RICHMOND, Va. — If you're a Virginia resident and you've ever been interested in beekeeping, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services wants to throw you a bone.
Or really, a beehive.
The VDACS is accepting applications for its 2021 Virginia Beehive Distribution Program through August 4.
As long as applicants are at least 18 years old, they're eligible to get up to three beehive units per house for free.
The program doesn't include bee suits, smokers, lessons in beekeeping or the actual bees - but beehives are the most expensive pieces of the puzzle, so the program makes becoming an apiarist more attainable.
Bees are important for pollenating plants and crops, and local honey is both delicious and good for you.
Businesses, non-profits and government groups can't apply for this program. It's meant to help regular people set up honeybee hives in their own backyards.
The only rule is that you have to put a honeybee colony in the free beehive within a year.
If you've applied before, but weren't chosen to get hives, you'll need to submit another application to be considered in 2021. Applicants are chosen at random, so applying earlier in the eligibility window won't guarantee you a beehive.
Applications can be mailed physically to VDACS's Office of Plant Industry Services, or submitted online. Mailed applications have to be postmarked before August 4.