Rooney bill protects NJ’s hobbyist beekeepers

TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney has introduced legislation protecting the Garden State’s 3,000 hobbyist beekeepers from being stung by state regulations.

Rooney’s bill (A3336) prohibits the agriculture department from regulating the property size required for honeybee hives.

“Residents understand how important honeybees are to the food chain. When colony collapse disorder caused a sharp decline in the state’s honeybee population a few years ago, we saw a surge in the popularity of backyard beekeeping,” said Rooney (R-Bergen).

The agriculture department has proposed limiting beekeeping to people whoown a quarter acre of land and requiring a six foot fence surrounding an apiary, a place where beehives are kept. People new to beekeeping would also have to take an apiary introductory course and satisfy continuing education requirements every five years.

“These proposed regulations will force many beekeepers, especially in urban areas, to abandon the hobby while preventing others from joining. We need to protect them,” concluded Rooney.