Legislation to protect native bees and honeybees from pesticide exposure was signed into law by Gov. Chris Christie on Monday, his last full day in office.
It was one of more than 100 bills he signed into law at the end of his term.
Bill A-3398 requires pesticide applicators to notify both honeybee and native beekeepers when they are applying pesticide within three miles of a registered beehive or beeyard.
Previously, only honeybee apiarists could register their hives or yards, and pesticide applicators were required to notify only them prior to applying pesticides.
Assembly bill A-3400 would require the Department of Environmental Protection to establish an educational course on pesticides’ effects on bees for pesticide applicators and operators.
Native bees include bumblebees, carpenter bees, sweat bees and more. They also pollinate crops and flowers in New Jersey, according to a fact sheet for New Jersey and Pennsylvania farmers from Rutgers University and Bryn Mawr College.
New Jersey’s honeybees are not a native species but were imported by early colonists to help with pollination and for honey production.
They have declined even more than the national average, Assembly Democrats have said in a statement. Nationwide, honeybee deaths average 33 percent per year, but in New Jersey in 2017, 41 percent of bees were lost, the Democrats said.
“This decline in our bee population threatens food production and the livelihood of our farmers,” said co-sponsor of the two bills Adam Taliaferro, D-Salem, Gloucester, Cumberland.