The Delaware Department of Agriculture recently announced that they hired a new state apiarist, Meghan McConnell, a native of Millville, New Jersey.

In her position, McConnell will inspect bee colonies and conduct surveys for the presence of honey bee parasites and is responsible for securing samples of suspect colonies to determine suitable measures to control and/or eradicate disease. The state apiarist supervises the colony registration program and certifies honey bee colonies that enter or exit the state.

While the Delaware State Apiarist’s main concern is monitoring honey bee health, McConnell also will participate in pest management practices. This includes surveying for undesirable races of honeybees by installing and monitoring swarm traps targeted toward Africanized honey bees. She is responsible for upholding regulatory measures supporting the Delaware apiary laws.

McConnell is a 2012 graduate of the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and technology. McConnell is currently finishing her Master of Science in entomology at the University of Maryland. Her research targets the parasitic mite Varroa in honey bees, specifically nonchemical controls and horizontal transfer. In 2016, McConnell was recognized by the American Beekeeping Federation as a Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees scholar.

Following the completion of her graduate program, McConnell will begin full-time as Delaware’s state apiarist in June.