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Beekeeping (Apiary) Inspection Program

      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.

Over 4,400 beekeepers were registered throughout Ohio in 2014. This represents 6,028 apiaries, and an estimated 39,055 honey bee colonies. Most newer beekeepers are hobbyists - approximately 90% of Ohio beekeepeers 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. 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.

Anyone who owns or possesses bees in the State of Ohio is required to complete an annual registration application by July 1st. 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, Phil Bartosh, 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

Greater Cleveland Beekeepers Association

Ohio Department of Agriculture - Apiary Program

Ohio Revised Code Chapter 909 - Apiaries

Ohio State Beekeepers Association


Contact Information

Phil Bartosh
Cuyahoga County Apiary Inspector
cell- (216)470-0934
res.- (216)351-6190

Rick Novickis, RS, MPH
Director of Environmental Public Health
(216)201-2000 ext 1200