Update The Bee Laws
Two/Three Important Questions and Answers
This week there has been lots of discussion around the particulars of HB 1293 to update the beekeeping laws in Texas. However, we’ve not formally answered the questions of why update the laws now and what are the benefits for the hobbyist beekeeper. That is the subject of this post.
“What was the impetus or concerns that lead to the drafting of HB 1293?”
Existing bee laws do not reflect current beekeeping practices, contain outdated regulations, and do not allow the Texas Apiary Inspection Service to its job of protecting the beekeeping industry in Texas.
More than 60 commercial, sideliner, and hobbyist beekeepers volunteered to participate in drafting the proposed legislation. There are four specific goals TBA desires to accomplish with this law update:
- simplifying the permit and inspection requirements,
- providing exemption from specific laws for hobbyist beekeepers with generally less than 25 hives,
- updating the laws to reflect current beekeeping conditions and best practices in Texas, and
- broadening the scope of TAIS’s role to include providing educational programs to improve beekeeping practices in Texas.
“How does HB 1293 benefit the hobbyist beekeeper?” / “Why should the hobbyist beekeeper support the passage of HB 1293?”
If HB 1293 is passed hobbyist beekeepers will see the following benefits:
- Permits for inter- and intra-state transportation of bees – Hobbyist beekeepers would be exempt from fees but still need to apply for the appropriate permits
- Bee health inspections or affidavit requirements – Hobbyist beekeepers would be exempt for annual sales of fewer than 25 queens, packages, colonies or nucleus hives, and 100 queen cells
- Marking or identifying out-apiary equipment – Branding would not be the only approved method
- Reporting every pest, disease, and species of bees – Beekeepers would only report those that are truly an issue for Texas beekeepers.
Agricultural laws and regulations in Texas are, in general, designed to protect industries important to the state. In the case of Section 131, the industry being protected is the production of bees and honey in Texas. Protection can mean to maintain economic viability for those engaged in beekeeping as a profession. It can also mean to protect all beekeepers from potentially devastating problems be they disease, pests, or abandoned potentially infested equipment. HB 1293 is designed to update and simplify the bee laws to keep pace with advancements in beekeeping and the threats beekeepers face.
TBA thanks all Texas beekeepers for their interest and support of HB 1293 for the betterment of beekeeping in our great state!
Please e-mail your questions to “firstname.lastname@example.org”.