Georgia Department of Agriculture

Plant Protection FAQs

Do I need a beekeeper license?
Only people producing queen and package bees for sale are required to be licensed.  A one-time fee of $25 is charged.

Must I have my beehives inspected?
Since the number of inspectors is limited, registration and inspection requirements are enforced primarily on commercial beekeepers.  If you are a hobbyist and have a few colonies, the Department will perform a courtesy inspection upon request.  A good hobbyist alternative is to join a beekeepers club and learn to do your own inspections.

What do bee inspectors look for?
Inspections are performed to determine the general health of a colony and to identify American Foulbrood disease, which is highly contagious and can destroy a hive or whole apiary if not controlled.  Inspectors also provide information to beekeepers regarding cultural practices and medications to prevent infestations of Varroa mites, tracheal mites, small hive beetles and minimize diseases such as nosema, chalkbrood, and European Foulbrood.

What is the control for American Foulbrood?
Since American Foulbrood is a spore-forming disease, and the spores can survive several years, the only practical method to eliminate the disease is to kill the bees and burn the hive.  Feeding bee's Terramycin antibiotic can prevent the disease.

What is the control for mites? Nosema? Chalkbrood?
For Varroa mites, Apistan strips must be hung in the hives according to directions.  For tracheal mites menthol is used, often in an "extender patty" of Crisco.  Medicating with Fumadil can prevent Nosema.  The fungus disease Chalkbrood is controlled culturally by tilting the hive forward to prevent water from entering.

I think I have bees in my wall. What can I do?
Squirt wasp and hornet spray into the bees' entry hole in your home's outside wall at dusk to kill the bees.  After several days you should retreat. You will then have to remove the hive by cutting the wallboard inside the house, or cockroaches, mice, and ants will make a home there.

Are there any laws against keeping bees?  My neighbor says he is afraid of them.
No government may enact any laws or ordinances to prohibit beekeeping with the exception of specific zoning ordinances. Your neighbor may have had a bad experience with wasps or hornets. Educating your neighbor about the gentleness of domestic bees, giving him some honey and explaining their value in pollination will go a long way toward eliminating his fears.

I think I have "killer" bees. What do they look like?
First, there is no such thing as "killer" bees. The proper term is Africanized bees. They are just a race of honeybees that is more aggressive than normal.  You can't tell the difference by looking. If any bees or any other insects sting you, the best thing to do is run.

Please review the Plant Protection page for more information.

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