Last month we talked to the Centre County Beekeepers and they helped us to locate our 17th feral colony in the State College area. Thank you to all for your support, we are very excited!
After our talk on the biology of feral bees, we took a small survey and we would like to share with you the results of the survey. Many beekeepers had significant annual losses last year. This is not surprising since Pennsylvania was one of the hardest hit states for the winter of 2016-2017, with annual colony losses recorded at 60.6% according to BIP report. Only Oklahoma (63.4%), Illinois (62.4%), Iowa (61.4%), Delaware (61%) and Maryland (60.9%) had higher recorded losses. We also found out that commercial packages from southern states is the most common source of bees and that the most common times to apply mite treatments is during the fall. The three most common treatments were oxalic acid, Apivar, and Apiguard.
participant bee in our summer study
Keeping bees is a challenge and losing some, or even all, of your colonies is not uncommon these days. Beekeepers are having to replenish empty hives every spring with new packages or local nucleus colonies and it can be expensive after several years of continual losses. There are many factors contributing to their decline and it can be unpredictable. Varroa mites are considered to be one of the largest problems in honey bee health. There is ample research on various mite management methods including hygienic genetic stocks, chemical treatments and non-chemical methods such as drone comb removal and screen bottom boards. This summer we have begun a project that focuses on implementing a seasonal IPM management strategy to reduce mite populations and increase our overwinter colony survival. Stay tuned for our results!