Requires any person including certified and licensed responsible pesticide applicators and commercial pesticide applicators and operators operating in the state to contact the division of plant industry of the department of agriculture and markets by phone at least forty-eight hours in advance of extermination of honey bees to obtain assistance in trying to relocate nuisance honey bee colonies or hanging swarms of honey bees, in lieu of destroying such honey bees; makes related provisions.
NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A6329
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to the
preservation of honey bee colonies
To preserve and protect honey bee swarms and colonies from human
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section 1 adds a new article 15-B to the Agriculture and Markets Law,
which requires any person in the State to contact the Plant Industry
Division of the Department of Agriculture and Markets at least 48 hours
in advance of exterminating honey bee colonies and/or hanging swarms to
receive assistance in trying to relocate such honey bees, provides an
exemption for swarms that pose an imminent danger to any person.
Section 2 sets forth the effective date.
As pollinators, honey bees play a critical role in sustaining our
ecosystem and food systems. For New .York State, a leading fruit and
vegetable producer, honey bees are especially vital to our economic
well-being. Many of New York's largest crops, including apples, cabbage,
berries, and pumpkins, rely significantly on insect pollination, includ-
ing by honeybees. (1)
However, honeybee populations have been declining for decades, including
in New York State. Between 2018-2019, beekeepers in New York State lost
almost 30% of their colonies. While bee colony loss is driven by a
number of factors, the trend poses a risk to agriculture and the future
health of New York ecosystems. Unwanted bee swarms and colonies that pop
up around homes and businesses can pose risks both to humans and native
bee populations. Honey bees are not native to New York and swarms have a
low survival rate in the wild. According to Cornell entomologist Tom
Seeley, only about 20% of swarms survive. Moreover, honeybees often
harbor diseases, some of which they can spread to native bees, who are
also an important pollination source in the state.
This legislation will complement existing state efforts and other
proposals to protect honeybee populations in New York. This bill,
provides that a person must contact the Plant Industry Division of the
Department of Agriculture and Markets at least 48 hours in advance of
exterminating honey bee colonies and/or hanging swarms to receive
assistance 'in trying to relocate such honey bees. The law provides
exemptions for cases where nuisance honeybees pose an imminent risk to
humans, for instance, a swarm near someone with a severe allergy. By
facilitating the relocation of swarms, rather than their extermination,
New York can protect existing bee populations. Relocated bees can then
be used for hobby beekeeping, honey production, or pollination. The bill
is based on a similar law passed in New Jersey (2).
This act shall take effect sixty days after it is signed into law.
(2) N.J.A.C. 2:24-6.1
STATE OF NEW YORK
2023-2024 Regular Sessions
April 5, 2023
Introduced by M. of A. THIELE -- read once and referred to the Committee
AN ACT to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to the
preservation of honey bee colonies
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. The agriculture and markets law is amended by adding a new
2 article 15-B to read as follows:
3 ARTICLE 15-B
4 PRESERVATION OF HONEY BEE COLONIES
5 Section 175-v. Relocating honey bee colonies.
6 § 175-v. Relocating honey bee colonies. 1. To preserve honey bee colo-
7 nies in the state, any person, including certified and licensed respon-
8 sible pesticide applicators and commercial pesticide applicators and
9 operators operating in the state, shall contact the division of plant
10 industry of the department by phone at least forty-eight hours in
11 advance of extermination of honey bees to obtain assistance in trying to
12 relocate nuisance honey bee colonies or hanging swarms of honey bees, in
13 lieu of destroying such honey bees. Honey bees shall not be destroyed
14 without prior approval from such division.
15 2. In the event the division of plant industry is not reachable, any
16 person, including certified and licensed responsible pesticide applica-
17 tors and commercial pesticide applicators and operators, shall attempt
18 to contact no fewer than three beekeepers identified by the local beek-
19 eeping association found on the Cornell University's College Agricul-
20 tural and Life Science's website as swarm collectors servicing the
21 affected county, in order to obtain assistance in relocating nuisance
22 honey bee colonies or hanging swarms before nuisance honey bee colonies
23 or hanging swarms of honey bees may be destroyed. Where there are fewer
24 than three beekeepers listed on such website in the county where the
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.
A. 6329 2
1 swarm or nuisance colony is located, such person shall contact any
2 available beekeepers on the list in such county.
3 3. Where a swarm poses an imminent danger to any person or where a
4 beekeeper needs to use an insecticide while attempting to relocate a
5 swarm because such swarm is aggressive or diseased, such person shall be
6 exempt from the provisions of this section.
7 4. Any person, including certified and licensed responsible pesticide
8 applicators and commercial pesticide applicators and operators operating
9 in the state shall indemnify and hold harmless the state of New York in
10 any action or proceeding arising out of the relocation and preservation
11 of honey bees in accordance with the provisions of this article.
12 § 2. This act shall take effect on the sixtieth day after it shall
13 have become a law. Effective immediately, the addition, amendment and/or
14 repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implementation of
15 this act on its effective date are authorized to be made and completed
16 on or before such effective date.