There are an estimated 115,000 – 125,000 beekeepers in the United States. Most of those beekeepers are hobbyists with less than 25 hives. Commercial beekeepers are typically those with more than 300 hives. Commercial beekeeping operations are often family businesses that are handed down from generation to generation.
In 2012 over 147 million pounds of honey was produced in the United States. It is an important agricultural product in the State of Idaho, and elsewhere.
The Idaho Department of Agriculture is authorized by statute to protect Idaho’s bee industry. The Department of Agriculture provides a qualified inspection service for certifying bees for transport into other states for pollination, and works to minimize disease and bee pests within the state.
Every beekeeper maintaining colonies with the State of Idaho (except for hobbyist beekeepers) is required by statute to pay an annual registration fee of $10, and $.10 per colony for every colony over fifty colonies. Idaho Code § 2510. Beekeepers who wish to move colonies into Idaho temporarilly for pollination purposes must pay a fee and apply for a permit and have their bees inspected for infectious diseases. Fees collected by the Department are used to fund the inspection services provided by the state.
The director of the Department of Agriculture is further authorized by state law to destroy disease infected bees, or exotic strains of bees. Idaho Code § 22-2504. All owners or keepers of bees are required by law to follow the directions of the Department of Agriculture in regard to removing or destroying diseased bees. Idaho Code § 22-2505. The director may enter the premises of any beekeeper so as to inspect bees or equipment. Idaho Code § 22-2506.
Idaho law additionally requires all beekeepers to post their name, address and telephone number on apiaries (i.e. a collection of beehives).
Any person who violates Idaho’s beekeeping laws may be in a sticky mess. They may be charged with a misdemeanor, and could pay fines or serve time in jail. So, bee aware of the law!