Honeybee FAQ

Frequently asked questions about beekeeping

Only people producing queen and package bees for sale must be licensed.  A one-time fee of $25 is charged.

Since the number of our inspectors is limited, registration and inspection requirements are enforced primarily on commercial beekeepers.  If you are a hobbyist and have a few colonies, the Department will perform a courtesy inspection upon request.  A good hobbyist alternative is to join a beekeepers club and learn to do your own inspections.

Inspections are performed to determine the general health of a colony and to identify American Foulbrood disease, which is highly contagious and can destroy a hive or whole apiary if not controlled.  Inspectors also provide information to beekeepers regarding cultural practices and medications to prevent infestations of Varroa mites, tracheal mites, small hive beetles and minimize diseases such as nosema, chalkbrood, and European Foulbrood.

Since American Foulbrood is a spore-forming disease, and the spores can survive several years, the only practical method to eliminate the disease is to kill the bees and burn the hive.  Feeding bee's Terramycin antibiotic can prevent the disease.

For Varroa mites, Apistan strips must be hung in the hives according to directions.  For tracheal mites menthol is used, often in an "extender patty" of Crisco.  Medicating with Fumadil can prevent Nosema.  The fungus disease Chalkbrood is controlled culturally by tilting the hive forward to prevent water from entering.

Squirt wasp and hornet spray into the bees' entry hole in your home's outside wall at dusk to kill the bees.  After several days you should retreat. You will then have to remove the hive by cutting the wallboard inside the house, or cockroaches, mice, and ants will make a home there.

No government may enact any laws or ordinances to prohibit beekeeping with the exception of specific zoning ordinances. Your neighbor may have had a bad experience with wasps or hornets. Educating your neighbor about the gentleness of domestic bees, giving him some honey and explaining their value in pollination will go a long way toward eliminating his fears.

First, there is no such thing as "killer" bees. The proper term is Africanized bees. They are just a race of honeybees that is more aggressive than normal.  You can't tell the difference by looking. If any bees or any other insects sting you, the best thing to do is run.