Bee Buzz: Selling Honey & Systemic Pesticide

Honey in a jar with a honeycomb next to it.

Raw honey extracted from a honeycomb.

Selling Honey

Tom, a beekeeper, sent the question to AHA, “Just a quick note while it is on my mind... there have been several online topics about bottling, labeling, and selling honey. The laws have changed several times in the recent past with the "cottage laws" but there are still questions about including tax liability, if any. I am sure that this would be of interest to several of our local beekeepers.” AHA consulted with Mr. Erik Fain, a beekeeper, and an attorney with Guillory & McCall, L.L.C., in Lake Charles. Erik shared, “If you sell at a Farmer’s market or directly off the farm (i.e., You sell it directly—they do not have to come to your farm) you do not have to worry about what kind of label you have on honey.

Regardless of the cottage law, if you sell anything by weight you need a scale inspected by the state and registered in your name.

If you sell some else's honey the regulators expect you to have an inspected bottling facility. They will have requirements for your label, and it would be better to get that straight from the horse’s mouth if you want to go that route.

As far as taxes, if you the beekeeper sell it directly off the farm you do not have to charge sales tax. You do have to pay other applicable taxes, report it, etc.”

Bee pollinating a red rose.

A honeybee is pollinating a red rose.

Systemic Pesticide

Joe, a Master Gardener, sent this question about a specific pesticide, “This product is for roses, [and] it has systemic insecticide in it. Also, there are systemic insecticides that I use for flowering plants, will this stuff affect bees and other pollinators? They do not eat the plant but [ is it safe for them?].”AHA did a little research about the product in question and replied, “The active ingredient in this product is highly toxic to bees by direct exposure.

However, the exposure by pollen is 6 parts per billion of those active ingredients. Here are some analogies for parts per billion:

  • 1 silver dollar in a roll stretching from Detroit to Salt Lake City.
  • 1 sheet in a roll of toilet paper stretching from New York to London.
  • 1 second in nearly 32 years.

The bottom line is that it is ok use this product without lethal concern for the pollinators.” However, there are unanswered questions about sub-lethal effects of insecticides, and those questions are under examination by various universities and agencies. The good news is that if honeybees survived the bad old days of DDT, then they will probably adapt to our modern conditions today.

If you want to contact Bee Buzz, please send your questions and pictures to Keith Hawkins, Area Horticulture Agent (AHA), 337-463-7006 or Also, you can be on the “beemail” email list by emailing your request to the address above.

“This work has been supported, in part, by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Renewable Resources Extension Act Award, Accession Number 1011417.”

7/31/2023 9:23:26 PM
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