Thursday, June 28, 2007

Now, if bees could vote...

There was a bee related editorial in the Baltimore Sun. Basically, it called for further public beekeeping assistance. Here's a tidbit:

Unfortunately, the Maryland Department of Agriculture has only one full-time employee, plus some part-time contractors, to inspect hives for diseases. These inspectors have to do double duty advising beekeepers - which is not their job - because in 1996 the Maryland Cooperative Extension eliminated the last apiculture extension faculty position. If the system were working properly, the University of Maryland would do research on how to improve beekeeping, and agricultural extension would bring it to the beekeeper.

But it's not happening. One example of this neglect: Since 1984, two types of invasive mites have devastated Maryland bees, becoming resistant to several treatments in turn and leaving beekeepers without effective controls for these pests. But the Cooperative Extension has not revised its printed beekeeping handout since 1983. The inspection program needs better support; UM should do more practical honeybee research; and the beekeeping extension program needs to be revived.

Ahh, government inaction! Ooops, I meant in action.

Speaking of government and bees, I purchased my bees from a gentleman whose day job is a Maryland State bee inspector. He makes nucs as a sideline business. I guess he inspects his own nucs, because when I purchased my bees they came with the yellow inspection sticker that says that my bees are inspected and free of disease. I stuck the sticker on my hive after installation of the nuc. So if anyone was wondering about the sticker, that’s the skinny.

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