You will need a license to keep bees or go to jail

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You will have to register as a commercial beekeeper if a new bill in the National Assembly is passed into law.

The Livestock Bill 2021 also requires one to be registered in order to own a beehive or “own or possess bees”. If the bill becomes law, bees will not be kept in any land as it requires registration of land where they will be kept. “A person shall not allow bees to be kept on land owned or occupied by the person unless the land is registered under this act as an apiary,” states the regulations.

To become a commercial beekeeper, one will have to apply to the CEC in charge of livestock who will issue a certificate of registration if satisfied that requirements have been met. The certificate will be valid for one year from the date of issue. If you keep bees for pollination, the regulations don’t require one to register but you must dispose of the bees after eight weeks.

Beehives will not be placed just anywhere as there are rules guiding this. “A person should not place a hive or leave a hive containing bees thirty within thirty meters of a property line separating the land on which the hive is placed or left from land occupied as a dwelling or used for a community centre, public park or other place of public assembly or recreation,” says the regulations. One is also not supposed to place a hive or leave a hive containing bees within ten meters of a highway.

If the CEC responsible for livestock feels hives are a threat to the public or the bees are a nuisance, he/she can declare the place unsuitable for beekeeping and order the beekeeper to remove the hive to a site approved by the CEC.

When it comes to hives, the regulations require one to use only ones that are recommended. If you use a beehive that is not recommended, you will be notified in writing to transfer the bees to the recommended one. Further, every beekeeper will have to register a brand that shall be branded on their beehives.

If you become a beekeeper then abandon your hives, or the authority feels you are not giving your bees the necessary attention, you will be required to dispose of them. Failure to observe this will see the colonies disposed of where you will pay the costs incurred during the exercise.

Failure to obey these rules will see you fined an amount not exceeding Kshs. 500,000 or a jail term not exceeding one year or both.

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