Brief introduction to requirements for organic beekeeping
according to the NPOP, Govt. of India, National Organic Program (NOP) USDA, Canadian Organic Standards (COS) and ADITI standard interpretation
1. What organic beekeeping means:
- Takes place in unpolluted areas
- Uses natural materials, methods, and feed
- Avoids use of conventional veterinary medicine and pesticides.
NPOP and COS has standards on the beekeeping while NOP Final Rule until now does not include specific rules for beekeeping. Certifiers are authorised, however, to certify beekeeping according to NOP, adapting general NOP husbandry rules to beekeeping.
3. Apiary setting:
- The area within a radius of 3 km around the beehives must be predominantly covered by natural vegetation and/or organic or low input farmland; this is especially relevant for crops visited by bees for feeding (fruit orchards, rapeseed, etc.); no major sources of pollution (industry, roads, etc. ) must be within this area
- The area must have enough sources of pollen, nectar, and clean water
- These requirements rule for all apiary sites, including migration sites.
- Stock must be built up from own or organic colonies, using swarms or colony division
- Colonies purchased from conventional beekeepers must undergo a one-year transition period.
5. Hives and other materials, cleanness:
- Beehives must be built mainly from natural materials, like unpainted timber
- Tools, containers and other material used for colony management, harvest, and post harvest handling, must be appropriate for foodstuff and not contain any polluting substances
- Beeswax must be from organic apiaries, or built up from own wax, using only the caps, or proven by analysis to be free of pesticide residues; a closed circle for beeswax must be built up
- Hives must be kept clean, harvest and post harvest handling must be performed under adequate hygienic conditions.
- Colonies must be left enough honey for feeding during cold or dry seasons
- Only in case that really required by climatic conditions, artificial feeding may be used; exclusively organic sugar may be used for this purpose.
7. Veterinary treatments:
- The beekeeper must prevent diseases and pests, by selecting a resistant breed, controlling drones, changing queens, keeping hives and materials clean, etc.
- Only formic, lactic, acetic, and oxalic acids, menthol, thymol, eucalyptol, and camphor may be used for Varroa control
8. Conversion period:
- Colonies have to undergo a one year conversion period
- During this period, beeswax has to be replaced by wax from organic apiaries, or a new stock has to be built up, using only the caps
- In case that a colony is treated with conventional veterinary medicine, it has to be separated and undergo a one year conversion period; in case of treatment with conventional acaricides, in addition, the beeswax must be replaced once more.
9. Records, traceability, and labels:
- The beekeeper must present an organic management plan
- A detailed map of the apiary site and its surrounding must be presented; relevant vegetation, the apiary site, and eventual sources of pollution must be marked on the map
- A diary must be kept for each single colony, including information on general handling, reproduction, veterinary treatments, yields, and special observations
- After harvest and before transporting or storing honey or other bees products, these must be adequately labelled; labels must include information on type and quantity of product, date of harvest, origin, organic condition, name of certifier
- Traceability must be assured as far back as possible.
Standard Inspection Program for Organic Beekeeping according to the NPOP, Govt. of India, COS, the US National Organic Program (NOP) and ADITI standard interpretation
As a minimum, the inspection of organic beekeepers will cover the following aspects:
Review Of the organic management plan and its implementation
Field inspection :
Visit to all apiaries, including migratory sites, focussing on:
- Origin of bees
- Materials used for beehives, containers, and tools
- Origin of beeswax
- Siting (vegetation and sources of pollution in a radius of 3 km around the apiary)
- Sources of clean water
- Disease and pest prevention, veterinary treatments
- General colony management
Visit to harvesting and storage rooms, eventual processing units, focussing on:
- Suitability of containers and tools
- Adequate separation from non-certified products
- Labelling and traceability
- Sources of post-harvest pollution
- Regional maps (not smaller than 1:50.000), highlighting apiary sites, relevant vegetation, sources of pollution (roads, industry, waste dumps, conventional fields, etc.), and sources of clean water
- Invoices for purchase of bees, hives, painting, feed, beeswax, veteri-nary products, honey
- Apiary diary (including information on change of wax, feeding, veteri-nary treatments, harvests, migration, general management)
- Storage book and/or processing and/or packing protocol (if relevant)
- List of products used for cleaning, disinfections and pest control
- Book keeping on all sales of apiary products.
In case of groups of beekeepers with an internal control system:
- Records on internal control system (see Standard Control Program for Farmer Groups)
See also :
- ADITI policy on traceability
- Brief information on organic beekeeping