And it has a purpose.
I received a letter from the Wyoming Department of Agriculture. “Certificate of Apiary Registration” – best part of it was “Fee: $0.00”. Yup! Free – no cost to register. I filled out a downloaded PDF, printed it off and mailed it in to the address indicated. Done. took less than 10 minutes to do and the return came back in less than a week. Prompt and easy!
So, why bother registering? First off, it’s the law. According to the Wyoming Apiology act, All yards must be registered. The act itself implies these reasons: “To prevent the spread of bee diseases, bee parasites or bee pests among bees and apiaries, to protect apiaries against depredation by wildlife and to assist law enforcement agencies in an effort to alleviate losses due to theft…” (11-7-301) And, if you don’t register, “Any person who violates any provision of this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00) or imprisoned in the county jail for not more than six (6) months, or both. Each day the violation continues constitutes a separate offense.” (11-7-133) Clearly, it’s in your own best interest to do it right. Not registering could be very bad for you, which is bad for your bees.
Also, It shows your willingness to NOT become a problem to bees or other beekeepers! The state Ag dept tracks disease, pests and populations. Just like a 3rd world inner city slum with poor sanitation and services, putting too many hives in too small an area is a perfect storm for problems – for everyone. Bad for the bees.
The State Apiologist can inspect your hives at any time of their choosing. If a problem is found, they can mandate remediation and correction. In practice, the one guy that’s trying to take care of the entire state simply doesn’t have time to inspect onesie-twosie hobbyist yards. Seems, unless there’s a problem, they pretty much leave you to your won. But, they know their stuff! If you have a problem – call! You may well be in need of some advice, an extra set of eyes. Their job is to help you be successful and for things to go well for your bees. If you do have a problem and refuse help to fix it – well, that’s bad for your bees.
If a neighboring commercial yard developed a problem, you’d find out and be able to take action before loosing your bees. Also, if your neighbors complain, local law enforcement or animal control get involved, you’ve just given them more ammo to use to go after you – if you’re not registered. If you *are* registered, you’ve some defense and have shown an effort to be in compliance – it may well help if you’ve a grumpy neighbor trying to stir up trouble for you! That would be bad for your bees.
But, the biggest reason – it’s good for the bees. That right there should be all the reason needed.
The complete text of The Wyoming Apiology Act, available online.