The Maryland Department of Agriculture is responsible for leasing out commercial colonies to states all over the U.S. Hives travel from Maryland as far as California to help pollinate the crops that are, in turn, shipped across the country.
Before a hive can cross state lines, it must be certified as being free of "foulbrood," a deadly bacteria. That job goes to Cybil Preston, the chief apiary inspector.
Foulbrood has no effect on humans, but it can transfer quickly from one hive to another. An outbreak can be devastating.