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Honey Bee FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions About Honey Bees and Beekeeping in Massachusetts

Are there state laws that permit or prohibit beekeeping or apiary establishment in Massachusetts?

  • There are no state laws or regulations that permit or prohibit beekeeping. To learn more check out the Massachusetts state laws and regulations that pertain to honey bees and beekeeping. There may be local rules or ordinances for your town/city that pertain to honey beekeeping so inquire with your local government office to learn more. To learn more about the basics of apiary establishment, check out these Best Management guides from the Massachusetts Beekeepers Association and the Honey Bee Health Coalition.

Do I need a permit to keep honey bees in Massachusetts?

  • At this time, a permit is not required by the state, but could be required by your local town/city. Contact your local Board of Health and/or Town Offices to get more information about local requirements.

How do I become a honey beekeeper and start an apiary?

Are there state funded sources of financial assistance to create an apiary and become a beekeeper?

  • There is no funded financial assistance available for those interested in starting an apiary or becoming a beekeeper. However, we have a MDAR Apiary Program that provides a myriad of support options for new beekeepers as part of the program services. 

How do I register my honey bee colonies in Massachusetts?

How do I request an inspection of my apiary, honey bee colonies and used equipment in Massachusetts?

  • Inspections can be requested by completing the MDAR Apiary Inspection Request Form. Inspections can be requested at any time, but advance notice of at least 30 days is preferred. Given the volume of inspection requests received by the MDAR Apiary Program each year, requests will be limited to one per season/per apiary/colony(ies) unless emergency circumstances arise (i.e. suspected American Foulbrood, Pesticide Related Bee Kill or sudden colony death).

How do I find out about more about transporting and selling bees in Massachusetts?

  • Information related to the transport and sell of honey bees and related products can be found in the FAQ.

Can I sell my locally collected honey in Massachusetts?

  • Yes, but you must comply with the law relating to honey labeling and any local ordinances. Contact your local Board of Health and/or Town Offices to get more information about local requirements. Learn more about honey producers in Massachusetts and consider listing yourself as a honey producer on the MassGrown map.

How do I get help for a swarm of honey bees?

  • The MDAR Apiary Program does not remove and/or relocate honey bee swarms. Instead of harming the bees, try to get them safely rehomed by getting assistance from beekeepers in your area through the local honey beekeeping association.

How do I get help to remove a colony of honey bees inside my house or associated structure?

Who do I contact to file a complaint against my neighbor who has setup an apiary in their yard?

  • The MDAR Apiary Program does not handle neighbor complaints about honey bees or established apiaries. Contact your local town/city government office get additional support.

Who do I contact to file a complaint about honey bees in my pool?

  • The MDAR Apiary Program does not handle complaints about honey bees in pools. Contact your local town/city government office to get additional support.

Contact   for Honey Bee FAQ


MDAR Boston Office 617-626-1850


MDAR Springfield Office
138 Memorial Ave, Suite 42 , West Springfield, MA 01089
MDAR Boston Office
251 Causeway Street, Suite 500, Boston, MA 02114-2151

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