Beekeeping Now Illegal In One US State?

Beekeepers in Texas will no longer be able to legally sell their honey as Texan honey unless the honey is derived right from apiaries in the state.

By Iqra Butt | Published

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Texas state lawmakers are pushing for a bill that prevents beekeepers from labeling their product as Texas honey, unless it is exclusively from Texan apiaries. Many beekeepers in that state are now concerned considering the costs associated with its effects. Beekeeping is dependent on many factors so this news brings challenges.

What is beekeeping?

Beekeeping is the practice of keeping honey bees in hives or colonies to collect honey, beeswax, and other bee products. Beekeeping involves maintaining a suitable habitat, managing the bees’ health and nutrition, and harvesting the products they produce. Beekeepers typically use protective gear to avoid being stung by the bees. 

Beekeeping in Texas

Beekeeping in Texas is a popular and important industry because of the state’s diverse climate and abundant flora that provides an ideal environment for honeybees. Texas is known for its large beekeeping operations. However, beekeepers in Texas now face challenges such as extreme weather, disease, and pesticide use, which can affect bee health and productivity.

Weather can have a significant impact on bees, especially Texas weather since the state’s diverse climate ranges from extremely cold winters to brutally hot summers. TED says Honeybees are cold-blooded so their body temperature is regulated by the environment. Extreme temperatures can stress bees and affect their ability to survive and reproduce. 

With the Earth already experiencing the effects of climate change, weather has been unpredictable. Areas of Texas have experienced tornadoes, cold weather, and warm weather. This all can impact the availability of nectar and pollen for bees to collect, affecting beekeeping as a whole.

How does this new law affect beekeeping?

Texas BeeKeepers say that bill 590 would require honey labeled “Texas honey” to exclusively be honey produced from apiaries in Texas. According to The Texas Tribune, this would make mislabeling Texas honey products a class B misdemeanor and jail time for up to 180 days. Relabeling products can get pricey and even lead to a loss for producers. 

The Texas Tribune shares that weather conditions could potentially make it difficult for beekeeping and to produce sufficient honey for a business. Extreme weather can even damage hives and disrupt the foraging patterns of bees, leading to colony losses and reduced honey production. When this occurs some businesses create a blend that has honey from Texas and other states.

Crafting honey that is 100 percent Texan can be difficult due to the extreme weather, so when beekeeping businesses do have to make a blend, it would cost extra for label changes and incur potential losses. Now if businesses are required by the law to do this, the quality of honey could go down potentially. When the weather is not at bee standards, the honey may not be free of impurities or have consistent texture and color. 

Representative Cecil Bell Jr proposed an amendment, says The Texas Tribune. It would allow honey producers to label their product “made in Texas” if it  consists of “predominantly” Texas honey. However, the amendment failed. Now, the bill is moving forward. 

Overall, consumers will be able to differentiate the honey they are purchasing through this new bill, while beekeeping businesses might financially take some heat. The unpredictable weather conditions could potentially make this bill difficult for businesses to maintain the same profits. The long-term ramifications of this bill have yet to be seen, and could prompt other states to file similar bills.