As someone who is trying to set up their first hive, I have been looking into my state's (Delaware) regulations. The one that concerns me is the requirement that a permit be obtained prior to the importation of bees into the state. In order to obtain this permit, a certificate of health (provided by the suppliers state apiarist) must be obtained from the supplier and it must have resulted from an inspection that has occurred no longer than 60 days prior to the importation of the bees. I was hoping to get a nuc from Bjorn Apiaries because others on this forum have recommended them and they are relatively close to where I live. When I e-mail Mike at Bjorn asking him if this would be available I received this reply:
Thank you for asking about Bjorn Apiaries.
The Pennsylvania state law requires me to be inspected twice a year. When that happens, I have no control over. Pennsylvania is also scheduled for a drastic cut in our inspection program, and this may hamper any scheduling of inspections this coming spring. As a former inspector, I can understand state requirements. But as a professional beekeeper who has a reputation at stake, what exactly is the state's requirement in regards to being inspected in the previous 60 days? That would mean I would need an inspection every other month of the year....something that no state requires of their producers that I know of. I know that except California, which has hundreds of thousands of colonies being brought in at the same time for almonds, and inspection even then is questionable, requires recent certification. But migratory beekeeping, versus getting bees from a certified producer, is two drastically different things.
You may find a local source for bees or cut out a feral colony, and bypass any previous inspection requirements. That is not to say that these bees have any less or more problems than a certified producer.
The demand for bees is tremendous. I will turn away more than 3 times more orders this coming year than I will be able to fill. With that in mind, I see no reason to subject my business to an archaic state law or beekeepers who allow themselves to be limited by seeking out, following, or requiring themselves to abide such demands. I sell many nucs to Delaware, New Jersey, New York, as well as other states. I have never had one complaint filed. Not one problem with AFB.
Delaware (and Maryland) which seems to be connected from time to time in regards to inspections, seems to have had a huge problem in the past with AFB from their own beekeepers. They may be better off focusing their efforts inspecting beehives once they are up and running in the state, rather than force laws and requirements upon another state. Your state acts as if inspecting on their part after you get bees is an unknown item in their thoughts.
I can not suggest you go against state law. I follow my own requirements here in Pennsylvania, and know I put out a good product. And I stand behind every nuc that goes out the door. I can't speak for anyone directly, but I would say that many beekeepers who buy from me, may be doing something a little different than you in acquiring bees. I would even venture to guess many say they caught swarms after taking nucs home. Because I know they are not asking me for paperwork, which I do have for anyone who requests a copy.
Good luck in your search for bees this coming year. I will not be able to help you.
I understand his point about the difficulty of a commercial bee supplier meeting the 60 day requirement as most states require only once or twice yearly inspections of apiaries. I checked into Pennsylvania's law concerning importation of bees and it is more stringent than Delaware in that it requires the inspection to have occurred no longer than 30 days prior to the importation of the bees.
With all of this being said, do most beekeepers obtain the required permits and certificates of health when purchasing bees from out of state suppliers? I can't believe that other states' bee importation laws are much different than Delaware or Pennsylvania. What do other beekeepers do when importing their bees?
Re: Beekeeping Regulations
Here is Missouri's;
Must have a health certificate from the state of orgin.
Re: Beekeeping Regulations
What Bjorn says is true. If you don't order early, then you don't get the nucs. I found that to be true and had to settle for packages out of Louisiana this past April.
No diseases, but I got Nasty girls and lots of em. No inspection certificate would have identified that.
You will need to determine just how hungry you are for a specific type of bee. Seriously, how would anyone know how you got your hive. My first hive came from a swarm. You do want to buy from a reputable dealer though. Good Luck with your first hive.