Black bears have become a major problem for Maryland’s beekeepers, but this may soon become a thing of the past. Under a bill proposed by Western Maryland Lawmakers, beekeepers would be allowed to shoot black bears that are trying to raid their beehives.
On Monday, the House of Delegates passed the bill on a 124-17 vote, so now it goes to the Senate.
Under the measure, the beekeeper would have to install an electric fence barrier around the beehives to keep the bears out. After this course of action has been taken, only then will the beekeeper be able to take the necessary action to protect the bee colony.
The Western Maryland lawmakers said bees should be subject to the same protection as livestock. According to state data, bee colonies are raided by black bears about 6 times a year.
Under current laws, beekeepers face a $1,500 and six months in jail, if they injure or kill a bear.