Panel advances bee bill

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TRENTON — Two bills sponsored by Assemblymen Ron Dancer and Parker Space protecting the state’s bee population from pesticides were advanced today by the Assembly Agriculture Committee by a 5-0 vote.

“Pesticides are toxic to honeybees, the most important pollinators of crops. Sprayed near colonies, their effects are devastating. They not only inhibit the ability of bees to gather food, they can also kill them,” said Dancer (R-Ocean). “Protecting the state’s 20,000 bee colonies, which contribute to the production of nearly $200 million worth of fruits and vegetables annually, is imperative to a thriving agriculture industry.”

“Pesticides kill bees either through direct contact or, even more deadly, when a bee carries it back to the colony, contaminating the pollen or nectar,” explained Space (R-Sussex, Warren, Morris). “Both scenarios are unacceptable and preventable. Proper training and awareness will ensure these vital pollinators are protected.”

The first bill requires anyone applying pesticides to notify beekeepers when applying pesticides within three miles of a registered honey or native beehive. It requires beekeepers to register with the DEP by March 1 of each year if they want to be notified.

The second bill requires anyone applying pesticides to complete a training or continuing education course on the effect pesticides have on pollinating bees.
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