Two items have almost reached the finish line and need a final push!
First item: EHB 2478 (the bee forage pilot project) will be considered by the Senate in a floor vote this coming week, February 29th-March4th. Please call and/or email your Senator and ask for their support in favor of HB 2478. This bill will conduct forage replacement projects around the state to find the best methods to replace noxious weeds with good bee forage. HB 2478 passed 96 to 1 in the House and unanimously from the committees which heard testimony on it. The forage projects in this bill will help promote healthy honey bee and other pollinator populations and thus better serve the needs of pollinated agriculture and the environment.
Second item: The permanent new bee researcher position for WSU has been successfully inserted into the Senate version of this year’s supplemental budget. It had been inserted into the House version, but was removed. Speaker Chopp of the House needs the support of all the Representatives to re-insert it and not let it be removed again. Your Representatives must hear of your support! Call and/or email your Representatives before Monday to tell them bee research is vital for bees in overcoming the problems which have led to increasing losses of hives. WSU has the right emphasis on bee research, and a second bee researcher would greatly increase the innovations coming from WSU toward making our bees healthier. The top four states in terms of pollinated acres are California, Washington, Michigan and Oregon. The number of bee researchers in each is 9, 1, 2 and 2 respectively! Washington State University has Dr. Steve Sheppard as the sole researcher, and he’s extremely busy serving as the chair of the Entomology Department there. An additional bee researcher, working on ideas applicable and specific to the Pacific Northwest, would greatly contribute to how we can improve our bee populations.
Both items contribute positively for the health and sustainability of our bees. With support from beekeepers, the first item mentioned above has a good chance of passing. The second will not happen without the voice of every beekeeper in the state.
Now is the time! Please make an effort to improve bee forage and bee research in Washington by contacting your Senator and Representatives.