Acting Governor Guadagno Signs Legislation to Protect New Jersey’s Bee Industry

From The Office of the Governor Newsroom

Trenton, NJ - Acting Governor Kim Guadagno today signed three bi-partisan, unanimously passed bills supporting beekeepers in New Jersey. Among others, the Acting Governor was joined by New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher, Senator Steven V. Oroho (R-Morris, Sussex, Warren), and representatives of the New Jersey Farm Bureau and the New Jersey Beekeepers Association (NJBA).

"Bees are central to New Jersey's rich agricultural history, and, more important, to New Jersey's agricultural future," said Acting Governor Guadagno. "These bills collectively provide appropriate protection to New Jersey's growing beekeeping industry, support the Garden State's commercial and recreational bee industry, and heighten public awareness of the importance of bees to our food chain."

As New Jersey's official insect, honey bees are among the most well-known, popular, and economically beneficial insects. In addition to honey bees, New Jersey's more than 3,000 registered beekeepers also tend other bee species that are critical to crop pollination, like mason and bumble bees.

"These bills are important to the health and vitality of the beekeeping industry in New Jersey," said Secretary Fisher. "Bees are some of the most interesting creatures in nature and are essential to the pollination of our crops."

Honey bees are social insects that live in large colonies of up to 80,000 bees. According to the Department of Agriculture, more than 80 percent of U.S. food crops are pollinated by honey bees. In New Jersey, pollination is crucial for the state's blueberry, cranberry, pumpkin, squash, strawberry, peach, and apple crops as well as a wide variety of annual and perennial flowers and tree species.

"These bills will aid commercial beekeepers in continuing to provide vital pollination services and give clear, enforceable guidance to municipalities," said Janet A. Katz, NJBA President. "We are confident that these bills will free our organization and the Department of Agriculture to focus on educating the public on the vital role our state insect plays in New Jersey agriculture and in providing our membership and all New Jersey beekeepers with the tools and guidance to be good beekeepers and neighbors."

The Acting Governor signed the following bills today:

A-1294 (Dancer, Space, Andrezejczak, Caride/Van Drew, Oroho) - Extends Right to Farm Act protections to commercial beekeepers, with some restrictions.

A-1295 (Dancer, Space, Andrezejczak, Caride/Van Drew, Oroho) - Establishes exclusive State regulatory authority over apiary activities and allows for delegation of monitoring and enforcement authority to municipalities.

A-1296 (Dancer, Space, Caride/Van Drew, Cruz-Perez) - Establishes penalty for destruction of man-made native bee hive.
More information on beekeeping in New Jersey is available here
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