Cuyahoga County Apiary Inspector
|Rick Novickis RS, MPH
Director of Environmental Public Health
216.201.2000 ext. 1200
Throughout history, honey bees have played a vital role in agriculture. Along with producing honey, bees pollinate many of our fruit and vegetable crops. In Ohio, these include apples, melons, cucumbers and pumpkins. Nearly one-third of our diet benefits directly or indirectly from honey bee pollination.
At the end of the 2019 calendar year, 6,183 beekeepers were registered in accordance with Ohio Revised Code section 909.02. This represents a total of 9,462 apiaries. Most newer beekeepers are hobbyists – approximately 90% of Ohio beekeepers have five hives or less.
Although Ohio Revised Code requires that all active bee colonies be registered, countless beekeepers choose not to. This can pose a wide variety of issues and can jeopardize the health of our local bee population.
County Apiary Inspectors play a valuable role in protecting our local beekeeping industry. Along with identifying issues related to bee hive design and colony location, a trained inspector can help in identifying potential disease that could negatively impact, or even wipe out a honey bee colony.
Currently, at least 19 viruses that negatively impact honey bees have been identified in the U.S. Mites and beetles can also harm a bee colony. Varroa mites are responsible for most of the viruses honey bees get. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a phenomenon in which worker bees seem to simply disappear, is also a major concern around the world.
Apiary Inspectors are the first line of defense against honey bee colony pests and diseases. They can also provide a great deal of information and guidance to beekeepers, whether they are novices or well versed in apiary management. A study in the State of New York found that American Foulbrood (AFB) rose dramatically in the five years that they suspended their apiary inspection program. Once the program restarted, cases of AFB quickly dropped again. AFB is caused by a spore-forming bacteria that is specific to honey bees. This disease is highly contagious, will weaken and in most cases kill a honey bee colony. AFB will also contaminate beekeeping equipment which must then be destroyed to prevent the spread of AFB to additional colonies. There is no cure for AFB.
Anyone who owns or possesses bees in the State of Ohio is required to complete an annual registration application by June 1.
The application fee is only $5.00 – a small price to pay considering all of the benefits an Apiary Inspector can provide during an annual inspection.
To obtain additional program information or to schedule an appointment or inspection, please contact the Cuyahoga County Apiary Inspector directly at the phone numbers or e-mail address listed below.
Please remember that apiary inspectors do not serve in the role of Commercial Pesticide Applicators or nuisance trappers. You should contact a USDA licensed pest control operator in response to a pest nuisance situation.
Beekeeping Links & Resources
Apiary Registration Application
Greater Cleveland Beekeepers Association
List of County Apiary Inspectors in Ohio
Ohio Department of Agriculture – Apiary Program
Ohio Revised Code Chapter 909 – Apiaries
Ohio State Beekeepers Association
Gardening for Bees – Ohio State University