Certification requirements

The most important requirements for organic beekeeping according to EU Regulation are as follows:
  • Organic bee colonies must be situated such that within a radius of 3 km from the apiary site, nectar and pollen sources consist essentially of of organically or very extensively produced crops and/or natural vegetation.
  • The hives must be basically made of natural materials, without synthetic paints/varnishes/preservatives. Agents for pest control as well as cleaning&disinfection are limited to a few permitted agents (Annex II of EU Regulation (EC) N° 889/2008).
  • The bee wax for new foundations must in principle originate from organic production units and must not be treated with unallowed pest control agents. Normally, the wax has to be replaced by certified organic wax during the conversion year.
  • At end of production season the hives must be left with reserves of honey and pollen sufficiently abundant to survive the period without nectar/honeydew. Artificial feeding of colonies is only allowed as exception and with certified organic honey or otherwise organically produced sugar products.
  • Diseases must be prevented as far as possible. If in spite of preventions the colonies become sick or infested, legally permitted phytotherapeutic and homeopathic products shall be used in preference to allopathic products. Use of allopathic medication for preventive treatment is prohibited. For treatment of Varroa jacobsoni only the following products are permitted: formic acid, lactic acid, acetic acid, oxalic acid or menthol, thymol, eucalythus, camphor.
  • Appropriate breed shall be chosen with regard to optimal adaptation to local conditions and disease resistance. NO genetically altered bee species may be used. In principle bees for organic apiaries must originate from certified organic apiaries. For first certification, all colonies (not certified organic yet) will undergo one year conversion period.
  • Use of synthetic repellents during harvest is prohibited. Destruction of bees in the combs as a method associated with the harvesting of beekeeping products is prohibited. Removal of supers and the honey extraction must be duly documented. All handling activities must assure that the organic products are not commingled with other products and not contaminated.
  • All apiaries in the same area from the same operator must be managed organically.

How to become certified


Scheme Manager EU Bio
Ms. Katharina Yanez-Exner
Fon +41 (0) 71 626 0 626
Email eu@imo.ch

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