Honey Bees
Updated: July 19, 2021
By Ginger S. Myers

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service website, Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) threatens the health of honeybees across the nation, the issue exacerbating in the 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 the 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.

Helpful Resources for Honey Bee Enterprise

University of Maryland Extension

  • Cottage Food Business Law
    Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center (MREDC)
    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.
  • Food Processing in Maryland
    Maryland Rural Enterprise Development Center (MREDC)
    If you have decided on a food enterprise, this module at MREDC provides resources for regulations, licenses and rules for operating a food enterprise.

Other State Extension Resources

  • Beekeeping 101
    PennState Extension
    This online course ($$$) for beekeeping is appropriate for all experience levels.  Course topics include biology, behavior, hive management, swarming, equipment, bee products, and much more.
  • Beekeeping-Honey Bees
    This web resource shares topics for beekeeping including planning, marketing, acquisition, packing, diseases and mites, risk management, sample budget, and more.
  • Mid-Atlantic Apicultural Research & Extension Consortium
    The Mid-Atlantic Apiculture Research and Extension Consortium (MAAREC) is a task force 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.

Agencies, Associations, and Government Resources

  • 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.
  • Bee Informed Partnership
    The nonprofit organization is dedicated to working with beekeepers to improve colony health and increase colony survivorship. We provide relevant, timely data that helps beekeepers make informed management decisions. Beekeepers of all sides of the industry, from large scale to small scale benefit from our work.
  • Bee Research Laboratory-Beltsville, MD
    United States Department of Agriculture (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 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. 


  • Beekeeping Club at UMD (Facebook page)
    An educational club for aspiring beekeepers, we manage hives located on campus and welcome anyone interested in learning to work with honeybees. Open to all students! We meet on Thursdays 6:00-7:00 pm in the Plant Sciences Building room 2107.
  • Bee Lab
    The Ohio State University, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences
  • Beekeeping Enterprise Budget
    Michael Duffy, Iowa State University Extension, 2010
  • Marketing Bee Products (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
  • vanEngelsdorp Bee Lab
    University of Maryland, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Department of Entomology
    The Honey Bee Lab at the University of Maryland has diverse personnel with multidisciplinary scientific backgrounds. Research in the laboratory is focused on an epidemiological approach to honey bee health.