Inspections

Beehive and Apiary Inspection Program

Apiary Registration

Berks and Schuylkill Beekeepers Association - Foulbrood filled with spores of bacteriumThe inspection program attempts to keep beekeeping operations to facilitate the safety of bees in the Commonwealth with inspections and certification. Pennsylvania State Law requires every Beekeeper in the Commonwealth is registered. The registration costs $10.00 for a two year period and covers all apiaries and hives owned by that individual. It is critically important the state keep track of all beehives or apiaries in the PA area.

Another important law to remember is all packages of hives brought into the Commonwealth must have a certificate of inspection. The first law regulating beekeeping in the Commonwealth was passed in 1921. This law was passed primarily in response to a major outbreak of a highly contagious and lethal honeybee disease – American Foulbrood (AFB.)

 

Initial efforts of the Apiary Inspection Program focused on moving colonies from old fashioned “log” and “box” hives – which could not be inspected for disease, into modern movable frame hives. Apiary inspectors also educated Beekeepers on the proper control and prevention of bee diseases.

The current Bee Inspector for Berks & Schuylkill County are listed below:

Dan Borkoski       717-614-0488      dborkoski@pa.gov        Berks
Paul Krepicz        717-614-3197      pkrepicz@pa.gov          Schuylkill

 

A Bee Laws and the Inspection Program

The Bee Law continues to regulate the movement of Honeybees, Queens, and equipment into Pennsylvania in order to mitigate a disease outbreak in order to protect the bees.

Each year a team of apiary inspectors is hired to inspect colonies throughout Pennsylvania during the active bee season (approximately May-September.) The program aims to inspect 50% of all colonies in the Commonwealth once every two years. Inspection efforts are focused on apiaries with previous outbreaks of American Foulbrood (AFB.) When an inspector finds or suspects a case of AFB, the apiary containing the colony is quarantined as samples are processed in Harrisburg to confirm infection. Beekeepers are notified of the diagnosis and if positive, the Beekeeper is provided a treatment order outlining treatment options they must follow and completed within 14 days of receiving the order.

The Apiary Inspection Program also provides certification inspections for Queen producers. The program also attempts to provide migratory beekeeping operations the certification they need to facilitate the safe and timely movement of bees in and out of the Commonwealth. The Bureau of Plant Industry does not have any regulations governing the sale of honey.

Each year a team of apiary inspectors is hired to inspect colonies throughout Pennsylvania during the active Berks and Schuylkill Beekeepers Association - Photo nomesa on the outside of a hive bodybee season (approximately May-September). The program aims to inspect 50% of all colonies in the Commonwealth once every two years. Inspection efforts are focused on apiaries that had previous outbreaks of American Foulbrood (AFB). When an inspector finds or suspects a case of AFB, the apiary containing the colony is quarantined as samples are processed in Harrisburg to confirm infection. Beekeepers are notified of the diagnosis and, if positive, are provided a treatment order outlining treatment options that must be completed within 14 days of receiving the order.

The Apiary Inspection Program also provides certification inspections for Queen producers. The program also attempts to provide migratory beekeeping operations the certification they need to facilitate the safe and timely movement of bees in and out of the Commonwealth. The Bureau of Plant Industry does not have any regulations governing the sale of honey.

What Do Bees Need Protection From?

The key to protecting Honeybee Colonies from harmful diseases, parasites and other problems is the ability to identify problems early.   Many of the diseases and pests causing trouble and damage to the Honeybee Hives are listed below and see Glossary page for additional information:

Berks and Schuylkill Beekeepers Association - O'Hare Airport beekeepers

Diseases

  • American and European Foulbrood
  • Chalkbrood
  • Nosema
  • Dysentary
  • Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus (CPV)

Pests

  • Ants
  • Bee Louse
  • Wax Moth
  • Bee Hive Beetle

Parasites

  • Varroa Mites
  • Tracheal Mites

Animals

  • Mice
  • Birds
  • Skunks
  • Bears
  • Raccoons

You can learn more about inspections at Pennsylvania at the PA Beekeeper’s Association (PSBA)

Berks and Schuylkill Beekeepers Association - Photo of the natural vaccination of a queen's the her bee offspring

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