Wyoming Beekeeping

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79 Responses

  1. Skye Matthews says:

    As if the harsh environment isn’t enough of a challenge here in Wyoming we also have the apiary regulations. As a natural TBH beek coming from Colorado I was suprised at the amount of red tape at the state -and- county levels. Wyoming would do well to keep that to a minimum to encourage us small family apiaries. We don’t keep bees for the money but rather for the love of bees.

    • -bW says:

      Hi Skye

      Ah, Wyoming Bee Laws! They have provisions for Hobbyist Yards and Land Owner Yards that allow beekeepers to setup inside the 2 mile limit. Check them out. A hobbyist beekeeper can have a hobby yard and a landowner yard. And a family can have more than one hobby beekeeper.

      Since the bee laws were passed, it’s impossible to setup a new commercial beeyard, on viable bee pasture, anywhere in Wyoming. Before the laws were passed, viable bee pasture was saturated with beeyards much closer together than the 2 mile limit. Commercial beekeepers had a good old boy club that honored each others established “areas”.

      During a bad year, one of the good old boys moved a couple of yards onto a state representative’s area. And hence the bee laws. The bee laws are designed to protect commercial beekeepers interests.

      Unless it’s changed in the last 2 years, the good old boys operate as they always did before the law. They put as many yards as they choose, anywhere they want, kept them registered whether they are vacant or not. And everything is fine as long as they seem to respect other’s areas. Some of them can get really sneaky though. LOL

      The registration process is a mess. For decades, the state just collected the registration fees and filed the papers which validated many new illegal yards. And that, in addition to all the grandfathered yards that existed before the laws were passed, makes it almost impossible to determine if a yard is legal or not.

      As a result, the state can’t and doesn’t enforce the bee law. So, it’s up to an offended beekeeper and the local sheriff to take action. I suspect enforcing the bee law has a real low priority with the sheriff.

      The good old boys won’t rat on each other’s sneaky business, as they’ve all got dirty hands. And contesting beeyards is a long, expensive, legal process. So, they leave hobby beekeepers alone. It’s just not worth it.

      The state recognizing the situation suggested dropping the bee laws. The good old boys decided to keep it in case some large commercial interest moved in on them.

      When the state was flush with money, there was an administrative shove to clean up the data and regulate beekeepers. I don’t know how far they got. But I suspect that’s changed now.

      For a hobbyist, the real problem won’t be commercial beekeepers. It will be someone moving from the city to enjoy the country, and discovering your beeyard down the road. Register your bees and make the bee laws work for you.

  2. Skye Matthews says:

    bW, Thank you for the comprehensive response. Between reading the bee laws and interacting with some of the folk at the department of agriculture I came away with a similar impression. I am in the process of registering now. My only real concern at this point is an inspector bringing some form of pest or disease from another yard into mine. I am chemical free and pest free and I would like to remain that way. I screen for varroa twice a year and, so far, my counts have been negligible.

  3. Skye Matthews says:

    Glad to see your site is back up. I was getting a tad worried you’d given up on wrangling bees or moved to Costa Rica… :-0

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