Bee “farming” not Bee “keeping” — the distinction really matters

Managing bees can be a wonderful and enjoyable hobby, side job, or full-time job, and it often conjures images of bees foraging and our place as mere observers. The reality is that without proactive management that approaches bees as a farming like any other semi-domesticated livestock, failure is on the horizon. We would never consider just letting our sheep roam and figure out do their “own thing” knowing what is best and how to take care of themselves, yet we often expect as much from honeybees. We manage nutrition, pests, and genetics for other farmed livestock, and the bottom line is, we need to do the same thing for our bees. Here is a page of tips with a monthly “calendar” that we encourage our customers (partners) to consider, and while the calendar may be best suited towards south/central Pennsylvania, the tips can be modified and serve you well in any location. Winter survival is not luck, magic, or a special hive setup as much as it is management of pests (biggest issue), managing nutrition, and having good and health queens. The management aspect is up to the person farming the bees (not just keeping for half a year to discover them gone or dead in the fall or winter).

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