Honey bee health inspections are conducted by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) Apiary Program Team as visits by Apiary Inspectors to apiaries in Massachusetts. Inspections are performed for regulatory purposes (i.e. import, export, investigation, monitoring) at the discretion of the inspectors and routinely upon beekeeper request. Regulatory inspections are considered a priority over routine beekeeper requests.
Apiary Inspectors will notify and schedule inspections in advance with beekeepers. Beekeepers can elect to be present or not for the inspection. During the inspection, the Apiary Inspector examines honey bee health by evaluating adult bees, brood, comb, food stores and used equipment. If necessary, Apiary Inspectors will also take samples and send to a diagnostic lab for analysis. Apiary Inspectors will inspect live colonies, declining colonies, expired colonies (dead-outs), nucleus colonies (nucs), used equipment, and package bees.
Apiary Inspectors may also support beekeepers by answering questions related to colony health or management and provide recommendations. Apiary Inspectors do not assist in colony management (i.e. requeen, split, remove honey supers, etc.) or treatment application (i.e. miticides, medications, etc.).
After the visit, the Apiary Inspector will provide a written summary of findings to the beekeeper as an Inspection Report or Health Certificate. If the Apiary Inspector collects samples during the visit, they will be submitted to a diagnostic lab for analysis and results will be sent directly to the beekeeper via email from the lab. The Apiary Inspector will also follow up with the beekeeper to answer questions about the sample results and to discuss management options, if necessary.
The MDAR Apiary Program Team is buzzin’ with activity throughout the year so bee sure to submit your requests in advance or as quickly as possible during emergencies so we can best accommodate.