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Ash

Newbie looking to move to the area and start a hive

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Ash

Hi I was hoping someone could answer a question about what the rules and regs are to starting a bee hive. Do you have to have a certain amount of property? Do you have to be registered with the county? Also do you need a permit to sell honey? I haven't started purchasing anything just in research mode any answers to these questions would be super helpful! If you think of any other information that would be helpful I would appreciate it. I am starting to look at properties in the Loudoun area and I think depending on the answers will help me in the house buying process!

Thanks in advance!

Ash

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Michael Lauer

Hi Ash,

You do not have to have a minimum or maximum amount of property to start a bee hive.  I have known people who live in townhouses who have bee hives in their (small) back yards.  You will of course need to get approval from your HOA (Homeowners Association) if you have one.  You do not have to be registered with the county to start a bee hive.  You may however, be eligible for a state refund (up to $200) for purchasing a hive, although I think the program has been put on hold for now.  Here is the link for that:  http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/plant-industry-services-beehive-grant-program.shtml     As for a license to sell honey, I do not sell honey and therefore can't answer that question.  Perhaps another LBA member can respond to that.

Good luck to you!

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Marcel

Hi Ash,

Just to add a couple of thoughts - In Loudoun county there are not municipal ordinances regarding keeping bees with the exception of nuisance laws. If you do end up with an HOA I would suggest reading their rules/regulations carefully. Those will almost certainly have a section covering the keeping of animals and although they likely will not specifically call out honey bees keep in mind that in Virginia honey bees are technically classified as livestock, so depending on how that verbiage is written it may still apply if someone decides to make an issue.  Regarding honey sales there are labelling 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."

Hope that helps!

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Bret Fisher
On 8/8/2017 at 2:16 PM, Ash said:

I am starting to look at properties in the Loudoun area and I think depending on the answers will help me in the house buying process!

If you are seriously considering getting started with beekeeping, I would also strongly encourage you to take a beekeeping class before you order your first piece of equipment. There are a couple of options. Virginia Bee Supply in Remington, VA offers one-day classes that convey a lot of information, but offer no mentoring program. 

http://www.virginiabeesupply.com/Classes.html

LBA's own beekeeping course, taught in the Feb/Mar timeframe over the course of several weeks. One big advantage to taking this course through LBA is that you'll likely be assigned a mentor in your local area who can personally assist you with your new bees. 

http://www.loudounbee.org/the-association/beekeeping-classes.html/

Since the active beekeeping season is still upon us, I would also encourage you to visit a local (NorVa) beekeeper and get a closer look at the fascinating adventure you are contemplating. If you are already located in the DC Metro/NorVA area and would like to visit an active apiary (bee yard), please feel free to PM or text me to arrange a visit to my apiary, about 5 miles north of Haymarket, Virginia. No cost or obligation, I just love sharing my fascination about honey bees and dispelling many of the fears people have about them. 

Attached to this post is the ever-popular Beekeeping Basics pdf from Penn State that is often included in beekeeping classes. 

Welcome to the club, the life, and the obsession of beekeeping. 

Bret Fisher
CGBees@gmail.com
703.965.6216

Beekeeping Basics - PSU.pdf

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EspressoJim
On 8/8/2017 at 4:53 PM, Michael Lauer said:

You may however, be eligible for a state refund (up to $200) for purchasing a hive

The state of Virginia has on the site that due to budget constraints they are not funding this in 2017.

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Jennifer

I am interested in getting two hives started as we live in rural Loudoun County and have plenty of land for them. I am interested in the Honey Flow type of hive but wanted some input before purchasing any hive.  If simple basic hive will do, then that's what I'll purchase.  I plan to join this organization and am excited to learn about the beekeeping world.  Any input on hives to purchase (and possibly where...Southern States? Amazon?) would be greatly appreciated!

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Bret Fisher
14 minutes ago, Jennifer said:

Any input on hives to purchase (and possibly where...Southern States? Amazon?) would be greatly appreciated!

Hi, Jennifer.

You are being wise to seek out more information before starting to buy any beekeeping equipment, and I'm glad to hear you'll be joining LBA. That's a great first step. You've got plenty of time before you need to purchase any equipment, and I would highly recommend taking our beekeeping classes that begin in February. You can find more information here:

http://www.loudounbee.org/the-association/beekeeping-classes.html/

I've also attached "Beekeeping Basics" that I hope you will find helpful as you start learning about the fascinating world of the honey bee.

Beekeeping Basics - PSU.pdf

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Jennifer

Hi Bret,

thanks for your reply!

I made every attempt I could to attend the meeting last night but was unable to get there. 

Do you have any feedback on the honey flow hives?  Are they worth the extra cost?  It seems like a very practical way to both harvest honey and to disrupt the bees as little as possible. 

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Bret Fisher
On 10/3/2017 at 0:19 PM, Jennifer said:

Do you have any feedback on the honey flow hives?  Are they worth the extra cost?  It seems like a very practical way to both harvest honey and to disrupt the bees as little as possible. 

I have not used the Flow Hive myself. I think there may be a couple other members who have tried one. It seems way too expensive for my taste. My suggestion would be to start with normal Langstroth equipment at first, and once you learn more about honey bees it might be something to explore after a year or two.

Edited by Bret Fisher

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farlinanne

Here, I am a newbie and I support you in beehive and nucs and also for I help you with various types of equipment like  cheap beekeeper suits for the purpose of safety during beekeeping. 

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