Thursday, September 8, 2016

Don't You Think It's Time We Protected Them?

Legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman to protect New Jersey’s pollinating bee population passed the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.
A bill sponsored by Sen. Kip Bateman to limit impact of pesticides on bee population passes Senate Environment Committee. (Flickr)

“Spraying pesticides is an important tool in our mission to control our mosquito population and protecting the public health, particularly now when we’re working to stop the spread of mosquito-borne viruses, like Zika,” Senator Bateman said. “But we can’t sacrifice our pollinating bee population in the process.”

The bill, S-2078, requires the Commissioner of Environmental Protection to establish a basic training course for pesticide applicators and operators to teach them about how to avoid, reduce or eliminate the impact pesticides have on the pollinating bee population.

As Zika-related mosquito spraying starts to pick up around the country, reports have indicated that millions of bees may be falling victim to that same pesticide. In late August, an apiarist in South Carolina reportedly lost 46 beehives, totaling more than 3 million bees, just minutes after spraying began.

“New Jersey’s farmers rely on pollination by bees to help them produce the Garden State’s bounty of fruits and vegetables, and bees are a key component of keeping our ecosystem balanced,” Senator Bateman said. “We can’t afford to lose millions of bees every time we spray pesticides. With this new training, we should be able to limit or avoid any serious impact on our bee population.”

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