RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) — Backyard beekeepers can apply for hives through the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services on July 1.
The General Assembly approved $125,000 for the Beehive Distribution Program that provides free beehive equipment to Virginia residents.
Anyone age 18 or older can apply to receive up to three beehives. Recipients will be registered as beekeepers with VDACS and are required to maintain the hives in Virginia.
State apiarist Keith Tignor said in a press release that the number of beehives in Virginia has decreased by 50 percent. The winter between 2017 and 2018 was especially harsh on bees, and the General Assembly established the program in response to those losses.
Applications will be processed in the order they are received until the allocated funds have been exhausted.
If you don’t want to become a beekeeper, there are other ways to help protect honeybees. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services encourages people to create a pollinator window box.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers tips on creating a pollinator window box http://map2.beefriendlyfarmer.org/WindowBox/content/usda_windowbox.pdf.