Register Your Hives (2018)

Honey bee hives and smoker

Photo: Leslie Newman

Please register your hives with the Washington State Department of Agriculture by April 1st to take advantage of state tax exemptions. Link to the WSDA site: WSDA Apiary site



This is an excerpt from the Honey Bee Work Group report dated December 12, 2014 convened by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA).


When beekeepers or bee brokers (in-state or out-of-state) fail to register their hives, it:

  • Limits the already scarce resources available for research opportunities dedicated to the industry as part of agriculture in Washington. In 2014, apiary registration fees paid totaled less than $14,000.
  • Allows non-registering beekeepers to reduce their costs—especially if they are not registering to avoid taxation—and thus offer lower pollination prices than firms that register, and growers do consider cost. In addition, beekeepers that deliberately avoid fees and taxes may also be cutting other corners in managing their bees, making them more of a health risk to other beekeepers’ bees.
  • Prevents us from getting an accurate picture of the size of the beekeeping industry, how agribusiness needs are met, or the economic interactions with other states.



  • The lack of registration needs to be addressed in a way that does not prompt other states to place new restrictions on Washington-based beekeepers when they are operating in those other states.
  • Raise awareness of registration requirements, benefits and consequences.
  • The number of beekeepers registering their hives could be increased through outreach and education. The Washington State Beekeepers Association is made up of a number of local/regional associations that meet on a regular basis. Members can be educated about the benefits of hive registration (money going to bee research). Outreach to growers could both inform them about the requirement and encourage them to remind their providers of pollination services to register.

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