Kings County Ag Commissioner’s Compliance Report: New regulations for bee hives are now in effect

Contributed by Lynda Schrumpf, Deputy Agricultural Commissioner

Nearly 1.8 million European honeybee hives a year are needed to pollinate the 1.2 million acres of almond trees and other crops in the state of California. Of the estimated 1.2 million of these hives that are brought in from out of state,  it’s estimated that only 5% of those out of state bees are in compliance with current California quarantine and/or apiary regulations. An effort to address these problems has resulted in the passage of a California Assembly Bill 2468, which took effect Jan. 1, 2019, reinforcing and updating the current apiary registration and notification requirements. 

The two key components of AB 2468 will be phased in over a two-year period.  Phase one requirements took effect Jan. 1, 2019, and specifies that all apiaries maintained in California must be registered with the County Agricultural Commissioner and the hives must contain the required markings identifying the owner. Hives must be identified by a prominently displayed sign at the entrance to the apiary or stenciled on the hive in dark letters on a contrasting background with the owner’s name, address and phone number. Relocation of hives requires notifying the Agricultural Commissioner where the bees are currently located, as well as the intended destination within 72 hours of the movement.  

Although the registration and identification requirements have always been required, the County Agricultural Commissioner lacked the tools to enforce those regulations. Phase two goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2020 and allows a County Agricultural Commissioner to use the Administrative Civil Penalty process to impose fines for violations.  

There are several methods that beekeepers can use to register and update their bee locations, such as California’s new “Bee Where” program (beewherecalifornia.com), or many out of state beekeepers already use  “Fieldwatch©” (fieldwatch.com) to update their hive locations. Bee Where partnered with FieldWatch© to provide a quick and free registration option for California and out-of-state beekeepers.

Bee Where is a collaborative initiative to bring beekeepers and pesticide applicators together to share best practices by tracking and safeguarding hive locations across the state using innovative mapping tools.  

Bee Where is more than just a platform for registration and GIS hive location tracking. Bee Where integrates with crop management tools like Agrian and CDMS that are used by Pest Control Advisers (PCAs), growers and licensed applicators in the state. These crop management tools will interface with the Bee Where layer to access the general number of hives within a mile of the permit when a PCA is considering a pesticide for crop management, and will allow applicators more in-depth access to hive locations for 48-hour notification purposes.

For more information or should you have any questions, please contact Lynda Schrumpf, Deputy Agricultural Commissioner,  Kings County Department of Agriculture, agstaff@co.kings.ca.us, (559) 852-2830.



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FarmLifeKCFBFebruary 2019