The Vermont Statutes Online
Title 6: Agriculture
Chapter 172: Inspection of Apiaries
§ 3021. Definitions
As used in this chapter:
(1) “Abandoned apiary” means any apiary in this State whose location has not been registered with the Secretary and for which the owner cannot be located after reasonable effort.
(2) “Apiary” means a place where one or more colonies of bees are kept and shall include hives and bees.
(3) “Bee” means the insect commonly known as the honey bee (apis mellifera), or other species of the genus apis, at any stage of its existence, including the egg, larval, pupal, or adult stages.
(4) “Brood comb” means a structure of cells composed of beeswax in which bees lay their eggs and in which immature bees are reared.
(5) “Colony” means the hive and its equipment, including bees, comb, and honey.
(6) “Secretary” means the Secretary of the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.
(7) “Agency” means the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.
(8) “Destroy” means to burn bees, combs, and frames, or other equipment that cannot be disinfected by scorching or other approved methods.
(9) “Disease” shall mean any serious malady that is infectious, contagious, or injurious to bees and shall include American foulbrood, European foulbrood, or external or internal parasites or parasitoids of bees.
(10) “Equipment” means hives, supers, and frames.
(11) “Hive” means frame, hive, box hive, box, barrel, log gum, skep, or other receptacle or container, natural or artificial, or any part thereof, that is used or employed as a domicile for bees.
(12) “Honeycomb” means a structure of cells composed of beeswax in which bees store honey.
(13) “Inspector” means any person designated by the Secretary to inspect apiaries and enforce this chapter.
(14) “Owner” means a person who in any way owns, leases, possesses, or otherwise controls an apiary, colony, hive, bees, or equipment and shall include the agent of such person.
(15) “Person” shall include all corporations, partnerships, associations, societies, individuals or group of individuals, or any employee, servant, or agent acting for or employed by any person as defined in this subdivision. (Added 1983, No. 83, § 1; amended 1989, No. 256 (Adj. Sess.), § 10(a), eff. Jan. 1, 1991; 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2017, No. 113 (Adj. Sess.), § 31.)
§ 3022. Enforcement; inspection
(a) The Secretary shall enforce the provisions of this chapter.
(b) Any person who is the owner of any bees, apiary, colony, or hive shall pay a $10.00 annual registration fee for each apiary. The fee revenue shall be collected by the Secretary and credited to the Pesticide Monitoring Revolving Fund under section 929 of this title to be used to offset the costs of inspection services and to provide educational services and technical assistance to beekeepers in the State. (Added 1983, No. 83, § 1; amended 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2013, No. 191 (Adj. Sess.), § 31; 2015, No. 57, § 26, eff. June 11, 2015; 2019, No. 35, § 7.)
§ 3023. Registration; report
(a) Registration. A person who is the owner of any bees, apiary, colony, or hive in the State shall register with the Secretary in writing on a form provided by the Secretary.
(b) Report. Annually, the owner of any bees, apiary, colony, or hive registered under subsection (a) of this section shall submit a report to the Secretary that includes all of the following information:
(1) The location of all apiaries and number of colonies that the person owns. The location of an apiary shall become its registered location, provided that the apiary is located in accordance with the requirements of section 3034 of this title.
(2) Whether the location of any apiary will change within two weeks of the date that the report is submitted unless the change of location is to provide pollination services and the colonies will be returned to a registered apiary. Hives from a registered apiary may be moved to another registered apiary without reregistering.
(3) Whether a disease was discovered within any hive or colony in a registered apiary.
(4) Whether the owner transported into the State any colonies or used equipment, except as authorized under subsection 3032(c) of this title.
(5) Whether the owner is engaged in the rearing of queen bees or any other bees for sale.
(6) A current varroa mite and pest mitigation plan for each registered apiary.
(c) Notification of Secretary. The owner of any bees, apiary, colony, or hive registered under subsection (a) of this section shall notify the Secretary as soon as practicable of the detection within an apiary or hive of American foulbrood disease or other disease designated by the Secretary. (Added 1983, No. 83, § 1; amended 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2019, No. 35, § 3; 2019, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 5.)
§ 3023a. Vermont beekeeper educational program
(a) The Secretary, in cooperation with the Vermont Beekeepers Association, shall establish a voluntary educational program to train a person who owns bees, apiaries, colonies, or hives in the State. The educational program shall address:
(1) bee health;
(2) varroa mite identification and control;
(3) identification of common diseases or pests;
(4) proper maintenance of hives;
(5) State laws regarding beekeeping and pesticide application; and
(6) continued education opportunities.
(b) The Secretary shall award a certificate to a person who completes the Vermont beekeeper training program under subsection (a) of this section. (Added 2019, No. 35, § 4.)
§ 3024. Apiary inspection; owners to control or eradicate bee diseases
The Secretary, or his or her inspectors, may examine all apiaries as necessary and ascertain whether any disease that is injurious to bees is present. If any such disease is found, the Secretary shall give the owners or caretakers of the diseased apiaries written orders to treat, destroy, or otherwise handle the colonies in order to prevent the spread or dissemination of the disease. (Added 1983, No. 83, § 1; amended 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003.)
§ 3025. Second inspection of diseased colonies; destruction
The Secretary or his or her inspectors shall inspect all diseased apiaries a second time no less than 10 days after the first inspection. If the existence of disease within the apiary has been confirmed by a laboratory approved by the Secretary, the inspector may destroy any colonies of bees if he or she finds them not cured of such disease, or not treated or handled according to his or her instructions, together with honey combs, hives, or other equipment, without recompense to the owner thereof. This section shall not preclude an inspector from destroying diseased colonies at any time with the consent of the owner or his or her agent. (Added 1983, No. 83, § 1; amended 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2019, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 6.)
§ 3026. Sale or other unauthorized disposition of diseased bees
The owner of any apiary in which a disease exists shall not knowingly sell, barter, give away, or move any diseased bees, colonies, honey, hives, combs, or equipment unless he or she has the written consent of the Secretary; such person shall not in any way expose other bees to the danger of the disease. (Added 1983, No. 83, § 1; amended 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003.)
§ 3027. Abandoned apiaries and equipment
Any diseased hive or hives found by the Secretary or his or her inspector in an abandoned apiary shall be destroyed. Any abandoned diseased beekeeping equipment may be destroyed. (Added 1983, No. 83, § 1; amended 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003.)
§ 3028. Traffic in bees; inspection; certification
A person engaged in the rearing of bees for sale shall have his or her apiary inspected by the Secretary prior to sale at least once each summer season and, if any disease is found that is injurious to bees, shall at once cease to ship bees from such diseased apiary until the Secretary declares, in writing, such apiary free from all such diseases, and whenever the Secretary shall find the apiary rearing bees for sale free from disease, he or she shall furnish the owner with a certificate to that effect. (Added 1983, No. 83, § 1; amended 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2019, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 7.)
§ 3029. Movable comb frames required
(a) All hives shall be constructed with frames containing the honeycombs and brood combs that may be removed from the hive for purposes of inspection. Upon determination that any hive containing bees is not constructed with removable frames, the Secretary or his or her inspector may:
(1) order the owner to immediately transfer the bees to a hive with removable frames; or
(2) grant the owner an extension for a specific period of time after which the owner must transfer the bees to a hive with removable frames.
(b) The Secretary may, by rule, create a permit program to allow persons to operate hives without removable frames for exhibition purposes. The owner of such a hive will not be in violation of this section so long as he or she holds a valid permit and is in compliance with all applicable rules that the Secretary may adopt.
(c) Upon determination that an owner has violated the terms of this section or any rule adopted pursuant to this section, the Secretary may destroy the hive or hives. Any determination of a violation shall be appealable to the Secretary, who shall provide the owner a hearing within ten days of the determination of the violation, during which the order to destroy shall be stayed. (Added 1983, No. 83, § 1; amended 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2015, No. 23, § 77.)
§ 3030. Rules
The Secretary may adopt and enforce rules to implement the requirements of this chapter, including rules regarding:
(1) inspection, disinfection, seizure, destruction, or other disposition of bees, equipment, or bee products capable of carrying or transmitting any disease;
(2) importation of bees, equipment, or bee products capable of carrying or transmitting any disease; or
(3) registration and reporting by persons owning bees, an apiary, a colony, or a hive. (Added 1983, No. 83, § 1; amended 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2015, No. 23, § 78; 2019, No. 35, § 6.)
§ 3031. Right of entry; impeding prohibited
The Secretary or his or her authorized inspector may enter at a reasonable hour public or private premises, except private dwellings, for the purpose of enforcing the provisions of this chapter and shall have access, ingress, and egress to any apiary or place where he or she has reason to believe bees or equipment are kept. Any person who restricts, impedes, gives false information, or hinders in any way the Secretary or his or her inspectors in the discharge of his or her duties shall be subject to the penalties provided for in section 3035 of this title. (Added 1983, No. 83, § 1; amended 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003.)
§ 3032. Transportation of bees or used equipment into the State
(a) Except as provided under subsections (c) and (d) of this section, bees, used equipment, or colonies shall not be brought into the State of Vermont unless approved by the Secretary by permit. The Secretary shall not approve the import of bees, used equipment, or colonies from out of state unless accompanied by a valid certificate of inspection within the previous 45 days from the state or country of origin stating that the bees, used equipment, or bee colonies are free from bee disease.
(b) Any person, other than a common carrier, who knowingly transports or causes to be transported used equipment or colonies to a point within this State shall provide the Secretary with an approved import permit and certificate of inspection not less than 10 days prior to entry into this State.
(c) This section shall not apply to a shipment of bees, equipment, or colonies that originated outside the State and is destined for another point that is also located outside this State.
(d) The Secretary shall not require an import permit or a valid certificate of inspection under subsection (a) of this section for bees, used equipment, or colonies that:
(1) are registered in Vermont;
(2) were transported not more than 75 miles from the registered location of the owner of the bees or colonies; and
(3) are imported back into the State within 30 days of the date of original transport. (Added 1983, No. 83, § 1; amended 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2019, No. 35, § 5; 2019, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 8.)
§ 3033. Shipping bees or equipment into another state or country; application for inspection; expenses; certificate
(a) If an owner wishes to ship bees or equipment into another state or country, he or she may apply to the Secretary for an inspection for bee diseases likely to prevent the acceptance of the bees or beekeeping equipment in the state or country.
(b) Upon receipt of the application, or as soon thereafter as may be conveniently practicable, the Secretary shall comply with the request. (Added 1983, No. 83, § 1; amended 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2019, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 9.)
§ 3034. Establishing an apiary location
No person shall locate an apiary within two miles of an existing apiary registered to a different person, with the following exceptions:
(1) a person may locate an apiary anywhere on his or her own property;
(2) beekeepers with a total ownership of ten hives or less shall be exempt from this restriction;
(3) existing apiaries, so long as they are properly registered with the State, are exempt;
(4) a person may locate an apiary within two miles of another existing apiary, provided the owner of the existing apiary gives written permission or the existing apiary has less than 15 hives; or
(5) if a registered apiary of 15 or more hives should fall below and remain below 15 hives, anyone can petition the State and establish an apiary within two miles of the existing apiary, provided the number of hives in the existing apiary stays below 15 for two years from the time of the petition. An apiary that loses the protection of the two-mile limit in this manner cannot be built back above the number of hives it had at the end of the two-year period. (Added 1983, No. 83, § 1; amended 2019, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 10.)
§ 3035. Penalty
A person who violates a provision of this chapter, or a regulation adopted under its authority, shall be fined not more than $500.00 for each offense. (Added 1983, No. 83, § 1.)
§ 3036. Monitoring of pollinator health
The Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets shall monitor managed pollinator health to establish pollinator health benchmarks for Vermont, including:
(1) presence of pesticides in hives;
(2) mite pressure;
(3) disease pressure;
(4) mite control methods;
(5) genetic influence on survival;
(6) winter survival rate; and
(7) forage availability. (Added 2021, No. 145 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. July 1, 2022.)