Virginia will pay you to take up beekeeping

Posted at 10:15 PM, Jan 10, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-10 22:15:28-05

AUTHOR NOTE: This article is from January, 2013.  At the time of this article, the Beehive Grant Program had been funded for only two years (through 2014) and we are unaware if appropriations have been added into the budget after that time.  Click here for more information!

The State of Virginia is now willing to pay for you to take up beekeeping.

The Virginia General Assembly created the Beehive Grant Fund to promote the establishment of new beehives.

Under the program, people can apply for a grant from the fund to cover the cost of purchasing a new hive or materials to construct a new hive.

The grant will pay for the actual expenses incurred up to $200 per hive, not exceeding $2,400 per person, per year.

Norfolk Beekeepers Association President Frank Walker thinks the new grant will encourage more people to keep beehives.

“The goal is to try and encourage more people to buy beekeeping equipment and get involved in bee keeping because it’s vital – the honey bee is one of our greatest natural resources,” Walker explained.

Nearly 30,000 bees found living above Williamsburg bakery

Walker says the every third bite of food the average Virginian takes is pollinated by a honey bee.

“All your fruits and vegetables are pollinated by honeybees. I just look at fuel today – how we have to buy fuel from another source,” Walker explained. “ If we lose the ability to grow our own food locally, it’s going to impact the cost of it.”

John Schonk keeps several beehives in his Norfolk backyard and already has heard people interested in the state grant program.

“I’ve already talked to people who know that I’m a bee keeper and they’ve heard about the grant program and they’ve said, ‘What can I do to get started in bees?” Schonk explained.

For more information about beekeeping in the Hampton Roads area, check out the Norfolk Beekeepers Association here or the Tidewater Beekeepers Association here.