With the advance of colony collapse disorder, various other diseases and pest challenges like Varroa mites, life has been difficult for honey bees in America – and for the honey bee keepers trying to raise them.
While it won't end those challenges some new legislation by the Virginia General Assembly may make life a little easier for the honey bee keepers. The Beehive Grant Fund was established and signed into law by Gov. Bob McDonnell on March 30. It will provide up to $125,000 in grants for the 2012-2013 fiscal year and another $125,000 for the following year. The funds, administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will begin being available January 1, 2013.
An individual who purchases a new hive or purchases material or supplies to construct a new hive after Jan. 1 may apply for a grant. The grants will be awarded at $200 per new hive, up to $2,400 per person.
Registration procedures and the general requirements to qualify for the grant will be published later in the year and will be distributed to interested stakeholders, including the various local beekeeper associations. Interested beekeepers may add their name to the notification list now by e-mailing VABees@vdacs.virginia.gov to be included in all future mailings.
Beekeepers will find information on VDACS' apiary inspections, the Virginia Pollinator program and more at vdacs.virginia.gov/plant&pest/apiary.shtml. For additional information, contact Keith Tignor at the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, 804-786-3515 or email@example.com.
VDACS posts all of its news releases on Facebook and Twitter. To receive immediate updates, follow us on Twitter@VaAgriculture or like us on facebook.com/VaAgriculture.
Potential new Virginia beekeepers may also be interested in the Virginia State Beekeepers Association website, which promotes education on sustainable beekeeping. News of association meetings and events, as well as the group's Master Beekeeper Program can be found at www.virginiabeekeepers.org/.