University of Maryland Extension

Honey Bee Enterprise

Introduction

According to USDA Agricultural Research Service website, Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) threatens the health of honeybees across the nation, the issue exacerbating in 1980s with the increase of new pathogens & pests.  Since a great number of agricultural crops we grow in Maryland depend on honeybee pollination, the honeybee decline threatens our food industry.

One response is the Bee Informed Partnership which is dedicated to understanding management practices of beekeepers.  Supported by the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the Bee Informed Partnership is a collaboration of leading research labs, universities of agriculture, commercial beekeeping industries, commercial growers, beekeepers, naturalists and conservationists from across the nation.  The result is the determination of trends towards better beekeeping and healthier colonies by region.

One outcome related to this crisis is the increase in resources, support and training available to anyone who is interested in a backyard colony.  Honeybees, not only valued for their role in pollination, are valued for their products.  Keepers of honeybee hives can harvest products for resale including beeswax, pollen, honey, and more.  The need-for-the-bees makes apiculture another emerging agricultural enterprise for Maryland farmers and backyard beehive enthusiasts.

Use the resources below to further explore a honey bee enterprise:

Bee Informed Partnership
USDA/NIFA

A partnership of leaders across the nation dedicated to determining trends towards better beekeeping and healthier colonies.

Beekeeping 101
Penn State Extension

Penn State Extension offers an online course for beekeeping appropriate for all experience levels.  Course topics include biology, behavior, hive management, swarming, equipment, bee products, and much more.  $$$  See sample pages at Penn State’s Beekeeping 101 website.

Alternative Agriculture - Beekeeping
Penn State Extension

This web resource shares topics for beekeeping including: planning, marketing, acquisition, packing, diseases and mites, risk management, sample budget, and more.

Food Processing in Maryland
Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center (MREDC)
University of Maryland Extension

If you have decided on a food enterprise, this module at MREDC provides resources for regulations, licenses and rules for operating a food enterprise.

Cottage Food Business Law
Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center (MREDC)
University of Maryland Extension

If your food enterprise is home-based, visit this module at MREDC to understand Maryland’s cottage food bill.  This bill establishes requirements with regard to cottage food businesses; businesses that produce or package cottage food products in a residential kitchen for annual revenues of up to $25,000 from the sale of those products.

Bee Lab
The Ohio State University
College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

Research and outreach related to honey bees, wild bees, and other pollinators.

Marketing Bee Products YouTube Video
Julie M. Fox, Ph.D., Direct Marketing Specialist and Julie Moose
Ohio State University

This video presents bee industry trends and information about selling directly to consumers, selling directly to wholesale buyers, using a whole-marketing combination, and selling local.

Beekeeping Enterprise Budget
Iowa State University Extension

Maryland State Beekeepers Association, Inc.
Committed to beekeeping since 1908, the Maryland State Beekeepers Association is dedicated to the advancement of beekeeping in the state of Maryland.  Special note:  see list of local beekeeping organizations on the “Links & Resources” page.  You may find a beekeeping association in your county.

University of Maryland Apiary Education Facebook Page
Bees and beekeeping education and outreach for all levels of experience.

Bee Research Laboratory - Beltsville
USDA – Agricultural Research Service

This USDA bee research laboratory is located right here in Maryland and the laboratory’s mission is to conduct research related to the biology and control of honey bee parasites, diseases, and pests.  The goal is to understand how to keep an adequate supply of honey bees for pollination and honey production.

Eastern Apicultural Society
The Eastern Apicultural Society of North America, Inc., an international non-profit organization, is dedicated to bee culture education & research, and also certifies Master Beekeepers.

Maryland Apiary Inspection
Maryland Department of Agriculture
Maryland Law requires everyone who keeps bees to register their colonies within 30 days of first obtaining a honey bee colony and then annually thereafter.

Mid-Atlantic Apicultural Research & Extension Consortium
The Mid-Atlantic Apiculture Research and Extension Consortium (MAAREC) is a taskforce with representation from various organizations, including land-grant universities, from the following states:  New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia.  Meeting twice annually, MAAREC’s goal is to identify research & extension priorities, review proposals, monitor progress, and assist research & extension specialists in obtaining funding.

The MAAREC website is filled with resources for the beekeeper and topics include: beekeeping for the beginner and honey bee biology.

Maryland Honeybee Working Group
University of Maryland Department of Entomology

One local response by the University of Maryland’s Department of Entomology is the formation of the Maryland Honeybee Working Group.  One of the goals of this group is to address the issue of Colony Collapse Disorder through identifying and coordinating bee research efforts.

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