Proposal to tax Calif. beekeepers stirs up swarm

GOSIA WOZNIACKA - Associated Press
In this March 20, 2011 photo, beekeeper and bee scientist Gordon Wardell opens up hives at an almond orchard at Paramount Farms in Lost Hills, Calif. The California Apiary Research Commission would tax any beekeeper operating with more than 50 colonies of bees in California, at a rate of up to $1 per hive. Proponents say the money would fund crucial research on the health of bees, which continue to perish in great numbers from Colony Collapse Disorder and other health aliments. Bees are essential to the agricultural industry as pollinators of a third of the United States' food supply. (AP Photo/Gosia Wozniacka)
In this March 20, 2011 photo, beekeeper and bee scientist Gordon Wardell opens up hives at an almond orchard at Paramount Farms in Lost Hills, Calif. The California Apiary Research Commission would tax any beekeeper operating with more than 50 colonies of bees in California, at a rate of up to $1 per hive. Proponents say the money would fund crucial research on the health of bees, which continue to perish in great numbers from Colony Collapse Disorder and other health aliments. Bees are essential to the agricultural industry as pollinators of a third of the United States' food supply.

A proposal to tax beekeepers who do business in California to pay for research on honey bees' health is stirring up a swarm.

Beekeepers agree more research is needed because bees continue to perish from colony collapse disorder and other ailments. But some say they want to be able to choose what research to support, and others say they just can't afford the tax with their businesses struggling.

Beekeepers must approve the proposal in a summer referendum for it to take effect.

The plan calls for the creation of a California Apiary Research Commission that would tax any beekeeper with more than 50 colonies of bees at a rate of up to $1 per hive.

California attracts beekeepers from all over the nation every spring for almond pollination.