>>Most people I know agree that there should be a threshold. I think 
it's 50 in Maine; to me that seems fair. That certainly would broaden 
the pool and bring in some qualified people. 

And bring in inspectors into areas that don't have any inspectors at 
this time!  An inspector need not be a dictator except in cases where 
there are governing laws such mandatory eradication of foulbrood.  
There are a lot of new beekeepers out there who could greatly benefit 
from an experienced beekeeper's visit to offer 

When I was a new beekeeper, I did not feel right about asking an 
experienced beekeeper to travel 20 miles to give me his opinion about 
my hives.  On the other hand, my (now retired) inspector took his 
time to advise and let me know how other people manage their hives.  
This was certainly very helpful to me in the early days.  And in the 
early days, I kept bees in an area that had made it illegal to 
keep 'bees, swine' etc.!

To me, asking an inspector not to own hives is like asking my 
mechanic not to own a car.  If the state feels there could be a 
conflict of interest, it should provide a vehicle to appeal or 
provide feedback on inspection services to registered beekeepers.

Long Island, NY (currently w/o an inspector) 

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