Are you wondering what management practice is best for beekeeping? If YES, here are 10 best management practices for beekeeping in 2021. The pollination service honey bees offer is very crucial for a healthy food system, and the sustenance of the agricultural industry is at risk once these crucial pollinators are not functioning. Therefore, everyone is expected to work together to control honey bees in a way that protects them from pests, pathogens, and environmental factors.
Note that stakeholders like beekeepers, bee brokers, growers, farm managers, pest control advisors, applicators, regulators at all levels, and researchers are all expected to follow the same guidelines to make sure honey bees can continue to render their lifelong services to our environment.
Owing to that, certain management practices have been established by different stakeholders and organizations eager to protect and utilize the honey bee in the most efficient way possible. Best Management Practice (BMPs) for beekeeping is a practice, or suite of practices, determined to be the most essential and effective means to reach the desired objective.
Beekeepers and growers alike all share the same objective—to boost the health and vitality of honey bee colonies while improving crop production. Note that beekeepers who practice good beehive management report high yields every year. Their honeybee colonies give them sustainable value for their beekeeping.
The importance of good beehive management practices is witnessed in both hobbyist and business beekeeping operations. They both need extensive observation, control, and maintenance of the beehives. Even conservation beekeepers will have to practice proper beehive management to attain the best results in their beekeeping.
Since well managed beehives are safe for honeybees and provide the best conditions for the thriving of the honeybees, it is ideal you practice these best management practices outlined below to keep the hive’s micro-climate at optimum for the best production and continuity of the colony.
What is the Best Management Practice for Beekeeping in 2021?
Table of Content
- Disease, Pest and Parasite Control
- Keep Apiary Records
- Adequate Inspection and Investigation
- Communicate With Neighbours
- Temperature Control
- Follow all Laws and Regulations
- Carefully Choose the Location of Hives
- Feeding Sugar Syrup and Pollen Patties
- Timely Harvesting Beehive Products
- Commit to Lifelong Learning
Disease, Pest and Parasite Control
It is advisable you take quick action to control diseases, pests, or parasites in the hive. Note that different diseases are treated using different methods and compounds. Make your research and always use the most effective method at your disposal.
Have it in mind that hanging on for some solutions to be available at a later time offers the disease more time to further damage and affect the honeybee colony. In addition, address the pest or parasite problem you find in the beehive. Always leverage the most appropriate, effective, and readily available method.
Keep Apiary Records
Beekeepers are always advised to keep and maintain a record system of their hives, apiaries, locations, and seasons. Items to record involve:
- Colony temperament
- Queen “rightness”
- Diseases and pests
- Honey production
- Management actions performed
Have it in mind there are paper checklists and online tools available to help you do this. You should also consider individually marking your hives and equipment and maintaining photographic evidence of apiary health all through the year. Notably, if anything should happen, such as a pesticide kill, vandalism, or theft, photographic evidence could prove very useful.
Adequate Inspection and Investigation
If your beehive gets stressed and the cause of stress in the hive is not immediately or easily found by observation, then an inspection of the beehive is the next paramount step. Note that extensive investigation helps you to find out the cause of stress in the beehive so that you adequately address it.
Have it in mind that your failure in locating the main cause of stress can instigate more disturbing issue, and also affect your ability to deal with the stress. When carrying out your beehive inspection, ensure to be quick so that you reduce the further aggravation of the bees.
Communicate With Neighbours
If your colonies are in a populated area, ensuring adequate communication with neighbors is very vital. A good number of people are afraid of bee stings, more especially if they or their children are often outside. Nonetheless, good and adequate communication includes:
- Listening to neighbors’ concerns and replying to their questions.
- Inviting them to see your hives and properly educating them about honey bees to help reduce their fears.
- Knowing the convenient times when you can check hives when neighbors will not be outside.
- Asking them to let you know when they are having backyard gatherings, barbeques, birthday parties, lawn maintenance, or other outdoor activities so you can avoid hive activity.
- Giving them some honey.
You have to understand that honeybees are stressed by temperatures outside their normal ranges. They are known to keep the beehive at 350C at all times. In winter, the ambient temperature outside the hive drops and instigates the bees to cluster together.
Note that they cannot go out foraging and expend a lot of energy keeping the hive warm. In summer, honeybees are faced with the issue of the hive becoming too hot. They are known to cool the beehive using water and by pushing air into the beehive.
Have it in mind that situations involving out-of-range temperatures are very stressful for bees. As a beekeeper, it is your duty to help reduce the occurrence, or level to which these problems occur in the hive. In summer, preparing a shade over the beehive for some part of the day when it is hottest will aid to limit the problem of overheated beehives. In winter, it is advisable that you wrap the beehive with an insulating material to help conserve the heat inside the beehive.
Follow all Laws and Regulations
In the United States, beekeepers are expected to comply with all homeowner associations, local, state, and federal ordinances, regulations, and laws about beekeeping. Note that state laws and local regulations have the biggest impact on beekeepers.
Almost every state in the US have an apiary law that covers issues pertaining to inspection for honey bee diseases, registration, bee movement and entry regulations, permits and certificates, quarantines, and approved methods of handling diseased colonies.
Also note that some states have a fee associated with registration and inspection, though a good number of beekeepers with a small number of backyard colonies are not included. In addition, few states institute special legislation for commercial Beekeepers concerning property taxation and Right-to-farm or explicitly classifying beekeeping Operations as livestock farming.
Carefully Choose the Location of Hives
According to experts, you always have to be careful when picking the location of your beehives and apiaries. You are advised to consider exposure to the elements, forage and water availability, access by predators and straying people, overall location security, and wind speeds among other factors.
Feeding Sugar Syrup and Pollen Patties
Note that you will have to feed your honeybee colony, especially if you feel there is a need to. It is ideal to wait to see that the hive is in need of feeding. Honeybee colonies often need feeding any time from late winter to early spring. Always ensure you are ready, in case you need to feed some or all your honeybee colonies. In addition, always ensure that honeybee colonies entering winter have enough stocks of honey to last them through winter.
Timely Harvesting Beehive Products
Always remember that comfortable hives will swarm. Accumulation of honey is a necessary factor contributing to swarming. However, if you do not want honeybee swarming to occur, it is imperative you harvest both honey and beeswax from your hives. According to experts, this helps to keep the hives occupied with drawing comb and producing honey to fill up available space. It also restricts swarming and offers you maximum yields from each beehive.
Commit to Lifelong Learning
This is one of the most critical steps in responsible beekeeping. All beekeepers are expected to have a solid understanding of honey bee biology and basic beekeeping processes. They are also expected to remain current on matters pertaining to colony health and management and also stay current on recommended changes in Beekeeping practices. However, note there are many ways to learn.