Federal, State, and Local laws pertaining to beekeeping
Note: Beekeeping regulations at the federal level will not typically apply to the hobby beekeeper in the state of Virginia. Most applicable regulations to Virginia beekeepers will be governed at the state, county, and community levels.
Virginia State Law
- Code of Virginia - Title 3.2. Agriculture, Animal Care, and Food - Chapter 44. Beekeeping - General Beekeeping Regulations
- Transporting bees across state lines must be accompanied by an inspection certificate from the originating state’s apiary inspector. The certificate must be sent to the receiving state’s apiary inspector prior to transporting bees.
- A beekeeper wishing to rear and sell bees (full colonies, packages, nucs, queens) must have an annual apiary inspection by a Virginia Apiary Inspector.
Loudoun County, Local Municipalities, Home Owners Associations (HOA)
- There are no known county or municipal prohibitions or ordinances governing beekeeping in Loudoun County with the exception of nuisance laws.
- Home Owner Association (HOA) restrictions will vary. Check your community’s HOA by-laws. Honeybees fall under the "livestock" category.
Honey - Extracting, Bottling, & Labeling Requirements
Food inspection exemption is defined in § 3.2-5130. Inspections required to operate food establishment of the code of Virginia:
It is unlawful to operate a food manufacturing plant, food storage warehouse, or retail food store until it has been inspected by the Commissioner. This section shall not apply to: (...)
Private homes where the resident processes and prepares honey produced by his own hives, if: (i) the resident sells less than 250 gallons of honey annually; (ii) the resident does not process and sell other food products in addition to honey, except as allowed by subdivisions 3 and 4; (iii) the product complies with the other provisions of this chapter; and (iv) the product is labeled:
"PROCESSED AND PREPARED WITHOUT STATE INSPECTION. WARNING: Do Not Feed Honey to Infants Under One Year Old."
- It is unlawful to operate a food manufacturing plant, food storage warehouse, or retail food store until it has been inspected by the Commissioner. This section shall not apply to: (...)
- If you do not comply with the exemption or do not want to add the label above, you need a food inspection. See the Virginia department of agriculture and consumer services website.
- Basic Labeling Requirements for Honey Products – National Honey Board
- FDA guidance for honey labeling