Bill to Protect Bees Advances in New Jersey12/21/2016
Legislation sponsored by state Sen. Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-District 16) to protect the state’s bee communities from pesticides by establishing beehive registries and a notification protocol has been passed by the New Jersey Senate.
“New Jersey wouldn’t be the Garden State without the help it gets from its bee population,” Bateman said. “We can’t risk losing these important pollinators to pesticides. The work they do for New Jersey’s farmers is too important.”
The legislation, passed by a 34-0 in the state Senate on Monday, now goes to the Assembly’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
State Sen. Bob Smith (D-District 17) is also a primary sponsor of the bipartisan legislation.
The legislation establishes a process by which beekeepers can register their honey or native beehives or beeyards with the state Department of Environment Protection..
The bill also requires pesticide applicators to notify any registered beekeeper before they spray a pesticide within three miles of a registered hive. The registrations will allow the DEP to create a list of beehives that can be used as a guideline for the notification process.
Insect pollination services and pollination by bees in particular are extremely important to New Jersey’s agricultural industry. Pollination by animals is required in the production of many crop varieties, and pollination by bees can actually lead to the improved quality of a crop.
The pollinating bee population has been declining over the last few years, and according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Scientists believe the use of certain pesticides might be responsible.
Earlier this year, another bill sponsored by Bateman to require pesticide applicators to get training on how to reduce or eliminate the impact of pesticides have on the state’s pollinating bee population was passed by the state Senate.
That legislation, also sponsored by Smith and approved unanimously by the Senate, was also referred to the Assembly’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
“Pesticides play an important role in our mosquito control operations, but we can’t risk losing pollinating bees in the process,” Bateman said. “Both of these measures will help ensure the Garden State has a healthy population of bees for years to come.”