Apiary Inspection ProgramFind your local Bee Inspector
Pennsylvania requires that every beekeeper in the Commonwealth be registered. The registration costs $10.00 for a two calendar-year period and covers all apiaries and hives owned by that person. The PA Department of Agriculture now offers online apiary registration. Detailed instructions are available. Alternatively you may still use the Mail-In Apiary Registration form. Karen Roccasecca, State Apiarist, has also provided a copy of their "Registration Welcome Letter."
Remember that all packages and hives that are 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 honey bee 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.
PA Bee Laws and the Inspection Program
"The current Bee Law, passed in 1994, was a collaborative effort between the Pennsylvania State Beekeepers' Association and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Plant Industry. To increase efficiency of the inspection service, the new law required all apiaries in the state to be registered. The cost of registration is $10 for two calendar years.
The Bee Law continues to regulate the movement of honey bees, queens, and equipment into Pennsylvania in order to mitigate bee disease outbreak.
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 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."(From the site: http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us)
Read the PA Bee Law
Pennsylvania State Apiarist
Best Management Practices
Best Management Practices article is available in pdf format.