|Hive Management BMP|
Best Management Practices for Hive Equipment
A well-maintained and hygienic apiary can translate into a successful beekeeping operation.
Why practice diligent hive maintenance?
Beekeepers agree that the most important piece of equipment in the apiary is the beehive, the home of the honey bee.
- Proper maintenance extends the life of the hive.
o Check apiary for hive condition.
o Inspect for rotten, loose or broken boards and frames.
o Reconstruct, tighten or replace frame parts.
o Paint supers with light colors to beat summer heat.
o Take advantage of the winter months to do maintenance and prepare for the new season.
- Check bee attire.
o Repair clothes, veil, gloves and bodysuit.
- Inspect your essential two (2) pieces of equipment.
o Smoker and the hive or "universal" tool.
- Maintain yard equipment.
o Inspect and repair trucks, trailers, loaders and forklifts.
o Repair bunkhouses, if applicable.
o Eliminate trash in the apiary.
o Practice fire safety when the bee smoker is in use.
- Practice good hygiene with hands, gloves, and other equipment to reduce transmission of pathogens between colonies.
o Replace comb with new foundation to minimize residual chemicals in old wax.
o Develop a comb replacement schedule.
o Purchase equipment only if it has a history of clean health.
- Be aware that the probability of hive theft has increased with the increased value of pollinating crops.
o Keep equipment simple to identify.
o ID hives with a brand or name.
o Secure a signed contract when entering into a "wintering deal".
o Practice discretion when showing where your yards are located.
The Beekeeper's Goal
- Keep your equipment in good condition.
- Good maintenance prolongs the life of hive parts, clothing, vehicles, and other equipment.
- Good hygiene reduces the incidences of pests and diseases.
- Hive security can minimize economic losses.