Beekeeping Safety Program
Indiana University Environmental Health and Safety has developed this beekeeping safety program to provide guidance on Indiana University-related beekeeping activities, programs, and research.
This program applies to all IU faculty, staff, and students who participate in beekeeping activities or research.
Authority and responsibility
- University Environmental Health and Safety (IUEHS) is responsible for:
Maintaining this program; and
Investigating injuries and illnesses as necessary.
- Office of the Vice President for Capital Planning and Facilities (OVPCPF) is responsible for:
Consulting with beekeepers and IUEHS and providing final approval for the location or revocation of beehives on any university property or structure.
Notifying Facility Services and/or Physical Plant and Grounds Maintenance for the respective campus about hive locations.
- Sponsoring department or organization maintaining bee hives are responsible
Designating a head beekeeper for each hive;
Ensuring that each participant in beekeeping activities completes the liability waiver in Appendix A of this program;
Maintaining a copy of all waivers for a minimum of three years;
Consulting with Office of the Vice President for Capital Planning and Facilities regarding the placement of beehives;
Notifying the IU Police Department for the respective campus of the location of the beehives; and
Adhering to the minimum requirements of this program.
- Head beekeepers are responsible for:
Ensuring that all participants in beekeeping activities are aware of the minimum requirements of this program;
Adhering to the minimum requirements of this program;
Ensuring that they have a sponsoring department; and
Obtaining first aid training.
- All other beekeepers are responsible for:
Adhering to the minimum requirements of this program; and
Notifying the supervisor and/or head beekeeper of any stings or injuries.
The following procedures shall be followed for all beekeeping activities:
Placement of beehives
- OVPCPF must approve the placement of beehives on all IU property in advance. Groups that wish to place a hive should submit a Request for Service to OVPCPF.
- OVPCPF will consider each request on a case-by-case basis and will utilize general guidelines of at least 100 feet from common travel areas and at least 1,000 feet from daycare facilities, playgrounds, and areas that experience dense human traffic (stadiums, auditoriums, etc.). OVPCPF may choose to ignore or alter these guidelines at its discretion based on individual situations.
- Rooftop hives will not be permitted without the express consent of OVPCPF and IUEHS for the respective campus.
Signage and barriers
- Signage shall be posted to indicate that a designated area is used for beekeeping activities: “CAUTION: ACTIVE BEE HIVE: DO NOT DISTURB”.
- Perimeter protection may or may not be needed and will be decided by OVPCPF and INLOCC.
- All persons participating in beekeeping activities shall complete the INLOCC liability waiver.
- Any person with suspected or known allergies to bee venom must seek medical advice from their primary care physician prior to participating in beekeeping activities.
- Any person with suspected or known allergies to bee venom must notify the head beekeeper.
- Proper lifting techniques shall be used when lifting boxes. Medium boxes can weigh around 30-50 pounds when filled with honey.
- A telephone must be on site any time participants are present.
- Be aware that bees are sensitive to dark colors and odors such as perfume, dogs, and diesel. These things may affect their behavior.
- Note that commercial sale or use of honey or other edible hive products may be subject to state and federal regulation. Contact IUEHS for your respective campus for further information if you intend to package or provide honey products to the public.
- While transport of bees into Indiana is not regulated, transport to other states may be. State requirements are available by contacting the State Apiarist for the state into which you are transporting.
- Maintain a fire extinguisher within 50 feet of the area where the smoker will be used. Information about fire extinguisher training may be found at the INLOCC
- Only dry fuel (e.g. newspaper, pine needles, bark) shall be used while lighting the smoker. Add a small amount of dry fuel, draw a gentle fire, and pack in more dry fuel.
- When the smoker is not in use, place the smoker in a space free of combustible material (e.g. a metal bucket).
- Keep the area around the hive free of combustible materials.
- To avoid burns and irritation of eyes, the hot barrel of the smoker should point away from the operator.
- The smoker should be extinguished after each use.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Personnel participating in beekeeping activities should, at a minimum, wear a beekeeping hat and veil, elbow length gloves that are leather or nitrile, and closed-toe/closed-heel shoes.
Before entering the beekeeping area, personnel shall wear clean protective clothing/personal protective equipment. The protective clothing should be without holes to prevent bees from entry.
Beekeeping hat and veil
- The ventilated hat should keep its shape and be firm enough to support the veils that fit over them and provide space that keeps the veil away from the face.
- Veils are required when working closely with the bees. A folding wire veil should be fitted to the hat to ensure good separation between the beekeeper's face and the bees outside the veil.
- Dark felt hats and floppy hats should be avoided.
- Gloves need to be strong, but pliable;
- Elbow length cloth sleeves attached to the gloves should be worn when gaining access to the inside of the hive; or
- A band of elastic should be sewn into the cloth sleeve at the elbow end to make it bee-resistant.
- Closed-toe and closed-heel shoes should be worn.
Bee sting first aid
- Reactions to bee stings
Normalreaction includes: some pain, redness, itching, and swelling at the site
- Mild to moderate reaction
persistent or spreading pain, itching or swelling, large or uncomfortable areas of pain, redness, itching or swelling, ongoing symptoms over several days. includes:
- Severe (Anaphylactic) reaction
includes:Abdominal pain or vomiting, difficult or noisy breathing, swelling of the tongue, swelling or tightness of the throat, wheezing or persistentcough, difficulty talking or swallowing and/or hoarse voice, persistent dizziness or collapse.
What to do if you are stung
- Remove yourself from the vicinity of the hive.
- Remove the stinger by scraping the sting as soon as possible. Personnel shall not delay the removal of the sting, regardless of the method used to remove it, as it increases the amount of venom injected into the body.
- Oral antihistamines may assist with persistent itching.
- If you have an adrenaline auto-injector, such as an EpiPen, you should locate it in case your symptoms worsen or call 911.
- Be aware that antihistamines will not prevent or treat anaphylaxis, the most severe form of allergy. The only pre-hospital treatment for anaphylaxis is adrenaline.
Reporting injuries and stings
- Employees must notify their supervisor and/or the head beekeeper immediately if an injury or illness occurs.
- If the person stung is an employee, within 24 hours, the supervisor (or designee) must fill out and submit an injury/illness form. More information regarding injury reporting can be found at Indiana University Human Resources.
- If the person stung is a student or other non-employee, they or the head beekeeper should fill out the form provided by INLOCC within 24 hours.
- A first aid kit shall be on site and equipped with supplies to remove bee stings. Personnel should know and understand how to use the first aid kit in the event of a sting.
- IU Police Department for the respective campus shall immediately be contacted if an individual starts to experience a mild to severe reaction bee sting.
Training and recordkeeping
- First aid training should be completed by the head beekeepers.
- Fire extinguisher training should be completed by anyone who may be expected to use a fire extinguisher. Training is required annually.
- The department or organization sponsoring the beekeeping shall retain completed liability release forms for all participants for at least three years after the last beekeeping activity by each individual.
- The department supplying the training shall maintain training documentation.
New document: April 9, 2018