If you’ve been reading the news, watching National Geographic or simply visiting your neighbor down the street, you’ve probably heard about just how important bees are to Earth’s sustainability. Not only do they help pollenate your flowers and your backyard garden, but they sustain our fragile ecosystem.
The population of bees has been decreasing over the last decades, making the Garden State take action into its own hands. The state of New Jersey has begun to promote backyard beekeeping not only as a hobby, but as a call to action to help combat what is called the Colony Collapse Disorder, or the CCD for short.
In response to the states innovative plea, most neighborhood blocks now have a personal beekeeper living in the vicinity; but with virtually no regulations, neighborhood beekeepers are at risk of being shut down in some cases as the state has begun to receive negative attention regarding the initiative. Saving our states bees has now become a two steps forward and one step back approach.
Bees make your backyard buzz with life and most people are for it… as long as it is not in their own backyard, or in the general area of their property. As a result of the recent public outcry over neighborhood beekeepers, the state has attempted to implement regulations and zoning laws regarding who can keep bees and where they can be kept.
The real truth behind the Bergen County Garden Crisis is that not everybody can just be a beekeeper. Apiaries take time and knowledge to build, and once they’re inhabited, owners must ensure that they have enough room for the colonies. In the case of many of the current issues on the table, many backyard beekeepers simply cannot control their bee populations which results in a lesser quality of life for neighbors of beekeepers.
So what does this all mean for beekeeping in Bergen County? If you’re a beekeeper you’re safe from regulation…for now. Though the state is warning of stricter zoning laws and bylaws in order to ensure that property owner’s rights are protected. While there are no current rules governing beekeeping, owners are encouraged to check out the Garden State’s beekeeping suggestions.
Whether you’re a beekeeper, or are just thinking of starting your own apiary, you’re currently free to do so, but we suggest that you follow the states proposed regulations just in case they become law in the future. The good news is that people with hives older than 2015 can be exempt from certain regulations, such as space requirements, if they apply for a regulatory exception. So if you’re a long term beekeeper chances are some of the new laws that will be coming into effect won’t apply to you.
So what are the best beekeeping tips? Keep your bees near water, keep your hives spaced out and be weary of your neighbors… helping the environment also means being a good member of the community. Bee-ginning to consider bees? Check out the Garden State’s apiary course for new beginners!
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