Best Management Practices for Maintaining European Honey Bee Colonies in Virginia
The recommended practices for maintaining honey bees in managed colonies include:
1. Comply with all homeowner association, local, state and federal ordinances, laws, and
regulations as they pertain to beekeeping and management of honey bees.
2. Maintain strong, healthy, populous colonies.
3. Implement proper management and control techniques to prevent abundance of virgin
queens and occurrence of swarms.
4. Maintain colonies with honey bees of European origin (EHB).
5. When maintaining more than 5 colonies in an apiary a minimum of 10% of all colonies
shall contain at least one standard frame, or the equivalent, of drone comb.
6. Maintain all apiaries at least 10 feet away from property lines, and ensure all colonies less than 40 feet from property lines are placed behind a barrier which would prevent direct access or flight pathways to the colonies.
7. Ensure that colony flyways are more than 12 feet above the ground when they cross
8. When maintaining colonies within 200 feet of a property line provide and maintain a
water source within 50 feet or one half the distance to the nearest unnatural water source, which ever is closest.
9. Remove or relocate an apiary that is within 50 feet of any animal that is tethered, penned,
kenneled, or otherwise prevented from escaping a stinging incident.
10. Avoid opening or disturbing colonies if neighbors or the general public are participating
in outside activities or using machinery within 75 feet of the apiary.
11. Replace queens in colonies exhibiting excessive defensive behavior which may be
harmful to the general public, livestock, or domestic animals. 12. Report all colonies suspected of being of non-EHB origin to the Department.
13. In the event that a locality is declared an Africanized Honey Bee (AHB) suspected or
14. Ensure that all queens purchased or obtained from areas determined to contain or suspected of having AHB populations are accompanied by EHB certification.
For further information contact:
Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Office of Plant Industry Services
P.O. Box 1163 Richmond, VA 23218
Telephone: 804-786-3515 FAX: 804.371.7793