The Department of Agriculture has been ordered to halt its honey bee inspections, and a court has ordered the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate, following a ruling that found the state was guilty of violating the U-N-Peace treaty.
Beekeepers, conservationists, and other beekeepers have accused the state of failing to take steps to prevent the colonies from becoming contaminated with the deadly Varroa mite.
Beekeeper Mark J. Murgatroyd of the Maryland Apiary Association says the new directive is “completely unacceptable.”
In March, the USDA announced it would cease bee inspections for the first time in four decades.
Mungratroyd says beekeepers should not have to worry about finding their colonies contaminated with mites because the state has put up a fence, and the USDA has been using its resources to keep the bees away from those areas.
Mergatroys attorney, John D. Pascale, says the order is “an outrageous and unnecessary intrusion into the beekeeping business.”
“It’s absolutely ridiculous that we would have to stop inspections at all if the beekeepers weren’t in a position to do it,” Murgar says.
“They’re being told to get out of the business and they’re being given no information about what the rules are, no guidance about what’s going on.”
Murga says the state’s decision to close beekeeping was “unconstitutional and an abuse of power” and that it was unfair to beekeepers and their customers.
“We can’t get the bees back to our farms,” Merga says.
Migratory beekeepers say they’re not going anywhere.
The Maryland Apiarist Association is calling for an international court of justice to rule that the state is guilty of illegal importation of honey.
Moulton says that while the bees are being destroyed, there’s no harm to the environment because the U.-N-peace treaty stipulates that honey must be imported from non-contaminated regions.
“The only thing that’s going to benefit bees is the honey, and we can’t be dependent on honey imports,” Moultons attorney, David R. Peczner, says.
The U.N.-Peace treaty was signed by the United States and 17 other nations in 1973.
Molloy says the bee colonies have already suffered, and that’s why he supports the new rule.
“This is the only way to stop the bee population from going down,” he says.