WOODSTOCK, Md. (WJZ) — Howard County is joining a nationwide effort to protect bees as the U.S. sees an alarming drop in the number of insects that pollinate the country’s food supply.

The county has become one of the first in the nation to be named a “Bee City” and pledge to take a number of steps to protect pollinators and the environment.

“Right now we’re seeing so much as we’re losing some of our natural habitat, we’re seeing the impacts of climate change, and we’re seeing our pollinators falling away. We need to protect our pollinators, protect our environment and protect our future,” Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said.

The county has added 55 acres of bee-friendly meadows, is reducing the areas it mows and is stopping or vastly reducing the types and kinds of insecticides it uses so there’s habitat available for pollinators.

It will also hold at least one educational event or habitat planting annually, install a Bee City USA sign in a prominent location and develop a plan to create or expand pollinator-friendly habitat on public and private land.

The loss of pollinators would have a significant impact on the food we eat.

“They do pollinate about a third of the food, so if they go away, we’re going to lose a lot of the food that we find in the stores,” said David Schultz, the vice president of the Howard County Beekeepers Association.

Officials said the efforts come with a small price tag and may actually save the county money in some ways.

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