Food and Agriculture Code (FAC) 29002 defines an apiary as “bees, comb, hives, appliances, or colonies, wherever they are kept, located, or found.” An apiary can be a backyard beekeeper with a single colony or a commercial beekeeper with several hundred colonies. The BeeSafe program assists beekeepers in mitigating bee loss caused by pesticides, theft and pests. The California Department of Food and Agriculture and the County Agricultural Commissioners work jointly to meet the goals of the BeeSafe program.
American Foulbrood Disease
American Foulbrood is a serious disease affecting honey bees that is caused by the spore-forming bacterium Paenibacillus larvae. Beekeepers are required to monitor for this disease. If it is found, it must be mitigated so eliminate the spread to other hives.
Whether you are a hobbyist or commercial beekeeper, all beekeepers in possession of an apiary are required to register with BeeWhere annually. If you have any questions or need help, please contact our office.
Registered beekeepers may request notice of certain pesticide application that occur near their hives. Once a beekeeper registers and opts in to the notification system, pesticide applicators intending to apply pesticides toxic to bees to blossoming plants must check for colonies within a one mile radius of the proposed application site.
The BeeSafe program provides uniform communication among counties to reduce apiary theft. The Contra Costa County Department of Agriculture receives notification from the California Department of Food and Agriculture when beekeepers report stolen hives or equipment. Agricultural biologists also survey for unregistered hives and inspect for proper identification of apiaries. Beekeepers are encouraged to report missing hives to our office.