Beekeeping in Vermont

Beekeeping in Vermont

As many of you are aware, there have been discrepancies and errors in the Vermont apiary registration database since the apiary map went online in 2017. A 2019 VBA survey indicated that a significant number of members did find errors in their apiary location and other data.

The VBA has worked with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets (VT AAFM) and other Vermont commercial beekeepers to help resolve this situation. The VBA had recommended a number of measures as noted in the January VBA BOD meeting Minutes (login required). VT AAFM is following some of our proposals. It is important that your apiary data and location be accurate so you can be notified if bee health or other issues arise in your area that might affect your colonies.

This will require action from you.

If you only keep colonies on your own property, simply check that your address and the GPS coordinates of your bee yard(s) are correct as registered with the state. If you do not have a copy of your current registration papers, contact the bee inspector (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to request your current registration information.

If you have 10 or more colonies, the two-mile radius law applies to you on property that you do not own: Section “3034. Establishing an apiary location” describes the “two-mile” law if you have 10 or more colonies and have some of them on property other than your own. It is very important that you confirm the GPS coordinates of these yards or you can potentially lose the location(s.)

If you have fewer than 10 colonies, you are entitled to keep bees where you wish, so you will not lose a location if the registration is in error. However, it is important to confirm your information anyway for the reasons stated previously.

Here’s the message from the VT AAFM. They have set a deadline of January 31, 2022. Make sure to follow the process and correct any discrepancies before the Jan 31st deadline especially as noted in item #2. The VBA had hoped to establish a longer deadline but the agency is trying to resolve these issues as soon as possible.

  1. Online Map: An online version of the 2022 Apiary Map will be publicly available on or around 02/15/22.  This map will be accessible through the Agency’s website, and will depict the outside boundary of registered commercial apiaries in order to show where new locations can be ascertained.  Identifying information associated with the apiaries will be withheld from the public map.   
  1. 2021 Registration Permission Forms and Location Correction Deadline: Please submit all registration materials to Brooke no later than 01/31/22.  If the Agency does not receive accurate and signed permission forms for a disputed location, then the apiary that needs permission will be denied that location, removed from the map, and deemed not properly registered.  If you reach out to Brooke, then she will send you what the Agency has on file in order to verify what you need to do to adequately register your location. 
  1. Two-Mile Radius:  Beekeepers wanting to establish or relocate apiaries within two miles of a commercial apiary registered to another entity need to obtain signed permission forms from the entity with the registered commercial apiary that will be infringed upon. Any establishment or relocation of an apiary requires notification to the Agency prior to movement of the apiary to ensure that the establishment or relocation does not infringe on another commercial apiary.

In order for the Apiary Program to work, then the Agency needs accurate and timely updates to the map.  GPS coordinates will only be deemed adequate by the Agency if they are presented in decimal format (not degrees) with 5 numbers following the decimal.  Once the GPS coordinate is received by the Agency, then the Agency will let you know if permission forms are needed and from whom.

The VBA would like to know if you find errors on your registration and if you are able to correct them. Please complete this brief, anonymous survey so we can track the number of affected beekeepers and locations.

Complete the Survey