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 Apiaries

The MDAR Apiary Program has collaborated with the University of Massachusetts Stockbridge School of Agriculture and the Essex Technical High School to create two (2) state apiaries:

UMass Agricultural Learning Center
911 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA  01002

Essex Technical High School campus
565 Maples Street
Danvers, MA  01923

The apiaries are maintained through a collaborative effort of the MDAR Apiary Program inspectors and interns along with the students, farm managers and faculty members on each campus. Each apiary consists of 5-12 honey bee colonies setup on wooden stands in an enclosed area located adjacent to food and pollinator gardens. The apiaries are surrounded by solar powered electric fences (to deter animals and serve as a safety barrier for visitors). The purpose of the apiaries are to serve as vessels for education, outreach demonstrations and research related to agricultural sustainability, pollination, honey bee health and hive management. These apiaries are also considered to be critical components of each campus by providing valuable pollination services to the farms cultivated acreage of crops, trees and wildflowers. Given the ability to do live, in-hive demonstrations onsite, these apiaries will also be important tools for providing outreach education to beekeepers, students, farmers, land managers, and the public on topics related to honey bees and agriculture.

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