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  Wednesday, 13 February 2019
  39 Replies
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A place to discuss the merits and concerns about the bill. Please include any remedies or improvements as well.

Regulation of Neonicotinoid Pesticides

Here is the link to the new bill introduced on 02/12/19. It affects Vermont Beekeepers. Please read it and use the VBA forums to post your thoughts.

The VBA wants to hear from you and your responses can help us draft a position paper.
3 years ago
I will only comment on the portion of the bill requiring certification of beekeepers. (I don't have any real problem with other parts of the bill.)

The VBA already has a certification program in place. The state has neither the money (guess where they'll try to get it?) or the wherewithall to put together a certification program in a timely manner. I believe this will discourage people from beekeeping but will happily expand the beaucracy which is the goal of any good government program. (I'm only being partially facetious.)


3 years ago
I too question the "certification" requirement. What does that mean? No one can take up beekeeping until they are certified? I would like to know more about this.
3 years ago
And then, the provision that requires used equipment entering the state be accompanied by an inspection certificate. Surely used equipment could be infected by AFB and not have visible scale.
To start with this bill shows a total disrespect to VBA as I find not one person on the committee
That is a member of VBA .

We already have a law in place governing the movement and sale of bees .
Law reguiring Apiary's be registered plus pay a fee.

This bill is way to fare over reaching to pervent a person from having bees until they become
Certified .

Notice the fees to register neonictcides $200.00 that's fine but only $5.00 for education
How will that pay to certifie new Beekeepers .

We need a strong turn out for any public hearing on this Bill H 205
3 years ago
I am a member of the Pollinator Protection Committee, and was nominated by Governor Shumlin.
I didn't see your name on this committee is this a different committee
Is this a different committee if so I wounder why your committee was not envolved
3 years ago
I too disagree with the certification portion. How is one person (David T.) possibly going to "certify" all the new hives, in addition to the work he already does and is already stretched so far!! It seems easy to say people have to certify and for that matter register but there is no muscle behind it...how is this monitored and enforced? I also think it will deter people from registering their apiaries which is much more important especially with new beekeepers!! What about including a schedule of the free events the VBA does to educate beekeepers and a list of local clubs with every registration..I think this would go farther in educating new beekeepers than saying they are required to certify.

I wonder about bringing used equipment into the state..how would this affect those beekeepers who have hives in other states, NY for example and then bring the equipment to and from their home base in VT? What about buying bees from other states and bringing those into the state...assume the price would go up since the retailers would now need to have inspections...and why are not colonies from VT and sold in VT required to be inspected too to assure lack of disease and spreading it around the state.

I agree with most of the bill, especially that part about the neonics. I think that those registered to use neonics and their addresses should be forwarded to the bee inspector so he knows where they are, in case of colony problems nearby..just one agency or parts of one agency talking to the others .

I will be curious to see what our board does with this and the position statement. Will be looking for it so I can then talk to my rep.
3 years ago
if Mike is on the pollinator committee...it sounds like he wasn't even involved in writing this bill ...is that true Mike?
3 years ago
I was involved with the original committee that wrote the recommendations about neonics. We never discussed anything about additions to the Vermont apiary law. I know nothing about the Pesticide Action Coalition. I find that odd. Funny thing that the Committee had 2 beekeeping representatives, while no other stakeholders had 2. And now this. This isn’t the first time I have been “conveniently” left out of the discussion. When I testified before the ag/forestry committee, I had to get myself invited.
3 years ago
Here’s another one...regulations on BMP for beekeepers. Mite loads must be kept below treatment threshold. What about those Treatment Free beekeepers? They profess following this path, but this past autumn, I know two who had loads of 40+. Who’ going to police that?
3 years ago
This bill is amending already existing part of Title 6 - Agriculture.
They are adding Neonicotinoid pesticides to the list (found in Title 6 Chapter 81 pesticides). This is good because right now these are not on the regulated list.
The registration portion is for those who will be applying the pesticides and does not apply to the beekeeper. They are increasing the fee from $175 to $200 already established in Title 6 chapter 81 subsection 918. One of the additions is to put $25.00 into a fund to assist beekeeper with inspection and technical assistance.
If further goes on to add restrictions on neonicotionoids.

The part that will affect beekeepers is section 3 of the bill (pg 9). This bill proposes to change Duty to Report to registration and report annually the location of hives, any changes in the hive location, any serious diseases, and any transportation of used equipment or colonies into the state. Each apiary will also have to have a varroa mite and pest management plan.

They added the certification of beekeepers requiring education and continuing education to be a certified beekeeper. This program will need to be clarified and defined further. Who will be responsible, what will the information required, what continuing education, who will monitor the program, how will it be rolled out, etc.
3 years ago
This committee needs to be aware of all the regulations that are already in place regarding the regulation of apiculture. Some of this bill duplicates existing regulation. If people who want to keep bees as a hobby have to jump through a lot of costly and bureaucratic hoops in order to do it legally, there will be an increase in illegal unregistered apiaries by beginners or they will be discouraged from pursuing that hobby altogether.
3 years ago
I suggest VBA organize a public meeting with the bill’s author/sponsors to hear their thinking about how and why they arrived at H.205.
3 years ago
The cynic in me says the beekeeper certification language may be a "poison pill" inserted to get VBA's attention (to support the main part of the bill by working to remove the certification and best practices requirements).

The VBA Board of Directors will be meeting next week to discuss how VBA should respond to H.205.


You could be right the one thing that is very clear is that some one evolved in beekeeping
Helped draft this bill, however I did not see a name on the committee that is a Beekeeper
I hope to see a lot more members take part in this discussion .
3 years ago
Well, I could not hold back any longer. This act to me seems like a lot of beaucratic bull shit. Another unenforceable law which is just a "tax" on Vermonters. Aside from "polinator protection" what does banning pesticides have to do with "certifying future beekeepers"? Does a migrant worker on a farm in Vt. have to be certified before he milks a cow ???
If I am reading this correctly it would exempt neonic coated seeds. Isn't the big problem with neonics is that the dust from planting drills cloud the air and drift to other areas ?
We beekeepers already are required to register our Apiarys, so why has this requirement also been added to this law ???? Too many legislators with nothing to do but come up with new revenue sources (TAXES). There, I feel better now.
3 years ago
What would we do with out the State sticking their nose into more regulations for the Beekeeper!! You will see alot of people not registering there hives and especially new Beekeepers with one or two hives. They will basically tell the State to go pound salt!!

Thats what I would do if I was brand new!
3 years ago
I agree in part with the bill as far as pesticide uses because so many people have no idea what they are doing but willing to kill all insects they see. But as Greg pointed out maybe they added in the apiary portion to give something to change later. It makes no sense to lump them together unless there is a reason behind doing so. They "should" know that most of what they propose for apiaries is already in play, but maybe they are ignorant to that fact? Maybe they want to create a sub-registration for hives so they know the location when people are getting permission to use pesticides. Would this bill change who controls our registration? Would it remove it from David Tremblay's job description? Are they looking to raise the fees? Beekeeping (at a small scale) is not a profitable "hobby". Are they trying to do to the small beekeepers as they have done with the small family operated farms and cause them to disappear? There is so much speculation to this bill. I agree with Cheryl that we need some kind of public meeting with the writers of the bill to answer questions as it will effect so many of us and all future potential beekeepers.
3 years ago
I've followed the controversy surrounding neonicenitoids for a few years. Evidence continues to mount that they are collectively having a very serious negative impact on honeybees, other insects, and most likely humans as well. Many European countries have placed a ban on them (at least a temporary ban), citing what is known as the "precautionary principle," in other words, they are prohibited from use until proven safe. This is diametrically opposite to how we do things in the US, where the chemical company does its own testing, basically gets a rubber stamp approval from the government, and the chemical is legal for use until proven otherwise. GMOs are a classic example of this.

I completely endorse H205 and hope it is enacted. That said, treated seeds are exempt, and I wonder what percentage of corn and other non-organic seeds are treated with a neonic--I am certain it is the great majority of those seeds. So in my opinion, this is a baby step in the right direction.
~Jeffrey Hamelman, Hartland Four Corners
3 years ago
I am completely in favor of the move to register and restrict the use of neonics and other agricultural pesticides. However, I agree with others who question the exclusion of treated seeds. I believe these should be included in the bill. Unless there is incentive to move to less toxic forms of agriculture, it won’t happen, and the air and soil will continue to be poisoned.

The purpose of the bill, as stated, is :
“Statement of purpose of bill as introduced: This bill proposes to regulate the sale and application of neonicotinoid pesticides in order to protect pollinator populations.”

There is nothing in the purpose about regulating beekeepers. We already are required to register our apiaries with the Secretary annually and pay a fee for the privilege. The VBA has a certification program. I tried to do a search to find out which states require beekeepers to be certified. A number of states require registration of hives/apiaries, but I didn’t find any that required state certification. Does anyone know if / which states require training, certification and continuing education to be a beekeeper? Sounds like they are trying to move towards licensure.

Instead of duplicating existing regulations and making things more complicated, the state should be supporting beekeepers. Beekeepers should get a tax deduction for raising bees, belonging to the VBA and using BMPs. Some states have grant programs to assist beekeepers and encourage beekeeping. Vermont seems to want to make if more difficult to get into beekeeping. That makes no sense.

I totally agree that the VBA should have the opportunity to meet with this committee. I think the intent is good, but they may be shooting themselves in the foot by trying to make it more difficult for beekeepers. And, I don’t believe any regulation of beekeepers belongs in a bill to regulate pesticides.

Thank you for the opportunity to spout off!
Sue Ordinetz
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