OCTOBER 24, 2006 - Posted at 12:15 p.m. CDT
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Arkansas beekeepers and state officials are developing legislation aimed at protecting honeybees and the honeybee business.
The state has more than 1,300 beekeepers with more than 60,000 hives. Current law doesn't take into account pests that can threaten the hives, such as mites, hive beetles and Africanized honeybees.
A State Plant Board committee has approved proposed legislation developed in consultation with the Arkansas Beekeepers Association. The proposal requires apiaries to be registered with the state and calls for the creation of a voluntary master beekeeper certification program.
The proposal would serve as a guide, leaving many details for future state regulation. Most association members say they want in-state inspections to be voluntary.
The Plant Board is expected to review the proposal November 14. If approved, the agency would seek a legislative sponsor for the 2007 session of the Legislature.