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Bees may be pests to some people, but they are important to agriculture. One third of the world’s food supply is pollinated by bees. Without bees to keep plants and crops alive, the world will not survive. Members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® recently learned of this sobering thought from beekeeper and honey bee location expert, Art Hall. Hall asked the REALTORS® to relay the information to homeowners, stressing the importance of bees to the world’s survival. The honey bee, which is the most endangered bee, is responsible for over $30 billion a year in crops.

Beekeeping originally started in Egypt in 2400 B.C. European beekeeping began in the 1300s. There were no honey bees in America until the Europeans brought bees to Virginia in 1621. Hall said today there has been an increase in backyard beekeeping as more people become aware of their threat of extinction.

Hall removes bees from homes, backyards, and commercial structures for a fee. He warns it is not enough to just kill bees with spray, as their remnants create spores of black mold, which destroys structures and is also a mandatory disclosure. Bees need to be removed, the area of their location, if a structure, then needs to be cleaned, sealed and calked.

Hall donates the bees he removes to the 4-H, the Future Farmers of American, and anyone who will prove that they will keep the bees alive and not kill them.

The beekeeper stressed the world needs to save honey bees because they pollinate hundreds of plants upon which livestock feed. Bees help create billions of dollars of increased yield. He noted one fruit tree grower said bees can mean a difference of 40 to 50 percent increase in yield.

Bees are dying due to a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder, which occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear and leave the queen behind. Other reasons are parasites, imported bacteria, and pesticides.

To protect the bee population, homeowners can reduce pesticide usage, support local beekeepers, plant year-round forage and tell neighbors and friends about the importance of their survival.

 

 

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The National Association of REALTORS® is calling on Congress to act now to reform and extend the National Flood Insurance Program, which is set to expire on July 31. Allowing the deadline to lapse would deny necessary insurance coverage to homeowners and buyers in more than 20,000 communities nationwide.

The NFIP provides up to $350,000 of flood insurance coverage for federally-backed mortgage in 22,000 communities nationwide. It also provides an alternative to taxpayer-funded disaster assistance. While there is a growing market for private flood insurance, for many, the NFIP continues to be the primary source of asset protection against flooding, the most common and costly natural disaster in the U.S.

In November last year, the House of Representatives passed the NAR-supported 21st Century Flood Reform Act, which contains numerous important provisions for consumers. The Act reauthorizes the NFIP for a full five years, avoiding the uncertainty of short-term extensions and potential shutdowns and provides guidelines for creating better flood maps for the program. It limits maximum flood insurance premiums to $10,000 per year for residential properties, and directs FEMA to develop more granular rate tables to ensure fewer properties are overcharged by the NFIP. The bill sets aside $1 billion for flood mitigation assistance grants and increases access to private market flood insurance, which often offers better coverage at lower cost. The bill also addresses issues with repeatedly flooding properties that account for 2 percent of NFIP policies and 25 percent of claim payments over the history of the program.

The bill is now in the Senate. NAR is urging the Senate to act quickly. The last time the NFIP expired, approximately 1,400 home closings were interrupted each day until the program was reinstated. In all, the program has lapsed on a number of separate occasions for two months combined with a total of 23 separate short-term extensions.

Earlier this week, the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) sent out a Red Alert to members about reaching out to their Assembly members and urging them to oppose AB 2364. C.A.R. is pleased to announce that AB 2364 FAILED last night on Assembly Floor. The bill only secured 25 YES votes, with 34 voting NO and the remainder Not Voting. All members of the Assembly were present, so those not voting did so intentionally.

C.A.R OPPOSES AB 2364 (Bloom and Chiu), which deters property owners from returning to the rental housing business for 10 years. The passage of AB 2364 would have significantly weakened the Ellis Act by discouraging new rental housing investment and would have ultimately made the state’s housing crisis even worse.

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