Frequently Asked Questions

1.  How can I find out if I am allergic to honeybees? Any allergist should be able to test you for honey bee allergy – see:

2.  Are there any regulations in Philadelphia that prohibit keeping of honey bees?
There are currently no regulations prohibiting beekeeping in Philadelphia!  Apiaries are permitted in residential areas in Philadelphia.
The Commonwealth of PA’s economy is dependent on agriculture.  Therefore the PA Dept. of Agriculture (PDA) regulates beekeeping.  All apiaries, regardless of size, need to be registered with the PA Department of Agriculture. Download form here- PA Apiary Registration Form. Registration remains valid for a period of 2 years.
The Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild recommends that beekeepers in Philly should be considerate neighbors, so beekeeping doesn’t become an issue.  Some guidance is found in the Dept. of Ag’s Best Management Practices.  Keep in mind this is not really written with urban beekeeping in mind.  You do not have to sign it or send it anywhere.  It is completely optional.l, however, it contains some excellent advice:  Beekeeper Compliance Agreement
To find out more about compliance, registration, and inspection by the PDA

3.How do I get started in beekeeping? New beekeepers can attend meetings, workshops, and classes sponsored by beekeeping associations like the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild. Joining your local club is a great way to learn, exchange ideas, and build community with your fellow beekeepers. There are also many books and DVDs available that can help you learn basic beekeeping. There are also state and region-wide beekeeping organizations that have valuable resources to offer.

4.What books would you recommend? There are many books available on the topic of beekeeping. We suggest that you look at several, and choose the ones that best meet your individual needs, goals and interests.  We have a listing under Resources and Beekeeping Reading.  Also, check out this  free downloadable booklet entitled Basic Beekeeping:

5.Where can I buy local honey? If your supermarket does not carry local honey, request that they do! You can find local honey for sale at many farmers markets and farm stands (including Reading Terminal Market), natural food and specialty food stores. Also, many members of the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild offer honey for sale. Inquire at our next meeting, and plan to stock up at our next annual HoneyFest which occurs the weekend after labor day!

6.How can I contact other Guild members to ask about specific topics, exchange ideas, and find out about current events in the area? Join our FaceBook page to have up-to-the-minute exchanges with other Guild members, follow the Guild on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and visit this website often for news about upcoming meetings, events, and courses.

7.I was stung by a bee and it was painful. I now feel light headed. I know that the stinger should be removed, but I’m not sure if I got it all out. Do I need to seek medical treatment?

Insect species such as wasps and hornets are more likely the cause of your sting.
That being said, in most cases, stings are just annoying and home treatment is all that’s necessary to ease the pain. The site of the sting will be swollen and itchy for just a day or two and then any pain and itching will subside. However, if you’re allergic to stings or you get stung numerous times, you may have a more serious reaction that requires emergency treatment, and suggest that you consult your doctor or reliable sources such as this from the Mayo Clinic:
As for the stinger, if you cant see it, you probably got it out. In any case, the venom was released within a minute or two of the sting so you can not be further harmed at this point.
8. If I keep bees, do I need a veterinarian?  
Maybe.  When a definitive answer is available from the PA State Apiarist, we will share the information.  The background on this topic:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been charged with revamping antibiotic use to help slow antibiotic resistance from developing in bacteria. One of the ways they are doing this is by removing all growth promotion uses from antibiotics fed to food-producing animals. Now, antibiotics will only be used for Prevention, Control or Treatment of a disease.
The PA State Apiarist, Karen Roccasecca, shared this update at the fall 2016 PA State Beekeepers Meeting. Update from State Apiarist 11-2016
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