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(Click on this link to view this Code of Virginia on the Virginia General Assembly Information System website.)

Chapter 44 - Beekeeping

§ 3.2-4400. Definitions.
As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:
"Apiary" means any place where one or more colonies of bees are kept.
"Appliance" means any apparatus, tool, machine, or other device used in the handling and manipulating of bees, honey, wax, hives, and hive parts and shall include containers used in transporting, processing, storing, or merchandising bees and bee products.
"Bee" means the honeybee, Apis mellifera and genetic variations thereof, at any living stage; and may include other hymenopterous insects that depend on pollen and nectar for food.
"Bee diseases" means departures from a sound state of health of bees characterized by visible symptoms including American foulbrood and any other diseases, insects, mites, or bee pests.
"Bee equipment" means hives and hive parts including frames, supers, covers, bottom boards, and beekeeping apparel.
"Brood comb" means the assemblage of cells containing any living stage of bees at any time prior to their emergence as adults.
"Certificate of health" means a state-of-origin document prepared and signed by the State Apiarist or other authorized person declaring the bees, bee equipment, appliances, apiaries, and honey houses to be free of bee diseases.
"Colony" means a queenright assemblage of social bees capable of reproducing.
"Combless package" means a shipping container for transporting bees or queens.
"Entry permit" means a state-of-destination document prepared by the State Apiarist or other authorized person authorizing the entry of bee equipment, appliances, and bees on combs into the Commonwealth.
"Hive" means a box, skep, barrel, log gum, or other container used as a domicile for bees.
"Honey house" means any building where honey for commercial use is extracted, graded, processed, packed, or stored.
"Person" means the term as defined in § 1-230. The term also means any society.

(Code 1950, § 3-483; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-588; 1972, c. 499, § 3.1-610.1; 1982, c. 100; 2008, c. 860.)

§ 3.2-4401. Powers and duties of the Board.
The Board may adopt regulations to:
1. Suppress bee diseases by regulating the movement of bees and controlling or destroying disease reservoirs;
2. Require apiary identification;
3. Adopt colony strength standards for pollination services;
4. Promote the sale and distribution of bees and their products; and
5. Effectively administer and enforce this chapter.

(1972, c. 499, § 3.1-610.9; 2008, c. 860.)

§ 3.2-4402. State Apiarist.
The Commissioner may appoint a State Apiarist with adequate experience and training in practical beekeeping. The State Apiarist shall promote the science of beekeeping by education and other means; inspect apiaries, beehives, and beekeeping equipment within the Commonwealth for bee disease; and perform other duties that may be required by regulation or law, including the inspection of honey houses for sanitation.

(Code 1950, §§ 3-484, 3-485; 1966, c. 702, §§ 3.1-589, 3.1-590; 1972, c. 499, §§ 3.1-610.2, 3.1-610.3; 2008, c.860.)

§ 3.2-4403. Duties of beekeepers.
Beekeepers shall:
1. Provide movable frames with combs or foundation in all hives used by them to contain bees, except for short periods, not to exceed the first spring honey flow, and to cause the bees in such hives to construct brood combs in such frames so that any of the frames may be removed from the hive without injuring other combs in such hive; and
2. Securely and tightly close the entrance of any hive in apiaries not free from disease and make the hive tight so that robber bees cannot enter, leave, or obtain honey from the hives as long as the hives remain in a location accessible by honeybees.

(Code 1950, § 3-497; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-602; 1972, c. 499, § 3.1-610.10; 2008, c. 860.)

§ 3.2-4404. Duty to notify the State Apiarist of diseased bees.
Any person in the Commonwealth who is aware of diseased bees in his or other apiaries shall immediately notify the State Apiarist, giving the exact location of the diseased bees and other information as requested.

(Code 1950, § 3-498; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-603; 1972, c. 499, § 3.1-610.8; 2008, c. 860.)

§ 3.2-4405. Entry permit required to bring bees and used bee equipment into Commonwealth; inspection.
A. No person shall bring any bees on combs, empty used combs, used hives, or other used apiary appliances into the Commonwealth without first receiving an entry permit to do so from the State Apiarist. Entry permits shall be issued only upon receipt of satisfactory proof that the bees and other items are free from bee diseases. Specifically identifiable colonies must be brought into the Commonwealth within 60 days from the issuance of the entry permit.
B. Bees brought into the Commonwealth shall be subject to inspection at any time.

(Code 1950, § 3-501; 1950, p. 227; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-606; 1972, c. 499, § 3.1-610.15; 1982, c. 100; 2008, c. 860.)

§ 3.2-4406. Certificate of health to accompany bees in combless packages brought into Commonwealth.
All bees in combless packages transported into the Commonwealth shall be accompanied by a certificate of health issued by the proper official of the place of origin.

(Code 1950, § 3-500; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-605; 1972, c. 499, § 3.1-610.14; 2008, c. 860.)

§ 3.2-4407. Certificate of health to accompany bill of sale.
No bees on combs, hives, used beekeeping equipment with combs, or appliances may be offered for sale without a certificate of health prepared by the State Apiarist for each specifically identifiable item. The certificate of health must accompany each bill of sale.

(Code 1950, § 3-502; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-607; 1972, c. 499, § 3.1-610.17; 2008, c. 860.

§ 3.2-4408. Rearing package bees and queens for sale.
A. No person shall rear package bees or queens for sale without first applying to the State Apiarist for inspection at least once during each summer season.
B. Upon the discovery of any bee diseases, the rearer or seller shall at once cease to ship bees from affected apiaries until the State Apiarist issues a certificate of health for such apiaries.
C. No person engaged in rearing queen bees for sale shall use honey in the making of bee food for use in mailing cages.

(Code 1950, § 3-496; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-601; 1972, c. 499, §§ 3.1-610.12, 3.1-610.13; 2008, c. 860.)

§ 3.2-4409. Right of entry for inspection and enforcement.
The Commissioner may enter any private or public premises during business hours, except private dwellings. The Commissioner shall have access to all apiaries and other places where bees, combs, beekeeping equipment, and appliances may be kept.

(Code 1950, § 3-488; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-593; 1972, c. 499, § 3.1-610.7; 2008, c. 860.)

§ 3.2-4410. Measures to eradicate and control bee diseases; appeal.
A. The State Apiarist shall examine or inspect the bees in the Commonwealth whenever they are suspected of being infected with bee diseases and, on request, shall inspect bees to be sold or to be transported interstate.
B. If bees are found to be infected with bee diseases, the State Apiarist shall take suitable measures to eradicate or control such diseases.
C. If the owner of such diseased bees fails to take such steps as may be prescribed by the State Apiarist to eradicate or control the disease, the State Apiarist shall destroy or treat the bees, hives, and honey.
D. The State Apiarist may prohibit the removal of bees, honey, wax, combs, hives, or other used beekeeping equipment from any place where bees are known to be infected with bee diseases, until he issues a certificate of health for such place.
E. Within 10 days from the receipt of an order from the State Apiarist to destroy or treat his diseased bees, hives, honey, or appliances, any owner of diseased bees may file a written appeal with the Commissioner. Upon timely receipt of a written appeal under this section, the Commissioner shall act upon the appeal in accordance with the provisions of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.).

(Code 1950, §§ 3-487, 3-490, 3-491, 3-493; 1966, c. 702, §§ 3.1-592, 3.1-595, 3.1-596, 3.1-598; 1972, c. 499, §§ 3.1-610.5, 3.1-610.6, 3.1-610.11; 2008, c. 860.)

§ 3.2-4411. Abandoned apiaries.
The State Apiarist may deem an apiary to be abandoned if: (i) the bees and hives show evidence of a period of neglect exceeding one year; and (ii) the owner of the apiary has not been identified through a reasonable search of available records. If the State Apiarist deems an apiary to be abandoned, he shall certify his findings in a declaration of abandonment to the treasurer of the locality where the apiary is located. The treasurer shall give notice of such certification to the last known owner of the apiary and the owner of the land upon which the apiary is located by personal service, by posting at last known residence, or by publication. If after 60 days, the owner or landowner has not laid claim to the apiary, the treasurer may hold a sheriff's sale, issue a treasurer's deed to the successful bidder, and deposit any proceeds into the general fund of the locality. If disposition is not made within 90 days of the date of the declaration of abandonment, the State Apiarist may take possession of the apiary and destroy the related bees, hives, and equipment.

(1972, c. 499, § 3.1-610.18; 2008, c. 860.)

§ 3.2-4413. Costs of administering chapter.
Normal costs of administering this law shall be borne by the Commonwealth. Costs for services, products, or articles beyond the scope of the law are reimbursable and payable to the Treasurer of Virginia by the persons affected. The Commissioner shall promptly credit reimbursements to the fund from which originally expended.

(1972, c. 499, § 3.1-610.20; 2008, c. 860

§ 3.2-4414. Violation of chapter.
Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter or any order or regulation issued hereunder, or interfering in any way with the Commissioner in the discharge of his duties is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

(Code 1950, § 3-505; 1966, c. 702, § 3.1-610; 1972, c. 499, § 3.1-610.21; 2008, c. 860.)



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February Meetings
and Events

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February 3rd
Queen Rearing Class


February 20th
Monthly Meeting


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March Meetings
and Events

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March 3rd
Horticultural Extravaganza


March 8th
HR Horticultural Society


March 20th
Monthly Meeting


March 24th
CNU Gardening Symposium




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NewBees Corner


Information listed here is for the new beekeepers looking for new information and guidance on beekeeping and beekeeping chores:




Now is the time to be watching the 10 day weather forecasts! Plan on making up some fresh, warm, syrup to feed to your survivors this next week. You need to feed in winter but winter feeding is different. Mix your syrup 2:1 (2 sugars to 1 water). Best to feed liquid on the warm days and then have sugar feed on for the colder days. You can put sugar feed on and then feed liquid when the weatherman calls for a warm spell. Take the liquid off once the temperature drops again as the bees might not take it and a leaking container would be the end of the colony.

Did you know an inner cover has two sides? A shallow summer side that mainatins bee space and a deeper winter side that allows for fondant or sugar candy to be placed on the top bars available to the cluster. Here are some links to follow for making winter feed for your colonies. This first method requires cooking and I have used it with great success. To use it, follow this link. Something I've read is that the vinegar is essential to add in the heating process as it aids in breaking down the cane sugar into the sugars that are in honey, fructose and glucose as well as raising the acidity level closer to natural honey.

A second method requires no cooking. I have not used this recipe as yet but plan to this winter. To use it, follow this link. There is also information on this site for using the "Mountain Camp" method of feeding dry sugar. I prefer to make my feed in advance and then apply it to the hive but that's beekeeping, each of us has our own preference.




So you were able to harvest some honey but now what do you do with those frames? There are three things that can be done. 1-you could just leave the frames as they are and store them in a freezer or refrigerator. Not very practical for most folks and storing them wet in the garage or house is an invitation to disaster, don't do it! 2-you can let the bees dry them out outside of the hive. This works very well but you must take precautions to prevent a robbing frenzy in your apiary. Put the frames some distance from the hives, the farther the better, and additionally have some objects between, like trees or a building. This also pertains to letting the bees clean up your extracting equipment. There will be some damage to the comb but nothing too drastic. 3-lastly you can put the frames back into the hive they were harvested from or on another colony that may need the stores. If you just want the bees to dry the frames and move the residual honey down into the colony you can place the frames in a super above the inner cover. To keep the bees from moving up add a spacer or an empty super between the inner cover and the frames. Adding the frames back into or on top of a colony may also create a robbing situation if there are any gaps, cracks or openings. Take precautions!

Once dry these frames are a valuable resource and you HAVE to protect them until freezing weather arrives and wax moth activity ceases for the year. There are some choices that can be made here as well. Hanging under a eave allowing plenty of air and light can usually prevent wax moth damage if the combs never held brood or pollen. Follow this link to see some examples. Another way is to protect your frames with Para Dichlorobenzene, Moth crystals. Supers are stacked and sealed with a spacer at the top. Place the moth crystals on a paper plate on top in the space as the fumes will go down. Follow this link to read an article about wax moths and their control. Lastly combs can be protected with a natural microbial bacteria Bacillus thuringenisis (Certan®). It was once available for sale by bee supply companies but is no longer manufactured in the US but is available from Canada. Some beeks use alternative products that contain the same bacteria but are sold under a different name for the similar purpose of larva control. Here is a lnk to a video about the use of Certan.

Have you done your check for varroa mites? Now is a great time to do a sugar roll or alcohol wash to determine the percentage of mites within your colonies. Doesn't matter if you treat or not but to know your colonies health, it is important to monitor the varroa mite infestation level. Follow this link to learn how to do a sugar roll or this link to learn how to do an alcohol wash. Once you have your numbers then you can follow this link to determine a course of action. Just looking at your bees is not enough to know how they are coping with varroa. I just recently, with the help of a club member, did an alcohol wash on a colony that appeared to be in good shape. Weren't we both surprised when there were so many mites we had to dump them out on a rag to make an accurate count. 158 mites in 1/2 cup (300) of bees! Do I have a colony that is surviving with varroa or a colony that is on the brink of collapse? Without monitoring I wouldn't know why they perished or the importance of breeding this queen.




The summer dirth has started and foraging bees are all looking for stores to bring back to their home hive. Don't let your hive become a source of stores for a neighboring colony! Use a robbing screen if you have a small colony or are feeding to grow your colony. Products like Honey B Healthy or added essential oils can drive foraging bees wild. They want that stuff! Know that a honey bee colony's worst enemy is a stronger honey bee colony, fact.

For information on Robbing Screens check out these links:
1. Robbing Screen article on the CBA website
2. Images for different varieties of robbing screens
A few video links on making robbing screens. (Something to remember is if you use an entrance reducer the width doesn't need to exactly match the bottom board, example: an 8 frame robbing screen will work on a ten frame hive with an entrance reducer!).
1. Northwest New Jersey Beekeepers(NWNJBA)
2. Country Rubes Beekeeping Supplies
3. Another Country Rubes Video
A Google search brings up plenty more videos!
Robbing Screen Videos