NCDA&CS recommends buying bees from permitted dealers
Bees are essential to food production by aiding in the pollination of crops, but in recent years, the numbers of these agricultural helpers have declined because of disease and pests. To help ensure a healthy bee population in the state, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services recommends beekeepers buy bees only from dealers permitted to sell in the state.
“By purchasing from permitted sellers, beekeepers protect our bee and honey industry and avoid buying diseased or Africanized bees or potentially transporting other harmful pests,” said Don Hopkins, state apiarist with NCDA&CS. “Permitted sellers, either from North Carolina or another state, must have a current inspection certifying the health of the bees. In addition, production cannot be located in an area with Africanized bees.”
A list of permitted sellers is maintained by NCDA&CS. To obtain a permit, sellers must submit an application, have a current inspection, sign a compliance agreement and pay a $25 fee.
Beekeepers selling fewer than 10 bee hives in a calendar year or holding a one-time, going out-of-business sale for fewer than 50 bee hives are not required to have a permit. However, anyone may request an apiary inspection by contacting a regional inspector.
Information and applications for the Permit to Sell Bees in North Carolina are available by contacting Don Hopkins, NCDA&CS, 1060 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699, by calling (919) 233-8214, or online at www.ncagr.gov/plantindustry/plant/apiary/sellbees.htm. Information also is available at your local county extension office.
“Although bees are inspected for pests and diseases, no other ratings of quality or colony strength are made when a dealer is placed on the list,” Hopkins said. “Inclusion of a seller on the list is not an endorsement of one dealer over another.” New beekeepers are encouraged to work with a local beekeeping association and seek referrals from fellow beekeepers.