There is a lively discussion swirling around the White House strategy to protect pollinating insects and their habitats. I’d like to think that having a beehive or two in the front lawn was the impetus for this and that soon there will be more hives and local White House honey in the gift shop. Hobby beekeepers tend to get excited about bees and beekeeping even when they have tough day jobs.
Pollinating insects are getting the attention that they desperately need for their survival. More beekeepers are starting to take the 40 – 50 % losses seriously. While it is easy to sit back and say, “finally, they are doing the right thing”, I wonder who ‘they” are and if I am doing the right thing.
What amount of loss will I accept? What should I do differently to help my bees get to the spring of 2016? Am I following the recommended practices for mite control, hive placement, food availability and quality? Am I changing out old comb? Am I feeding when there is nothing in bloom? Am I using sound beekeeping methods to help my bees stay healthy? Am I saying current?
I have felt for many years that the best indicator of my beekeeping skills is how many of my hives survive the winter. Statistics show that winter losses were slightly lower this year but spring/summer losses were higher. Beekeepers following current best practices would go a long way towards reducing colony losses.