Honey Bee Awareness Day in Olympia, March 5

Keep the Bee in Business.  Keep Washington in Bloom.

On the East side of the North steps, Legislative Building, 10 AM – 2 PM

One in every three bites of food we enjoy comes from the work of bees, including most of the fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds we eat and use to grow our own food. 

Honeybees make it possible for fruit, vegetable and seed crops to add billions of dollars in harvest value to Washington’s economy.  Issues related to honey bees and beekeeping are complex, needing integrated actions to support honeybees and agriculture in Washington.

The Washington State Beekeepers Association (WSBA) supports recommendations made through the Honey Bee Work Group* and urges support of the following:

Bills in the 2015 Legislature:

SB 5017 – Recognition of Beekeepers as Farmers intending to permanently include eligible apiarists within the definition of farmer and define honeybee products as agricultural products to receive the same tax relief as that provided to other sectors of agriculture.

HB 1654 – Controlling noxious weeds while still supporting pollen-rich forage plant communities for honeybees.

The Washington State Beekeepers Association supports these policy and funding issues as identified by the statewide Honey Bee Work Group*:

Increasing forage opportunities on public lands by:

  • Having state agencies develop easily understood and accessible guidance for permitting honey bees to forage on lands they manage, on planting and maintaining forage for honey bees on those lands and evaluating their weed control efforts for timing and necessity to minimize impact to plants that bees use for forage.

Formally incorporating honeybee and other pollinator concerns into the noxious weed listing process by:

  • Having a pollinator expert on the scientific panel that advises the State Noxious Weed Board.
  • Including a weed-removal risk assessment as part of the weed board advisory process.
  • Providing training for county weed control boards in conducting risk assessments for noxious weed control, with bee habitat included as a key variable.

Increasing and supporting research into Varroa mite control, honeybee genetic diversity, and honeybee forage across the state by:

  • Building a quality bee lab at Washington State University capable of addressing current and future bee issues in the state.
  • Funding a full-time WSU research-apiarist position.
  • Funding a full-time WSU pollination ecologist position.
  • Researching ways to incentivize increased bee forage on croplands, after weed control, and on public lands.

* The Honey Bee Work Group was mandated by the 2013 legislature and convened by the Washington State Department of Agriculture to include representatives from beekeepers, tree fruit growers and seed producers.


See the full report of the Honey Bee Work Group: