Measures Would Protect NJ Beekeeping Industry

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
July 11, 2014

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Queen bees
Queen bees (photo courtesy Janet Katz, NJ Beekeepers Associaton)

Beekeepers in New Jersey are hoping a proposed law would protect their industry.

Peter Furey is executive director of the New Jersey Farm Bureau. He says many people see bees more as a threat than a vital tool for pollinating crops.

“They don¹t understand, and what they don’t understand sometimes they fear. So if someone sets up a beekeeping operation, people say oh I’m going to be attacked and it’s going to be a threat to my property value. That’s not true at all. These people know what they’re doing, and they’re providing a vital function.”

Janet Katz is president of the Beekeepers Association of New Jersey. She has honeybee hives on her one-acre property in Morris County and believes laws passed by towns to regulate beekeeping are misguided.

“I’ve had four hives for the 22 years that I’ve lived here, at times there have been more. I have neighbors on three sides, and I’ve never had a problem.  I know of people in Newark who have bees just a few feet from a public sidewalk, and nobody knows that they have bees.”

Katz says the number of people with honeybee colonies in the Garden State has tripled in the past eight years.

The bills lawmakers are considering would extend right-to-farm protections to beekeepers to prevent neighbors from hassling them. Towns would be prohibited from enacting local laws to regulate beekeepers.


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