In 2005, 380 Maine beekeepers registered 6,436 hives. In addition, 52,668 hives managed by migratory commercial beekeepers entered Maine for blueberry, apple, and cranberry pollination. Hives were also used to pollinate canola, small fruits, squash, and buckwheat. Honey bee colonies entered Maine under certification from AR, FL, GA, KS, LA, MS, SC, and TX. Nearly 6,000 colonies were shipped to Maine from CA under TX certificate because California terminated apiary inspection services years ago. In 2005, 17,298 hives were issued ME health certificates for interstate movement to MA, RI, IN, NY, FL, and GA for cranberry pollination, cucumber pollination, honey production, and wintering purposes. After blueberry pollination, the majority of migratory hives moved to honey production regions in NY, SD, ND, and VT under AR, FL, and TX certification.
Throughout the year 5,700 colonies were surveyed at random with 2,642 opened and inspected for disease and parasites. American foulbrood (AFB) was found in 49 (1.85%) of inspected hives. The low incidence of AFB is primarily due to the use of Tylan (tylosin) antibiotic in the majority of commercial beekeeping operations. European foulbrood (EFB) was found in 16 hives (0.6%) and sacbrood virus in 18 colonies (0.68%). The emergence and spread of Varroa mites with resistance to pesticides has interfered with commercial beekeeper’s ability to maintain hive numbers. Inspections identified additional operations with American foulbrood (Paenibacillus larvae) strains resistant to Terramycin (oxytetracycline hydrochloride) and Varroa mite strains resistant to fluvalinate, coumaphos, and amitraz. In 2005, 185 colonies were randomly surveyed for Varroa via the ether roll method and 90 were found positive. Many additional hives were found to be infested via drone brood removal, alcohol wash, bottom board detection, and during resistance testing (Pettis method).
In 2005, the Department was granted repeats of the Section 18 Emergency Exemptions
for ApiLifeVar (thymol, menthol, eucalyptol, camphor) and CheckMite+ (coumaphos)
for Varroa control. In addition, Mite-Away II (48.4% formic acid) was registered for
treatment of honey bees infested with Varroa and tracheal mite (Acarapis woodi). The
registration of Mite-Away II now affords beekeepers with six materials with differing
modes of action for the control of one or more of the parasitic bee mites.
Throughout the year, 137 hives were randomly sampled from 15 migratory beekeeping
operations and from highly defensive colonies managed by resident beekeepers. The
samples were tested for Africanization via the first step of the FABIS technique (Fast
Africanized Bee Identification System). Test results from three colonies managed by
three different FL migratory beekeepers indicate a 99.2%, 81.4%, and 75.2% probability
of Africanization and need for further analysis.
Throughout the year, the state apiarist presented seminars and workshops regarding
honey bee management, presented corporate safety seminars concerning stinging insects,
and presented seminars and displays to civic groups, educators, and the public about the
value of bees. The state apiarist and seasonal apiary inspector also responded to
nuisance complaints from the public concerning honey bees managed by migratory and
resident beekeepers and investigated or made recommendations to citizens with inquiries
about bee/wasp/hornet infestations of homes and businesses.