Notes from the Apiary Inspector

Cybil Preston, State Apiary Inspector, MDA
Phone 410-841-5920, Fax 841-5835, Cell 410-562-3464

2020 Maryland Beekeeping Statistics:

  • 2,160 Beekeepers registered
  • 2,706 Apiaries
  • 16,494 honeybee colonies registered
  • 192 Apiaries were inspected despite COVID-19 Restrictions!
In December, the Maryland Department of Agriculture sent out the annual registration letter and registration form to all beekeepers who have been active in the last 5 years! Please send in or email me your signed registration if you have not already done so.  
We are now in the process of sending out the second mailing: this 2nd notice will be sent to those who did not return the 1st registration. It is worth it to respond! We make our Inspectors lists by the middle of March so please get your registration forms in ASAP. And again: Please send in your updated form. 
This season has been similar to last year. With the long stretches of cold weather which we have had, it  would not be surprising to hear of higher losses. When the temperatures  are too cold , it can be difficult for the bees to move to their food stores.  Cold  weather is also hard on colonies  that are too weak or  that have clusters  that are too small. It all remains to be seen!
I have also been inspecting late fall and December dead outs, and am observing high numbers of varroa mites in the dead brood and the small clusters that are left behind. I again fear a high winter loss rate for 2020 into 2021.

Nucleus colony inspections: Please remember that if you are purchasing nucleus colonies from out of state you will need to have them inspected prior to them entering the State of Maryland.

Also nucleus colony suppliers are asked to contact me to get on the inspection list.  If  nucleus colonies are made in Maryland and sold to an out of state beekeeper, they must be inspected before  movement across state lines.  The beekeeper selling nucleus colonies is responsible for finding out from the buyer where it is going. 

Bee clubs: please also take a look at your suppliers list! If you are publishing a list of local beekeepers who are selling nucleus colonies or packages, please be sure the supplier is registered with the MDA.  I have seen a few bee suppliers that are not current with their Maryland Registration.

I have been inspecting with the dogs, too! Mack  and Tukka have inspected and certified 2,500 colonies so far this winter!

[Return to February 2021 BeeLine newsletter]