Georgia sets new guidelines for beekeepers, one business buzzing with customers

Georgia News

ELLERSLIE, Ga. (WRBL)- At the start of this month, the state of Georgia set forth new requirements for the control and removal of honeybees. Local beekeeping business, “Honey I’m Home” was able to anticipate these changes and is now buzzing with an influx of customers. 

Effective July 1, The Georgia Structural Pest Control Commission adopted a new chapter entitled the “Control and Removal of Honeybees and Structures.” This requires contracts to be issued in all honeybee control and removal jobs and outlines the necessary licenses for any person engaging in this line of work. 

According to the Georgia Department of Agriculture, “Any person engaging in honeybee control and removal must be a Certified Honeybee Control and Removal Operator and must hold a Structural Pest Control Company License in the Operational Category of Honeybee Removal.”

Local beekeeping business, “Honey I’m Home,” is now reaping the rewards of their preparation. They are one of the few bee extraction businesses that had already implemented these changes before they were required. Bee extraction businesses were previously lumped in with pest control, but now they have their own unique guidelines. 

“So now they’ve actually separated off,” owner and operator Woody O’Connell said. “Bee removals are now a completely separate entity than licensed insured or licensed pest control companies…. they cannot go in and do bee removals, they have to come in and hire us.”

The local business does bee swarm and hive extractions from homes, as well as maintenance and inspections. 

“Honey I’m Home” has a mission to “not only just provide beekeeping services, but training and education to empower those once burdened by infestations into full fledged business owners.” Their hope is for people to have a partnership with their bees. 

Because their business is located on the border, they operate in both Georgia and Alabama. Borders can make things difficult when dealing with live insects, and they are already anticipating Alabama regulations will not be too far behind Georgia’s lead. 

“We’re on the border with Alabama so we’re working in Alabama quite a bit,” O’Connell said. “I can not bring bees back across from Alabama into Georgia, I can’t take Georgia bees into Alabama. So we have an apiary set up in Alabama where we can drop off the bees there… we have apiaries in Georgia….”

People are able to visit these apiaries and O’Connell, also dubbed the “bee whisperer,” shares his passion for the insect. He passes on his knowledge and expertise to customers to help develop their passions for the hobby.

Bee season began around Good Friday, and O’Connell is optimistic about the influx of business for the rest of the season. 

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