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Honey Bees

Apiary Program


Montana typically ranks in the top 10 states for honey production in the United States. The department registers all apiary sites in the state. Apiaries must be registered by April 1 of each year.


For producers, some good information on honeybee diseases, pathogens and colony collapse disorder can be found at the Mid-Atlantic Apiculture Research and Extension Consortium website, see link below. Guidelines for protecting honeybees from pesticide exposure can be found here.


There are four types of apiary registrations:

  • General (Commercial): An apiary placed by permission on someone's property and contains more than 5 hives. All general apiaries must be 3 miles from the next general site of another registered beekeeper. This is to prevent the spread of diseases and pests from apiary to apiary and to limit and prevent interference with proper feeding of the honeybees.
  • Pollination: An apiary established for the pollination of commercial seed, fruit, or other commercial crop dependent on bee pollination. There is no distance limit and these registrations are for a specific time period determined by the department and must be applied for each year.
  • Landowner: An apiary that is registered to the owner of the land the apiary site is established on. There is no distance limit or limit on the total number of hives that can be registered.
  • Hobbyist: An apiary placed by permission on someone's property and limited to not more than 5 hives. There is no distance limit between apiaries required on this type of registration. Hobbyist registrations are voluntary, however, beekeepers who choose to register must pay all program fees.






Cam Lay
Natural Resource Program Manager
Montana Department of Agriculture
302 N Roberts
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 444-3790
E-mail: clay2@mt.gov
Fax: (406) 444-9493


Published: September 22, 2011 4:49:00 PM MDT.
Last Modified: June 19, 2015 3:34:05 PM MDT