Many thanks to Alan Harman, Kim Flottum, and the Bee Culture staff for pointing me to the interesting and timely research paper discussing the value of plentiful pollen for healthy bees. “Pollen stressed youngsters die younger, are smaller and forage and dance less – all which exacerbate other problems like pesticide exposure.”
I could not agree more!
I have felt that many (if not most) hobby beekeeper’s problems are due to poor animal husbandry practices, which include poor food quantity and quality. I visit with beekeepers and wonder how their bees are finding any food when there are only well-mown lawns and trimmed fences spreading in every direction. I hear how some beekeepers remove most of the honey stores late in the season, feed a few gallons of syrup in late fall, never control mite populations and then are surprised when their bees are dead in February. We hobby beekeepers have a huge advantage over commercial beekeepers in that beekeeping is not usually our only source of income (if there is any income from the hives at all).
Live bees in the spring is the hobby beekeeper’s best reward. Dead bees don’t make honey.