Maryland & Howard County Regulations

Recommended Management Practices for Maintaining Honey Bee Colonies in Maryland

Recommended Management Practices for Maintaining Honey Bee Colonies in Maryland

Maryland State Beekeepers Association

December 2009

(As ratified on Saturday, February 20, 2010)
Click here To download a pdf copy
The Maryland State Beekeepers Association (MSBA) provides the following recommended reasonable and responsible beekeeping practices and behavior in pursuing the keeping of bees, and in respecting the rights, safety, and well-being of neighbors and the local environment.

Managed honey bees provide pollination services to improve commercial agricultural production and the health of our ecosystems, honey, and other significant economic benefits to the citizens of Maryland. Honey bees are valuable in education, sustainable private and community agriculture, research, and for family enjoyment. Well-managed colonies may be kept safely in virtually all locations of Maryland regardless of housing density. Maintaining a vigorous and responsible body of skilled beekeepers and their population of European honey bees throughout Maryland is the best possible deterrent to colonization by the Africanized Honey Bee (AHB), and in dealing with any inadvertent incursions of AHB’s.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) has regulatory authority over beekeeping and maintains a Best Management Practices that must be followed by beekeepers moving colonies into and out of Maryland for commercial purposes, in order to maintain healthy and safe pollination services for Maryland agriculture. The MDA BMP does not apply to beekeepers who maintain their colonies only within the state. MSBA has no regulatory authority, and adherence to these MSBA recommendations is voluntary. MSBA will support the rights of beekeepers who follow these recommendations.

  1. General beekeeping practices

The responsible beekeeper:

1.      will abide by and remain in compliance with Maryland laws and local ordinances as they pertain to honey bees.

2.      will have sound knowledge of honey bee behavior and beekeeping and are encouraged to complete an Introductory Beekeeping course at a college or university, or offered by a beekeeping association or Master Beekeeper (often called a Short Course), and stay current on issues of colony health and management.

3.      when maintaining colonies within 200 feet of the property line, will provide and maintain a water source close to the hives (less than 200 feet),

4.      will maintain a distance of at least 50 feet between the apiary and any tethered or kenneled animal,

5.      will practice swarm prevention, retrieve swarms as promptly as possible, and be responsive to calls regarding bee activity in the neighborhood.

  1. Special considerations in residential areas

1.      Beekeepers will be considerate of neighbors and discuss their intentions with adjacent neighbors before establishing an apiary.

2.      Beekeepers shall limit ready access to the apiary to minimize disturbance of hives by people.

3.      The location and flight paths of the colony should be arranged carefully, and colonies (and buffers and barriers if needed) should be located and oriented so that flyways are above head level when the honey bees cross adjacent property lines,

4.      Make allowance for nearby activities in deciding when to open colonies, if neighbors or the general public are participating in outside activities or using heavy machinery within 75 feet of the apiary.

  1. To help prevent the spread of Africanized Bees and the increased risk they pose, The responsible beekeer will:

1.      maintain colonies only of the European Honey Bee (EHB).

2.      promptly report all highly defensive colonies, and/or colonies suspected of being non-EHB, to the State Apiary Inspector, and collect and submit samples of these to the Inspector at his request.

3.      dequeen all colonies which are highly defensive as soon as possible but no later than 7 days.

4.      requeen and destroy all reproductive brood (queen and drone cells) in colonies found to be “not EHB” as determined by the MDA, as soon as possible but no later than 7 days of notification.

5.      kill all colonies determined to be a pure or a hybrid race other than EHB (with 95% certainty) as determined by the MDA, within 7 days of notification.

6.      ensure that all queens purchased from “AHB suspect or detected areas” are produced in compliance with Queen Producer Best Management Practices. The MDA maintains a list of queen breeders who are in compliance. (1)

7.      maintain a healthy population of EHB drones by keeping an equivalent of a full deep frame of drone comb for drone production, not Varroa trapping, in at least one colony, or in 10% of all colonies for apiaries with 10 or more colonies .

  1. Africanized Honey Bee Areas

In the event that any county is declared an Africanized Honey Bee (AHB) suspect or detected area by the MDA, the beekeeper shall:

1.      Annually requeen and maintain all colonies with marked queens produced in compliance with Queen Producer Best Management Practices (1);

2.      Inspect hives for the presence of a laying marked queen every two months between March 1st and October 31st and maintain written records of inspections;

3.      Provide the name and contact information of all suppliers from which queens have been purchased to the State Apiary Inspector and keep receipts of purchase and any certificates of origin for those queens for two years;

4.      Maintain only marked queens, and promptly replace any unmarked queens with marked queens produced in compliance with the Queen Producer Best Management Practices(1);

5.      Kill all swarms caught or trapped, or replace within 7 days the queens of swarms caught or trapped with marked queens produced in compliance with the Queen Producer Best Management Practices (1);

6.      Maintain at least one bait trap/hive in each apiary. 

(1)All queens produced outside of AHB suspect or declared areas are considered in compliance with the Queen Producer Best Management Practices. A listing of queen producers inside AHB suspect or declared areas who are in compliance with the recognized Queen Producer Best Management Practices, and a listing of counties inside suspect or declared areas are both available from MDA.


Constitution By-Laws

Howard County Beekeepers Association Inc. Constitution and Bylaws

Article I: Name
The name of this organization shall be the Howard County Beekeepers Association, Incorporated or HCBA for short.

Article II: Purpose
The HCBA is organized (1) to promote beekeeping through education of our membership and the general public and (2) for charitable, educational, and scientific purposes, including for such purposes, the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Article III: Membership
Any person or family owning one or more colonies of bees may become a member of HCBA by payment of annual dues.

Any person or family not owning bees, but interested in apiculture, may become a member of HCBA by payment of annual dues.

Any person under 18 may become a non-voting member without payment of annual dues.

Each active membership is entitled to one vote on each matter submitted to a vote. Each membership shall receive the HCBA newsletter and/or have access to the HCBA “member’s section” of the web site.

The HCBA’s fiscal year is the calendar year. Dues are payable by January 31 of each year to maintain active membership status.

Article IV: Governance

Section A: Officers

The elected officers of the club shall be President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Two Directors and Newsletter Editor. The terms of office shall be for one year and will follow the calendar year. In case of a delayed election, officers remain in place until successors are elected.

Section B: Members of the Board of Directors

The Board of Directors shall consist of the current Officers, the immediate Past President of HCBA, chairpersons of active committees, and any other person as appointed by the President.

Section C: Duties of the Officers and the Board of Directors

President: The President presides over the meetings of HCBA and meetings of the Board. The President upholds the Constitution and By-Laws of HCBA. The President shall appoint ad hoc committees and shall oversee these committees. The President shall represent HCBA at all state, regional, or national meetings when possible, or designate another elected officer to act on his/her behalf. Only an elected officer can act on the club’s behalf. The President may also call special meetings as needed.

Vice President:
The Vice President attends to needs of the club under the direction of the President. In case the office of President becomes vacant, the Vice President assumes the duties of President for the remainder of the term. The Vice President arranges for refreshments for club meetings and assists in scheduling programs for meetings, by contacting speakers.

The Secretary shall conduct all correspondence for HCBA and report about meetings to the membership. The Secretary shall maintain a current mailing list of active members of HCBA.

The Treasurer is responsible for all financial matters of the HCBA including the filing of required forms as required to maintain the club’s non-profit status with the State of Maryland and the Internal Revenue Service. The Treasurer receives and records dues and other income to the club. The Treasurer is responsible for the timely payment of expenses of the club. The Treasurer is responsible for keeping accurate, detailed financial records for the club and shall present a Treasurer’s report once per year.

Newsletter Editor: The newsletter editor shall compile beekeeping related articles, recipes, advertisements, etc. into a newsletter which is distributed to members and/or posted on the HCBA website.

Board of Directors:
The Board of Directors is responsible for conducting the affairs of HCBA.
The Board will advise and make recommendations to the club with respect to the activities and purpose of the club. The Board can act upon matters of immediate concern and is obligated to present its actions at the next general membership meeting.

Section D: Board of Directors Meetings
The Board of Directors shall meet as specified by the President or by demand of a majority of the members of the Board. The Board of Directors may conduct business and vote by any means of communication it deems necessary, including face-to-face, email, or conference call or US mail. Notice of meetings of the Board of Directors shall be sent to each member of the Board at least twenty-four hours in advance of the meeting.

A majority of the Board of Directors shall constitute a quorum at any meeting of the Board.

Article V: General Membership Meetings

General membership meetings are open to the public, although business conducted at monthly meetings is subject to vote by active members only.

Twelve members of HCBA shall constitute a quorum for conducting business at general meetings.

Special meetings may be called by providing 10 days’ notice to the general membership.

Election of officers for the New Year will be held at a general meeting, usually the last general meeting in the year.

Article VI: Amendments

This Constitution and Bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds vote at a meeting, provided that notice of the proposed amendment is either mailed or E-mailed to each member at least two weeks prior to the meeting.

Article VII: Dissolution

In the event of dissolution of HCBA, the net assets after payment of debts will be donated to the Maryland State Beekeepers Association or a 501 (c) (3) organization as determined by a majority vote of the membership present when voting on this issue.

Article VIII: Removal of Member
Any member, whose conduct is determined to be unacceptable, can have his/her membership revoked by a two-thirds vote of the Board of Directors.

The aforementioned by-laws were adopted by a majority of the members of the HCBA on this 11th day of May 2010.


Janice Asato, President

Maryland Registration of Honey Bees

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.

  • Application for Registration of Honey Bee Colonies
  • Apiary Inspection Contacts

    Maintaining healthy honey bee colonies is very important to Maryland agriculture. Crops valued in excess of $40 million require or benefit from honey bee pollination in the State. Managed colonies are increasingly important since most wild honey bees have died due to parasitic mites.

    Apiary inspectors work with beekeepers to help them maintain healthy colonies. Inspectors visit about two-thirds of Maryland's apiaries (sites where bee colonies are kept) each year and examine colonies for diseases and pests. Beekeepers are advised on how to treat problems found. To request an inspection of your honey bee colonies e-mail Jerry Fischer. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    USDA Beltsville Bee Lab

    (Beltsville Bee Lab and submitting samples)

    The mission of the Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville is to conduct research on the biology and control of honey bee parasites, diseases, and pests to ensure an adequate supply of bees for pollination and honey production. Using biological, molecular, chemical and non-chemical approaches, scientists are developing new, cost-effective strategies for controlling parasitic mites like Varroa, bacterial diseases like American foulbrood, and emergent pests like the small hive beetle. An additional focus of the Laboratory is to develop preservation techniques for honey bee germplasm to maintain genetic diversity and superior honey bee stock. Bee Research Laboratory staff also provides authoritative identification of bee diseases and pests for Federal and State regulatory agencies and beekeepers on a worldwide basis. As part of its mission, the Bee research Lab will perform diagnosis on honey bees. Please read the procedure for submitting samples.

    Submission of Samples for Diagnosis:

    Read more...

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    Queen's Contrivance.

    The purpose of this website is to promote honey beekeeping by providing a forum in which current honey beekeepers may become more knowledgeable of best practices and the public can become more, and accurately, informed on the benefits of honey bees. For more info or comments, contact Jeff Crooks at