Mark invited me to comment on putting restrictions on inspections. You all need to know that Inspectors are under very strict rules that prevent them from telling other, privately or publically, information that they get as part of their position as inspectors with the NYS Dept. of Ag. and Markets.
Three years ago, I think, I got a call from an inspector I had never heard of that he wanted to inspect some of my yards. He called our honey house in the evening...when we are not normally there, and left a message. I called back the next day, and the phone rang repeatly with no answering machine. Knowing Dept. policy was 'no contact, no inspection', I felt I had fulfilled my obligation and forgot the matter.
At the time I was following a recommendation by the USDA foulbrood guru that we try ceasing terramyacin treatment...yard by yard.
Several days later I was surprised to receive a notice that, contrary to NYS Inspection Guidelines, said inspector had gone into one of my yards without my consent and found AFB. I did two things (1) called Mungari, the guy in charge, and complained and (2) inspected the hive in question.
Mungari apologized, said it would not happen again, etc. The hive in question was in one of the two yards that I had gone 'cold turkey' on the year before. No AFB in that year, but now it was clearly there. (I subsequently found out that it is normal for AFB to only show the 2nd year after stopping Terra. treatment.) It did, in fact, have AFB as did another hive in the yard (which the inspector had missed). The law is that the beekeeper is not to move the hives until the diagnosis is confirmed by a lab test (STUPID LAW). But I immediately moved both hives to a location where they were both burned.
Now...Mungari had promised me that there would be no more inspections until I had been contacted and agreed, and understood that since my hives were supered for the flow that I would not agree until fall, when I had pulled honey supers. He put that in writing.
Said inspector, and note that I am not using his name, either decided to ignore Mungari's instructions or never received those instructions, and proceeded to sneak into several more of my yards. (In one instance he presumably told the owners of the property he had my permission!) In one yard he 'thought' he saw lots more AFB and proceeded to mark the equipment with a permendent marker. With the same marker he also made notes about swarm cells, state of the queen, etc.
I was furious. I found that he also left off excluders, put the queen above the excluder in at least one hive, etc. In addition, I could not find any AFB. Mungari was full of apologies and sounded very upset his instructions were not followed. THE AFB LAB TESTS CAME BACK 'NO DISEASE'. I was left with (1) a significant honey loss due to hive disturbance and (2) lots of equipment with inappropriate markings.
I take pride in my hive appearances, and this marked stuff is still around, and will be until I bring it in for repainting!
Others have had similar problems with this inspector. We (beekeepers in the area) do talk to each other and the word gets around. At least 2 others have also complained to Mungari, but the guy still has a job!
So, as Mark says, we can say put limitations on Inspection and as long as this guy is around I have said 'no inspections' in my yards. And I know others who have done the same.
Unfortunately, this is not the end of the story. I got this Inspector in difficulty with Mungari. In apparent retaliation he has been bad-mouthing me to all who mention my name. This past year he made the mistake of doing so to a member of the NYS Advisory Council, who reported him to Mungari (and later told me he did so). Did Mungari see this as a Conflict of Interest?
Who, in their right mind, would want inspections when guys like this are allowed to run loose?
Lloyd Spear, Owner of Ross Rounds, Inc. Manufacturers of round section comb equipment and Sundance Pollen Traps.