H. B. 2694
(By Delegates Stemple, Boggs, Crosier, Williams,
Anderson, Evans and Schoen)
[Passed March 6, 2003; in effect ninety days from passage.]
AN ACT to
repeal sections eight and ten, article thirteen, chapter
nineteen of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine
hundred thirty-one, as amended; and to amend and reenact
sections one, two, three, four, five, six, seven and eleven of
said article, all relating to regulation of bees; removing
pesticide poisoning and certain violations; adding, deleting
and amending definitions; authorizing commissioner of
agriculture to seize infected bees and bee equipment;
establishing expiration date for certificates of registration;
strengthening commissioner's inspection and quarantine powers;
clarifying manner of dealing with abandoned apiaries and
interstate movement of bees; making technical corrections and
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That sections eight and ten, article thirteen, chapter
nineteen of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be repealed; and that sections one, two,
three, four, five, six, seven and eleven of said article be amended
and reenacted, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 13. INSPECTION AND PROTECTION OF APICULTURE.
§19-13-1. Short title.
This article may be cited as "The West Virginia Apiary Act".
For the purpose of this article, the term:
(1) "Abandoned apiary" means any apiary in which twenty-five
percent or more of the colonies are dead or diseased, or the death
or disarray of the colonies exposes them to robbing, or diseased or
potentially diseased abandoned bee equipment which may jeopardize
the welfare of neighboring colonies.
(2) "Apiary" means any place where one or more colonies or
nuclei of bees are kept or where bee equipment is stored.
(3) "Appliances" means any apparatus, tool, machine or other
device, used in the handling and manipulating of bees, honey, wax
and hives. It also means any container of honey and wax that may
be used in any apiary or in transporting bees and their products
and apiary supplies.
(4) "Bees" means any stage of the common hive or honey bee
(Apis mellifera), or other species of the genus Apis.
(5) "Bee equipment" means hives, supers, frames, veils, gloves
or any other appliances.
(6) "Bee products" means honey, bees wax, pollen, propolis and
(7) "Colony" means the hive and includes bees, comb, honey and
(8) "Commissioner" means the commissioner of the department of
agriculture of the state of West Virginia or a duly authorized
(9) "Control agents or control mechanisms" means any method of
chemical or mechanical control to suppress or eradicate an apiary
disease, pest, or parasitic infestation in an apiary or the
colonies contained therein.
(10) "Department" means the department of agriculture of the
state of West Virginia.
(11) "Hive" means a frame hive, box hive, box, barrel, log,
gum, skep or any other receptacle or container, natural or
artificial, or any part thereof, which may be used or employed as
a domicile for bees.
(12) "Honey bee pest" means American foulbrood (Bacillus
larvae), European foulbrood (Melissococcus pluton), Varroa mite
(Varroa destructor), honey bee tracheal mite (Acarapis woodi), or
any other virus or infectious or parasitic organism determined by
the commissioner to be transmissible to other bee colonies and that
represents a threat to beekeeping in West Virginia.
(13) "Nuclei" means the removal of a split portion or division of any colony of honey bees for the express purpose of creating a
numerical increase in colonies for honey production, pollination
service or monetary gain through sale of honey bees.
(14) "Packaged bees" means bees shipped in combless packages
accompanied by a valid certificate of health from an authorized
state or federal agency verifying the absence or presence of any
infectious or communicable diseases or parasitic infestations, and
further providing that no honey has been used for food while in
transit or that any honey used as food in transit was properly
(15) "Person" means corporations, partnerships, associations,
societies, individuals or group of individuals or any employee,
servant or agent acting for or employed by any person.
(16) "Premises" means any parcel of real estate and structures
in which bee equipment, bees, bee products and bee appliances are
or may be utilized for storage purposes.
(17) "Quarantine" means a declaration by the commissioner
which specifies a period of enforced isolation to contain and
prevent the spread of honey bee pests.
(18) "Sterilized or sterilization" means to treat and
neutralize honey bee pests by means of steam autoclave, pit
incineration, or by any other acceptable method which the
commissioner determines effective for control of honey bee pests.
§19-13-3. Commissioner's powers and duties; rule-making authority; apiary education; cooperation with governmental
agencies; seizure of infected bees and bee equipment.
(a) The commissioner may propose rules for legislative
approval in accordance with the provisions of article three,
chapter twenty-nine-a of this code: (1) To effectively eradicate,
suppress or control honey bee pests as far as may be practical; (2)
to regulate the keeping and maintaining of bees, bee equipment,
queen breeding equipment, apiaries and appliances; (3) to regulate
treatments, retreatments, and fees for the services; and (4) any
other rules necessary to effectuate the enforcement of this
(b) The commissioner is authorized to conduct apiary education
in a manner which advances and promotes bee culture in West
(c) The commissioner is authorized to cooperate with the
federal government and its agencies, departments and
instrumentalities; other West Virginia agencies, departments,
divisions, or political subdivisions; and any other state or
commonwealth and its agencies, departments or political
subdivisions, in order to carry out the effective administration of
(d) The commissioner is authorized to stop the delivery of, to
seize, to destroy, to treat or to order returned to point of
origin, at the owner's expense, all appliances, bees, bee equipment, bee products or hives transported into or within this
state, found to be infected with honey bee pests regardless of
whether a valid certificate of inspection is attached.
§19-13-4. Registration of bees; identification of apiaries.
(a) All persons keeping bees in this state shall apply for a
certificate of registration for bee keeping from the commissioner,
within ten days of the date that bees are acquired, by notifying
the commissioner, in writing, of the number and location of
colonies they own or rent, or which they keep for someone else,
whether the bees are located on their own property or someone
else's property. All apiary certificates of registration expire on
the thirty-first day of December of each year and must be renewed
(b) All persons owning or operating an apiary which is not
located on their own property must post the name and address of the
owner or operator in a conspicuous place in the apiary.
§19-13-5. Right of entry; apiary inspections; quarantines.
(a) During reasonable working hours, the commissioner may
enter upon any premises to access any apiary for the purpose of
inspecting or sampling. No person shall obstruct or hinder the
commissioner in the discharge of his or her duties.
(b) The commissioner shall inspect, as practicable, all
colonies of honey bees domiciled within the state of West Virginia.
If any honey bee pest is found in the apiary, the commissioner shall immediately notify, in writing, the owner or operator stating
the type of honey bee pest and whether it may be successfully
treated or not.
In cases where the honey bee pest is subject to treatment, the
commissioner shall specify and direct the necessary treatment,
which will be administered by the owner or operator, within
fourteen days of the date of notice . If not treated, the colonies
contained in the apiary in which the honey bee pests are found
shall be depopulated without remuneration to the owner. All bee
hives and related bee equipment found in any diseased apiary shall
be destroyed, sterilized or treated in a manner approved by and
under the direction of the commissioner.
(c) All apiaries producing queens, packaged bees or nuclei
colonies for distribution shall be inspected each year. If honey
bee pests are found
in the apiary, the commissioner shall
immediately notify, in writing, the owner or operator, and
thereafter it shall be unlawful for the owner or operator to ship,
sell or give away any queen bees, appliances, packaged bees, full
colonies or nuclei colonies from the apiary until the honey bee
pests have been controlled to the satisfaction of the commissioner.
(d) The commissioner shall quarantine all apiaries, bees, bee
equipment, bee products, appliances and premises infected by honey
bee pests. The notice of quarantine shall specify the name of the
honey bee pest, the premises or apiary quarantined, bee equipment, bee products and appliances regulated and all conditions governing
movement. The commissioner may adopt other orders to prevent the
introduction of or to contain the spread of honey bee pests that
are capable of being transported by bees, appliances or bee
equipment. The order shall set forth the conditions governing the
movement of the regulated items.
The commissioner shall rescind, in writing, quarantines and
other orders when he or she determines the need no longer exists.
§19-13-6. Abandoned apiaries and equipment; notice.
It shall be unlawful for a person to knowingly maintain an
abandoned apiary or bee equipment. When the commissioner determines
that an apiary or bee equipment has been abandoned, he or she shall
notify, in writing, the owner or operator that the apiary or bee
equipment has been declared abandoned. The owner or operator has
thirty days from the date of notice to enclose, dispose of or
destroy the abandoned apiary or bee equipment in a manner approved
by the commissioner. If the owner or operator of the abandoned
apiary or bee equipment cannot be located after reasonable inquiry,
notice shall be provided to the owner of the real property on which
the apiary or bee equipment is located. If the apiary or bee
equipment continues to be abandoned for a period of thirty days
thereafter, the commissioner may seize the apiary or bee equipment
and take such action as is necessary to dispose of or to destroy
the apiary or bee equipment as conditions warrant.
§19-13-7. Bees brought into state to carry inspection certificate;
commissioner to be notified; interstate movement of
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to transport bees,
used bee equipment or used appliances into West Virginia, unless
accompanied by a certificate of inspection signed by an authorized
state or federal inspection official verifying the actual
inspection of the bees, used bee equipment or used appliances
within thirty days preceding the date of shipment and certifying
the absence of honey bee pests.
(b) Prior to the movement of any bees, used bee equipment or
used appliances into West Virginia, and as a prerequisite to the
issuance of a permit of entry, the commissioner shall be furnished
by the owner, transporter, or operator the following:
(1) The exact location or destination of the bees, used bee
equipment or used appliances.
(2) Name and address of the owner of the property where the
bees, used bee equipment or used appliances will be located.
(3) The exact number of colonies or amount of used bee
equipment or used appliances in the shipment.
(4) A copy of the inspection certificate issued by the state
or federal inspector.
The commissioner shall issue a temporary or permanent permit
of entry. A temporary permit may not exceed sixty days.
If the commissioner denies the request for an entry permit, he
or she shall notify the owner, operator or transporter of the
denial and the reasons therefor.
§19-13-11. Penalties for violations of article; rules.
(a)(1) Criminal penalties.
-- Any person violating any
provision of this article is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon
conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than one hundred
dollars nor more than five hundred dollars for the first offense,
and for each subsequent offense, shall be fined not less than five
hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars, or imprisoned
in the county or regional jail not more than six months, or both .
Magistrates have concurrent jurisdiction with circuit courts to
enforce the provisions of this article.
(2) It shall be the duty of the prosecuting attorney of the
county in which the violation occurred to represent the department
of agriculture, to institute proceedings, and to prosecute the
person charged with such violation.
(b) Civil penalties.
(1) Any person violating the provisions of this article or
rule promulgated pursuant to this article may be assessed a civil
penalty by the commissioner. In determining the amount of any
civil penalty, the commissioner shall give due consideration to the
history of previous violation of any persons, the seriousness of
the violation, including any hazards to agriculture in West Virginia and the demonstrated good faith of any person charged in
attempting to achieve compliance with this article after written
notification of the violation.
(2) The commissioner may assess a penalty of not more than one
hundred dollars for the first offense or less serious violation, as
determined by the commissioner in accordance with the rules
approved in accordance with the provisions of chapter twenty-nine-a
of this code, and not more than one thousand dollars for a serious,
repeat or intentional violation, as determined by the commissioner
in accordance with the approved rules.
(3) The commissioner may negotiate and enter into a settlement
agreement for the payment of civil penalties.
(4) The civil penalty is payable to the state of West Virginia
and is collectable in any manner authorized by law for the
collection of debts. Any person liable to pay a civil penalty and
neglecting or refusing to pay it within thirty days of written
notice of demand for payment, shall be assessed interest at the
rate of ten percent per year from the date the penalty was assessed
to the date of payment. The penalty and interest constitute a lien
in favor of the state of West Virginia and shall attach on the
person's property when a lien is properly recorded in the county
wherein the property is situated. There shall be no cost as a
condition precedent to recording.
(5) The commissioner shall propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of article three,
chapter twenty-nine-a of this code to establish procedures for the
assessment and collection of civil penalties as provided in this
(6) No state court may allow the recovery of damages for
administrative action taken if the court finds that there was
probable cause for such action.