Illinois Bees and Apiaries Program
The Illinois Bees and Apiaries Program is designed to assist beekeepers throughout Illinois with the management and protection of honeybee colonies. The domestic honeybee plays a vital role in today's society. Due to the extensive problems caused by various diseases and pests of the honeybee, many feral or wild honeybees have been eliminated, which has had a significant negative impact on the pollination of flowering plants.
Honeybees pollinate many of the plants which produce the food consumed by humankind. Examples of plants pollinated by honeybees include almonds, apples, blueberries, cucumbers, melons, and pumpkins. A lack of feral honeybees over the last several years has greatly increased the need for managed honeybees to be used for the pollination of plants.
Under the Illinois Bees and Apiaries Act, the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) inspects honeybee colonies as a service to the beekeeping industry. The purpose of the inspections is to determine the general health of honeybee colonies. During the course of an inspection, IDOA Apiary Inspectors closely examine beehives to detect diseases and pests and provide advice on needed treatments.
Inspections are provided free of charge to beekeepers around the state. The Act also requires beekeepers to register their colonies (one or more) with the IDOA.
Registration can be done by completing the fillable form accessible on the Apiary webpage, signing the form and mailing it to the Illinois Department of Agriculture. A registration certificate (including a registration number) is provided to beekeepers who register with the IDOA. There is also no charge for registering honeybee colonies with the IDOA.
Another new feature of our Apiary webpage is the ability to access current apiary statistics (e.g., beekeepers or colonies in each county) Just click the "Apiary Reports" to take you to that section of the website.
The Department is currently without a full Apiary Inspection Team. If an inspection is needed in an area where there is a vacancy, please contact Steve Chard at 217/782-6297 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Otherwise, please contact one of the inspectors listed on this website or call Steve Chard at 217/782-6297 for assistance in arranging an inspection.
Reducing Potential Bee Exposure to Pesticides
The Illinois Department of Agriculture is working with many partners to reduce honeybee exposure to various pesticides (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, etc.). There have been some instances where honeybees have been exposed to these materials, at times with catastrophic impacts. In an effort to limit these exposures, the IDOA is hoping to increase communication between the pesticide user community and the state's beekeepers.
Pesticide applicators can gain contact and locational information related to Illinois' beekeepers as well various pesticide-sensitive crops. An Illinois-specific internet site has been constructed Illinois DriftWatch™. The internet site includes two main portals, one for pesticide-sensitive crop producers (including beekeepers) and another for pesticide applicators. The producer portal allows producers to register the types and locations of their pesticide-sensitive crops so that they can be viewed by potential pesticide applicators. The pesticide applicator portal allows applicators to register their service area which, in turn, will allow them to receive automatic notifications when pesticide-sensitive crop locations are added to the areas in which they work.
The Department has added the locations of many apiaries registered with the Department to the database and is promoting the use of the internet site to pesticide applicators at our Pesticide Safety Education Program clinics being held throughout the state from December through May. We are also working with our Marketing Bureau to help promote the use of the program by pesticide-sensitive crop producers.
For information regarding the Bees and Apiaries Program, feel free to contact the Illinois Department of Agriculture at 217/782-6297.