Local beekeepers are concerned that a possible rule change could affect their livelihoods and the species they work to protect.
Honeybees are already facing a host of natural dangers nationwide, but a rule that allows beekeepers to remove nuisance bees from people's homes and keep them alive may be in jeopardy.
Beekeeper Dennis Langlois makes 500 bee removals from homes a year, but he said he may not be able to do that if the Florida Department of Agriculture changes the rules and only allows exterminators to deal with bee problems at homes and businesses.
Langlois, who rehabs thousands of honeybees at his Oviedo bee rescue, said using an exterminator only leads to more problems one might otherwise never see inside their home and it’s one of many reasons he works hard to safely remove a colony's entire footprint and keep it thriving.
As president of the Seminole County Beekeepers Association, and part of the University of Florida’s Master Beekeeper Program, he’s concerned that a planned workshop by the Florida Department Agriculture could change the most important part of his work--saving bees.
“Just the idea someone would eradicate a colony of bees, it just breaks my heart,” he said.
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The meeting will discuss a current rule that currently allows beekeepers to remove bees from structures such as homes and businesses.
Langlois worries that any change could directly impact the insect, which is so vital to the human species.
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“One-third of the food you eat comes directly from bees. It's just a matter of time before the colony eventually dies off,” Langlois said.
Langlois said a change could also affect a consumer's right to choose how bee removals are handled.
“I think there will be a lot of people unhappy with the process that pest control offers, which will pretty much leave no good option for the bees,” he said.
Langlois and a group of Central Florida beekeepers all plan to attend the Feb. 2 workshop in Gainesville
He's also been gathering signatures for a petition.
Cox Media Group