Delaware announces new state apiarist

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Dover – The Delaware Department of Agriculture announced today that they have hired a new State Apiarist, Meghan McConnell, a native of Millville, NJ. In her position, Meghan will be inspecting bee colonies, conducting 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, Meghan will also 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 (

Meghan is a 2012 graduate of the University of Maryland (UMD) with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science & Technology. Meghan is currently finishing her Master of Science in Entomology at the University of Maryland under Dr. Dennis van Engelsdorp. Her research targets the parasitic mite Varroa in honey bees, specifically non-chemical controls and horizontal transfer. In 2016, Meghan was recognized by the American Beekeeping Federation as a Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees scholar.

Prior to returning to school for her graduate degree, Meghan interned with the USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, for 10 months working with invasive plant species, submerged aquatic vegetation and pollinators. She also worked for a short time at the University of Maryland, Institute of Applied Agriculture as an Undergraduate Technology Apprentice.

In 2012, Meghan joined the Bee Informed Partnership (BIP) at the University of Maryland. She was part of the Real Time Disease Load Monitoring project that surveyed colonies for bee health, Nosema and Varroa levels in backyard, sideline, and commercial beekeeper apiaries. With the Bee Informed Partnership, Meghan gained practical beekeeping experience while working with colonies in all types of operations, including the UMD apiaries.

Following the completion of her graduate program, Meghan will begin full-time as Delaware’s State Apiarist in June 2017.


Media Contact: Stacey Hofmann, 302-698-4542,

‘Pollinators for Clean Water’ presentations Feb. 6 and March 20 at Seaford Library as part of Reclaim Our River Program

SEAFORD – The DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship’s Reclaim Our River (ROR) program, in partnership with the Delaware Nature Society and the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance, will host two free presentations on pollinators and gardening for clean water at the Seaford Library Feb. 6 and March 20. Both presentations start at 6 p.m. at the library located at 600 N. Market Street Extended, Seaford, DE 19973.

The presentations will address how, over the last 20 years, the monarch butterfly population worldwide has declined by 90 percent – a critical environmental loss since plants depend on pollinators such as butterflies to reproduce. They also will focus on how pollinators enable flowering plants to help purify water and prevent erosion through roots that hold the soil in place and foliage that buffers the impact of rain as it falls to the earth.

All who attend and participate will receive free milkweed seeds along with information on activities that support clean water by ROR partnership members. Attendees also will learn about this year’s 2017 ROR-Nanticoke Series which again offer numerous opportunities to have fun around the water and learn surefire techniques for keeping our waterways clean, according to Philip Miller, DNREC Nonpoint Source Program, Division of Watershed Stewardship.

The Feb. 6 pollinator presentation will be given by Mike McFarlin, who has single-handedly raised hundreds of monarch butterflies each summer in an attempt to repopulate Delaware’s monarch population. His presentation will delve into this majestic butterfly’s migration routes and the impact humans have on their environment. Mr. McFarlin will also discuss his experiences looking for eggs, raising the monarch from eggs, feeding them, and ultimately releasing the developed butterfly.

The second presentation March 20 will be led by Alice Mohrman from the Delaware Nature Society’s Abbott’s Mill Nature Center, and will focus on gardening for clean water and butterflies. From Ms. Mohrman, participants will learn how to invite pollinators, birds and butterflies to your yard, deck, patio, or balcony. Also provided are tips on how to landscape your yard, big or small, with attractive native plants which support wildlife habitat while helping to reduce pollution in our waterways. Ms. Mohrman also will demonstrate a few easy steps toward creating a Certified Wildlife Habitat.

For more information about both presentations, please contact Alice Mohrman at 302-422-0847 or For more information on the Reclaim Our River program, please contact Philip Miller at 302-739-9939 or

The Reclaim Our River – Nanticoke Series is devoted to bringing monthly events, workshops and recreational activities to the Nanticoke Watershed. The series offers participants fun opportunities to connect with Delaware’s waterways and provides important information on water quality that can help in protecting aquatic resources.

Media Contact: Philip Miller, DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship Nonpoint Source Program, 302-739-9939; email:

Vol. 47, No. 23