Program Helps Track Beehives in California Groves

Bees are essential for all fruits and nuts grown in the Central Valley. This bee is on a peach blossom next to a citrus orchard.

A new program was created so growers know when beehives are on or near their fields, but some out-of-state beekeepers have not been participating in the mandatory program. 

California legislators have acted to correct this problem. Beekeepers will soon risk fines and penalties if they do not register with the state and file the appropriate notifications for the location and movement information for their hives. The new legislation was passed with the support of the California State Beekeepers Association, the Almond Board of California, California Citrus Mutual (CCM) and other groups.

According to a news release from CCM, “Knowing where the bees are has long been an item of concern for our industry, and during this past legislative session, two stakeholders initiated legislation to strengthen the registration procedures for bee owners entering the state of CaliforniaThe California Association of Pest Control Advisers and the ag commissioners have been frustrated with the lack of cooperation from out-of-state beekeepers in complying with registration, movement and location notification requirements. They sponsored legislation to place ‘teeth’ into existing law, which CCM and others supported.”  

Called “Bee Where,” the program provides the authority for agricultural commissioners to issue civil penalties when a beekeeper does not register or does not provide notification of movement of bees. “Bee Where” is supported by the California State Beekeepers Association, California Citrus Mutual, the Almond Board of California and other groups with a vested interest in bee safety.

Fines have not yet been set, but are expected to range from $50 to $1,000. Annual bee registration fees are $10 per beekeeper. Registration will begin in December 2018 for the 2019 calendar year. Beekeepers who do not comply will be issued warnings, but will not be fined until 2020.

More information is available at the “Bee Where” website at https://beewherecalifornia.com and at local county agricultural commissioner’s offices.

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About the Author

Len Wilcox

Len Wilcox is a retired scientist who also ran a newspaper and has written for agricultural publications since the 1980s. He was a regular contributor to California Farmer Magazine. His commentary "The Western View" is a regular feature on Farm City Newsday and AgNet West.