ASSEMBLY, No. 2354







By Assemblyman ARNONE



A Supplement to "An Act making appropriations for the support of the State Government and the several public purposes for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1997 and regulating the disbursement thereof," approved June 28, 1996 (P.L.1996, c.42).


    Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:


    1. In addition to the amounts appropriated under P.L.1996, c.42, there is appropriated out of the General Fund the following sum for the purpose specified:




10 Department of Agriculture

40 Community Development and Environmental Management

49 Agricultural Resources, Planning, and Regulation

02-3320 Plant Pest and Disease Control ..........................................................................................


    Special Purpose: .................................................................



                               Honeybee Research



                               Honeybee Inspection Program Inspection






                               Honeybee Pest and Disease Public Education and



                                     Education and Outreach




      2. This act shall take effect immediately.





      This bill would appropriate $300,000 for honeybee programs in the State, as follows: $180,000 would be used to fund honeybee research efforts, especially with regard to honeybee pests and diseases, by an academic or other institution or institutions in the State as determined by the Department of Agriculture; $60,000 to restore the position of a second bee inspector or apiarist in the Department of Agriculture and $50,000 to provide for two part-time seasonal bee inspectors; and $10,000 to fund public education and outreach efforts to beekeepers, especially hobbyists, with respect to honeybee pests and diseases.

      The State's honeybee population has declined markedly due to an infestation of two varieties of mite and the recent long and hard winters. It has been estimated that perhaps 60% of the kept honeybees in the State were lost this past winter. The wild honeybee (which is the State insect) has virtually disappeared from the Garden State. The problem is not unique to New Jersey, however. The mite infestations are occurring throughout the country but especially impact the Northeast because the cold weather prevents the bees from producing continuous broods throughout the year (which help the bees outlast the infestations). Approximately 30 to 40% of the honeybee colonies in the State are kept for commercial purposes, i.e., they are leased to pollinate various fruit and vegetable crops. Thus, a healthy honeybee population is critical to the success of certain types of agriculture. Hobbyists too are interested in maintaining healthy hives in order to ensure good honey production.

      At this time hardly any research on honeybee pests and diseases is being conducted in the Northeast. The apiary research position at Rutgers University was eliminated about 25 years ago. Also, very little is being done at the federal level.

      The Department of Agriculture presently employs one person whose duties include inspecting honeybee colonies around the State. This inspector inspects all of the commercial honeybee colonies in the State at least once per year, but cannot possibly inspect all of the hobbyists' colonies. No inspection fee is charged either for the commercial beekeeper or the hobbyist.

      The Pennsylvania Legislature recently appropriated $180,000 to Penn State University to conduct research on honeybees. This bill would match that effort and help address the lack of funding in the region for this important purpose, especially with respect to overcoming the devastation of honeybee colonies caused by the mite infestations.





Appropriates $300,000 for honeybee research, public educational efforts, and inspections.