from both parties passed House Joint Resolution 1029 to make Interstate 76 from Jefferson to Sedgwick counties the Colorado Pollinator Highway.

The route runs through a vital region for migratory butterflies, and the designation instructs a roadside manager to pick genetically appropriate plants. Crews aren't supposed to mow beyond 15 feet from the pavement from April to September.

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