One Maryland county is taking new steps to help protect bees.
TV station WBAL reports Howard County is joining the Bee City USA Coalition. As part of that, the county is committing to reducing pesticide use and has created 55 acres of pollinator-friendly meadow habitat on county parkland.
County Executive Calvin Ball says Howard County is one of the first counties in the nation to join the coalition.
Bees, which pollinate billions of dollars worth of crops, are critical to the human food supply, but their populations have been declining. Scientists blame a variety of factors including pesticides, parasites, disease and climate change.