Bee on a flower
MDAR’s Apiary Program has been established to promote and sustain apiculture in the Commonwealth by providing support to honey beekeepers, pesticide applicators, farmers, land managers, educators, regulators and government officials. The Program is comprised of a team of highly trained and knowledgeable staff consisting of a Chief Inspector and full-time seasonal inspectors located throughout the state. Inspectors perform the following services upon request:
  • Inspect, sample and monitor honey bees (Apis mellifera) and hive equipment for pest, parasites and pathogens: Apiary Inspection Request Form
  • Register apiaries and colonies for beekeepers: Apiary and Colony Registration Form
  • Prevent establishment of new pests, parasites, pathogens, and Africanized honey bees (Apis mellifera scutellata) through imported bees and hive equipment.
  • Investigate suspected honey bee kills from pesticides and pathogen spillover from American Foulbrood (Paenibacillus larvae).
  • Provide technical assistance, continuing education, and outreach to all audiences on topics related to honey bee biology, hive management, and pollination.
  • Issue permits for interstate movement of honey bees and hive equipment.
  • Promote honey beekeepers and the local beekeeping industry through marketing of Massachusetts-produced honey and hive products. Survey here. doc format of Massachusetts Farm Marketing Survey
  • Communicate with local, regional and national audiences to stay current on trends in honey bee health, management techniques and treatment options.If interested in taking our survey, click here.

State Apiary 

The MDAR has collaborated with the University of Massachusetts Stockbridge School of Agriculture to create a state apiary at the UMass Agricultural Learning Center, 911 North Pleasant St., Amherst. The apiary consists of twelve honey bee hives located within an 80 foot by 30 foot plot situated adjacent to the UMass Pollinator Conservation Project. The apiary is surrounded by a solar powered electric fence (to deter animals and serve as a safety barrier for visitors). It consists of six wooden stands (capable of holding five hives each) partitioned into two horizontal rows. The apiary will also be used by the UMass Beekeeping Club and for hives maintained for UMass beekeeping courses.

The purpose of the apiary is to serve as a vessel for education, outreach demonstrations and research related to agricultural sustainability, pollination, honey bee health and hive management. This apiary is also considered to be a critical component of the Stockbridge School’s student farm pollinator habitat conservation project. The apiary will provide valuable pollination services to the farms cultivated acreage of crops, trees and wildflowers. Given the ability to do live, in-hive demonstrations onsite, this apiary will also be an important tool for providing outreach education to farmers, land managers, beekeepers and the public on topics related to honey bees and agriculture. The apiary will be maintained through a collaborative effort of the MDAR Apiary Program inspectors, students and faculty members on campus.

2017 Honey Bee Education Days at State Apiary

Are you interested in learning more about honey bees, their health and hive management techniques? Join State Apiary Inspectors from the Department of Agricultural Resources to get a tour of live working honey bee hives and an educational demonstration. These events are open to the public, but will focus on topics of interest to beekeepers. Participants must bring protective clothing (i.e. bee suit and/or bee veil with long pants) and closed toed shoes as it will not be provided and is necessary before entering the apiary. Alternate dates will be provided in event of inclement weather.

Dates (topics):

  • Saturday, May 20th (spring management)
  • Saturday, June 17th (summer management as part of the Massachusetts Beekeepers Association 2017 Field Day)
  • Saturday, July 15th (hive pests, parasites and pathogens)
  • Saturday, August 19th (fall management)
  • Saturday, September 16th (winter preparation)

Time: 10 am-noon
Location: UMass Agricultural Learning Center, 911 North Pleasant St, Amherst, MA, 01002

Massachusetts Honey Bee Survey: April 2017-April 2018

This survey has been created by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) to serve as a tool for Massachusetts honey beekeepers to share data on colony survival and losses that occur during the current bee season: April 2017 - April 2018. Participation in this survey is voluntary. Responses will be analyzed by MDAR Apiary Program staff, who will then provide a summary of results to the beekeeping community after April 2018. Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey and provide feedback on the health of MA honey bees!


Bee Samples

1) Virus Testing at UMass Lab:

Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
Attention: Kim Skyrm
101 University Dr, Suite C-4
Amherst, MA  01002

2) USDA Lab:

For Nosema spp., American Foulbrood (AFB), European Foulbrood (EFB), Tracheal mites, and Varroa mites at USDA Lab