The newest apiary inspector at the Maryland Department of Agriculture has four legs, golden fur and a powerful sniffer.
Mack, a 2-year-old yellow Lab, joined the team last fall to help his mom, chief apiary inspector Cybil Preston, inspect beehives for American foulbrood — AFB — a highly contagious bacterial disease that infects honeybee brood and, eventually, kills the colony.
“Maryland has a thriving beekeeping industry, and most of our beekeepers have thousands of hives that travel from state to state for pollination,” explains Preston. “It’s our job to make sure that infected hives don’t cross state lines.”
The Maryland Department of Agriculture has had a “bee dog” on staff since 1982 and is believed to be the only state agency in the nation using a dog to detect AFB.
Photo credit: Morgan McCloy/NPR