Best Management Practices for Honey Bee Colonies
Successful beekeepers employ practices that are tested and proved to be profitable.
Exert you energy wisely
- Invest time, money and energy on your healthy colonies.
Practice judicious methods
- Maintain a reserve; don't commit all your colonies to contract.
Monitor colony strength
- Cull weak colonies.
- Use diagnostic services for objective colony assessment.
- Check frames of brood for intended strength to coincide with almond bloom.
- Be mindful of colony placement to minimize stress.
- Do not combine weak collapsing colonies with healthy colonies.
- Maintain genetic quality to meet your objectives:
o Maintain stocks that are productive and disease and pest resistant.
o Encourage high drone densities to provide well-mated queens and genetically diverse colonies.
o Discourage stocks that are excessively defensive.
o Select stock by propagating colonies that prosper when other colonies exhibit symptoms of stress.
- Requeen colonies, at least annually.
- Package bees typically exhibit low Varroa and virus levels during the year following installation. Consider making colony increases by shaking bees from your own colonies.
- Consider water access when transporting colonies and when placing colonies in the orchard.
The Beekeeper's Goal
- Work towards strong 8-frame colonies for almond pollination by Feb. 1st.
- Invest your energy in the expectation of future returns and benefits.
- Use discretion to avoid waste.
- Employ genetics, diagnostic services and placement of hives to ensure healthy colonies.