By IAN WENDROW
Capital News Service
LANSING — Neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides frequently used in agriculture, get plenty of bad press for killing pollinators like honeybees. But they’ve also emerged as an important combatant of the emerald ash borer, an invasive insect that has devastated ash populations all over the United States with the highest risk in the Midwest and the northern half of the Eastern seaboard. For pollinator protectors in Michigan, that’s a problem. With the recent designation of the rusty patched bumble bee as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – the first time any bee species in the U.S. has landed on such a list — the race for effective conservation tactics has accelerated. That includes proposed bans on neonicotinoids for personal and professional application.