Allendale February 25, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES III • Page 5 Council mulls plan to permit bees in borough by John Koster The Allendale Borough Council is considering a possible plan to officially tolerate honeybee culture in Allendale and to relinquish Allendale’s status as one of the few New Jersey municipalities that bans honeybees. A packed house of about 60 bee sympathizers, ranging from senior citizens to high school students and Scouts, sat through the last council work session to show support for lifting the bee ban. Dianne Di Blasi, a would-be beekeeper, discovered some time ago that Allendale had an ordinance banning honeybees along with large and exotic mammals and snakes. Her first attempt to have bees exempted from the ban was denied because borough officials were concerned about the cost of retaining an inspector. This time, she returned to the council with Tim Schuler, New Jersey’s state apiarist, and the only official beehive inspector in the state. His services are available to municipalities at no charge under state auspices. Di Blasi, Schuler, Allendale Marsh Warden Stiles Thomas, and Glen Rock amateur beekeeper Fred Canavan offered such a detailed look at the relative safety of bees as compared to more dangerous wasps and hornets that Allendale Mayor Vince Barra said he would examine their request to adopt the Best Management Practices of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture as Allendale’s official bee code, replacing the ban on beehives. Schuler drew surprised reactions when he told the council members that a typical hive could have 20,000 to 60,000 bees at any given time. Schuler explained, however, that unlike wasps and hornets, bees do not bother picnickers by pursuing sweet foods at outdoor gatherings. “Bees don’t eat that stuff,” he said. He said that honeybees – vital to pollinating a number of food crops, almonds and berries in particular – seek out flowers in search of nectar and propolis and, in turn, pollinate the flowers as part of a benign natural cycle. He said that adding a stockade fence on the outskirts of a licensed bee colony could influence the bees to fly above the zone where they would likely come in contact with humans. He added that, since bees generally range about two miles, and there are five or six apiaries in neighboring Wyckoff, there is no practical way to keep bees out of Allendale in any case. Thomas, a state and national authority on birding, said that in the 30 years the Bergen County Wildlife Center in Wyckoff had maintained a hive, there had not been a single sting. He also reported Lorrimer Sanctuary, the New Jersey Audubon Center in Franklin Lakes, had a similar record. While cutting purple loosestrife back from trails at the Celery Farm, Thomas said he had never been stung by a honeybee, though he had been stung by yellow jackets and hornets. Canavan said his Glen Rock hives also had no records of bee attacks on residents. Di Blasi said she was somewhat optimistic about getting the bee ban lifted in Allendale, given the fine support from Schuler, Thomas, Canavan, and the support of the large audience. 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