§19-13-4. Registration of bees; identification of apiaries; limitation on liability.

(a) All persons keeping bees in this state shall apply for a certificate of registration for beekeeping from the commissioner, within ten days of the date that bees are acquired, by notifying the commissioner, in writing, of the number and location of colonies they own or rent, or which they keep for someone else, whether the bees are located on their own property or someone else’s property. All apiary certificates of registration expire on June 30 of each year and must be renewed annually.  Apiary certificates of registration issued in 2017 will be valid through June 30, 2018.

(b) All persons owning or operating an apiary which is not located on their own property must post the name and address of the owner or operator in a conspicuous place in the apiary.

(c) A person who:

(1) Owns and operates an apiary;

(2) Is registered with the commissioner; and

(3) Operates the apiary in a reasonable manner and in conformance with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture’s written best management practices provided by rule, is not liable for any personal injury or property damage that occurs in connection with the keeping and maintaining of bees, bee equipment, queen breeding equipment, apiaries and appliances. The limitation of liability established by this section does not apply to intentional tortious conduct or acts or omissions constituting gross negligence.

(d) The commissioner shall promulgate legislative rules in accordance with article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code regarding the best management standards for the operation of apiaries. The limitation on liability contained in subsection (c) shall not take effect until legislative rules are promulgated in accordance with article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.