Organic Apiculture Standards

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Beekeepers wanting to market organic honey or other organic bee products will need certification by a USDA-accredited organic certification agency. Please refer to ATTRA's Organic Farm Certification and the National Organic Program for general certification information.

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) Apiculture Task Force Report was released September 15, 2001. The Draft Organic Apiculture Standard recommendations, while serving as guidelines, are not regulations (standards) until formally implemented by USD A/ National Organic Program. The NOSB recommendations are available at the USD A/NOP website, <http://www.ams.usda.gov/nosb/ lscommRMR/reports/apiculture.html>.

The NOSB report recommends that if products from an apiculture operation are to be sold as organic, the bees and hives have to be managed in compliance with the organic livestock standards for at least 270 days prior to removal of products from the hive. This includes developing an organic apiculture plan for your organic certification agency and observing all the national organic provisions. For example:

  • Origin of the livestock—Hives have to be under continuous organic management for no less than 270 days prior to removal of honey or other products, or hives need to be purchased from organic sources.
  • Supplemental feed — Organic honey and organic sugar syrup are allowed up to 30 days prior to honey harvest.
  • Forage area—Hives have to be located at least 4 miles from any area using prohibited materials listed in the standards or from any contaminated sites.
  • Living conditions — Hives must be made of natural materials, such as wood or metal, but not with treated lumber.
  • Health care practices — Make sure all therapeutic products are listed on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances as NOSB approved, or are approved by your organic certification agency.
  • Record keeping—Necessary for documenting movement of hive, health care, and sale of products, as well as for auditing.

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How To Become A Bee Keeping Pro

How To Become A Bee Keeping Pro

Companies that have beekeeping stuff deal with all the equipment that is required for this business, like attire for bee keeping which is essential from head to torso, full body suits and just head gear. Along with this equipment they also sell journals and books on beekeeping to help people to understand this field better. Some of the better known beekeeping companies have been in the business for more than a hundred years.

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