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Agricultural Exemptions For Honey Bees In St. Johns County

by March 12, 2024

How To Receive An Agricultural Land Classification For Honey Bees In St. Johns County, Florida

We have had many requests for information regarding Agricultural Exemptions for Honey Bees in St. Johns County. After a little research and a few phone calls we were able to secure the following information and guidelines on how to qualify for this exemption. The Agricultural Land Classification Guidelines PDF, put together by the St. Johns County Property Appraiser, should be helpful in determining if you are eligible to receive an agricultural land classification.

Only lands primarily used for bona fide agricultural purposes are eligible to receive an agricultural land classification. So, what does “bona fide” mean? According to the exemption specialist that I spoke with from the St. Johns County Property Appraiser’s office, “bona fide agricultural purposes” means good faith commercial agricultural use of the land. “Commercial” is the key word when referring to the agricultural land classification for honey bees. The University of Florida’s Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory defines the three classifications of beekeeping as;

Backyard (Hobbyist) Beekeepers 1-10 Colonies
Sideline Beekeepers 11-250 Colonies
Commercial Beekeeper 251+ Colonies

The St. Johns County Property Appraiser’s office uses this formula when determining a “bona fide commercial honey bee operation”. In addition, they utilize the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Beekeeper Registration information to verify the amount of honey bee colonies registered with the state of Florida for the applicant. Application for agricultural land classification must be received by the Property Appraiser’s Office on or before March 1st of the application year. The initial application is made on the DR-482 Application and Return for Agricultural Classification of Land form. January 1st of each year is the effective assessment date. The business needs to be established and the subject property must be used for the intended classification on or before this date. The income produced must sustain the entire venture, so generating revenue is key. An IRS 1040 Schedule F must be provided. 

Feeding Honey Bees Sugar Syrup

by August 14, 2023

There are certain times of the year that you will need to feed your honey bees. Typically, most beekeepers feed their bees when they first get them, in the early Spring before the nectar flow begins, in the Summer during a dearth, and in the Winter when resources are not as readily available. Here in Northeast Florida, sugar syrup seems to be the most used technique when feeding honey bees, and this method enables you to add supplements and pest control products to the solution to better care for your honey bees. 


1:1 (volume)

Sugar vs Water


2:1 (volume)

Sugar vs Water

Supplement implies that the food source is available to the colony in the field but is either poor quality or the quantity is restricted.
Substitute suggests there is no pollen or nectar available to a colony and a complete substitute is required by the colony for brood rearing or survival.

Source: UF | IFAS Master Beekeeper Program

Things To Consider

Feeding Honey Bees

Honey bees take food well when it is placed above them.

External Feeders

External feeders can promote robbing.

Internal Feeders

Internal feeders are hard to assess and access.

Hive Top Feeders

Hive top feeders can become rancid if not taken fast enough.

Moving Honey Bees

by June 11, 2023

Move Honey Bees Late In The Evening, At Night, Or In The Early Morning Hours When Foragers Are Still In The Hive.

There are many reasons why you will need to move bees to a new location. Regardless of the reason(s) you should move honey bees late in the evening, at night, or in the early morning hours when foragers are still in the hive. Proper planning can make this exercise both easy and successful. Try to get your transport as close to the hive(s) as possible to make loading them easier. You will need to seal the hive entrance in order to keep the bees in the hive, but make sure that they have proper ventilation. Below are two popular techniques used in moving honey bees.

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