Florida: Bee Removal Experts Feel Sting of New State Law Requiring Licensing

naplesnews.com By Eric Staats 9/16/12

 — Beekeeper David Johnson's bare hands worked slowly as he picked apart a honeycomb crawling with bees he had pulled out of a water meter box on Marco Island.

"Let's see if they'll be nice," Johnson, 47, said as he crouched over the box buried in a front yard on Antigua Court. "Most of the time they're nice."

Bees — he calls them girls — crawled on his hands and up his arms, but Johnson stayed calm and focused as he shook the quietly buzzing bees into a wooden box and tied pieces of the honeycomb into frames inside the box. He planned to give the bees to a friend getting started in beekeeping.

Johnson came out of the job without a sting, but he and other beekeepers have felt bitten lately by the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

This summer, the agency's Bureau of Entomology and Pest Control Chief Michael Page issued a new interpretation of Florida's pest control law that meant bee removal now must be regulated as pest control.

The finding threw into limbo what had been a longstanding deal beekeepers had struck with Florida that created...

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(The above was provided by CSBA Sec/Treas, Carlen Jupe.)