Beekeeping bills buzzing in the Assembly

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Bills in the NJ Assembly would support commercial beekeeping and honey harvesting. Bills in the NJ Assembly would support commercial beekeeping and honey harvesting. Second District Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo of Northfield is part of what is buzzing in Trenton. Mazzeo along with Robert Andrzejczak of Cape May County and Marlene Caride of Bergen County are sponsoring a six-bill package to protect and bolster the state’s beekeeping industry.

Mazzeo, the owner and operator of B.F. Mazzeo Fruit and Produce in Northfield, knows first hand the importance of bees in the equation of successful harvests.

“Bees are a very important factor here in the Garden State,” Mazzeo said Monday, June 30. “They are responsible for the pollination of the plants. We would not be able to produce the great Jersey Fresh fruits and vegetables our farmers grow annually.”

The assemblyman added that honey harvesting provides an important product which, besides being delicious, also has medicinal qualities. Mazzeo is a honey producer and his store sells its own honey every year in late September and October.

Assembly Bill 2180 proposes making the common bumble bee, the key species in the pollination of cranberries, blueberries, tomatoes and peppers the official pollinator in New Jersey. The bills provide for a penalty of up to $500 for anyone who intentionally destroys a man-made native bee hive.  

Also proposed; one of the bills would prohibit any New Jersey municipality from regulating the breeding or keeping of honey bees and any related activities, including the use of the bees for pollination, reproduction and sale of the bees, or the production of honey or other apiary products.

The bills extend the protection offered under New Jersey’s Right to Farm Act to commercial beekeepers that produce honey or other agricultural or horticultural apiary-related products or provide pollination services that total more than $10,000 a year. They would also create a “pollinator week” to be observed in June to coincide with the national pollinator week.

Finally the bills would help promote the state’s honey harvesting and beekeeping industry by reminding New Jerseyans, as well as visitors to the Garden State, to support the beekeepers by purchasing locally harvested honey.

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