Double Win for Washington State Beekeepers

Washington State SealOn March 29, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law EHB 2478. This bill directs the State Noxious Weed Board to conduct a four year pilot project to investigate best methods of recovering honey bee forage when noxious weeds (which are also blooming plants and good bee forage) have been eliminated.

This project anticipates participants from all areas of the state, using a variety of techniques and materials, to compile a list of recommendations based on geographical area. The goal for the project is to give guidance to interested landowners and managers on providing honey bee and other pollinator forage when controlling noxious weeds.

“Many plants listed as noxious weeds are also great pollen and honey plants,” said Tim Hiatt, Washington State Beekeepers Association legislative chair. “We’re excited to make this information generally available and increase the forage in Washington for honey bees and other pollinators.”

The compromise supplemental budget contains funding for a new bee research position at Washington State University. “Senator Warnick and Representative Blake were instrumental in achieving this step toward healthier honey bees in the Pacific Northwest,” said Hiatt, “as well as those members of the legislature who see the importance of honey bees and pollinators to provide pollination for agriculture and for general ecosystem services.”  This position has been funded for one year with this supplemental budget, a main legislative priority for WSBA in 2017 will be to seek permanent funding.

“Washington is the #2 state in the nation in terms of agricultural acres pollinated, yet we have only one bee researcher at our land grant college. More research on honey bee health, including against parasitic mites which have been a major challenge for bees and beekeepers, will result in stronger hives of bees to those who need pollination.”

The content in this post was part of an email newsletter “Items for Beekeepers”, published by Fran Bach, Western Apicultural Society Journal and Washington State Beekeepers newsletter editor.   If you wish to subscribe email Fran directly