Effective this January 1st, 2018, Maryland is the first state that has passed legislation to restrict sales of neonicotinoid pesticides to only certified applicators. This mean homeowners will no longer have access to these pesticides, however farmers and commercial applicators will continue to have access.
Meanwhile, in Vermont, Representative Amy Sheldon of Middlebury, VT, introduced H.688 to likewise restrict the sale and application of neonicotinoid pesticides to Class A licensed applicators, similar to Maryland's.
This is a step in the right direction and one of the recommendation we put forth in the Vermont Pollinator Protection Committee.
For those of you not familiar, neonicotinoids are a relatively new class of pesticides, introduced in the 90's and early 2000's, and helped reduce the reliance on organophosphate pesticides that are particularly toxic to mammals. Neonicotinoids swept the country with their efficacy in targeting insect pests with supposedly much less toxicity to other creatures. The scale of their use in this relatively short period is staggering. Nearly all corn and most soybeans grown in US is seed-treated with neonicotinoids while much of the home-scale pesticide products are neonicotinoid based.
Much research has since shown the tremendous impacts on pollinators and the EPA is currently reviewing these products with a primary focus of the impact on honeybees (and some glances at native bees).
If you're interested in learning more, please consider a read of at least the Executive Summary of Xerces, How Neonicotinoids Kill Bees.
If you want to make a difference, contact your representative to consider passing legislature similar to Maryland as a first step. The next step would be to restrict the use of neonicotinoids for farmers and other certified applications only when there is evidence of need, rather than prophylactically. Vermonter's, contact your representative to support Amy Shedon's H.688 bill.
AND, do not purchase of use pesticides in your landscape that include neonicotinoids. You may have some on your shelves already. In 2013 the EPA required such products to display the "Bee Advisory Box", look to see if you have any products with this symbol, but note that older products would not have this marking. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2013-11/documents/bee-label-info-graphic.pdf. Avoid products that list any of these neonicotinoids: