Suffolk lawmakers pass bill in bid to preserve honeybee population
The Suffolk County Legislature passed a first-of-its-kind bill Tuesday to protect the local honeybee population.
The bill mandates that home and business owners in Suffolk must call a beekeeper to remove any honeybee swarms or hives to save them, instead of killing them. The legislation will go to Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.
"Honeybees are important these days, as are most native pollinators,” says beekeeper Richard Blohm.
Environmentalists say it's more important than ever to save the insects since the honeybee population has been declining over the years.
According to Adrienne Esposito, with Citizens Campaign for the Environment, the population has declined nearly 80% since 2005 due to climate change and poisonous pesticides.
"Honeybees are key ingredients for our food. They actually are needed in 80% of our food crops, our sea crops and also flowers,” says Esposito.
Legislator Al Krupski tells News 12 the bill is somewhat educational, saying in part, "It's sort of like an educational bill also, so that people, even a homeowner might not call a pest control company, but you'll take the care to make sure you know what you're dealing with.”
Beekeepers like Blohm say they'll bring a hive to your house to move the honeybees, lure them inside the hive and then relocate them to their new home at either a garden or a farm.
"People think honeybees have yellow stripes like you would see in cartoons or on cereal boxes…they don't,” says Blohm.
The bee expert says honeybees are a brownish, burnt orange color with black stripes, with no distinctive yellow on their bodies. He also says they're less likely to sting when compared to wasps, hornets and yellow jackets.