Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Beekeepers Pollinating Agricultural Crops elearning modules
Module 5: Best Management Practices For Colony Management
Successful beekeepers employ practices that are tested and proven to be profitable. What are these Practices?
The answer to that question falls into 5 categories: Exert your energy & use resources wisely. Practice judicious methods. Monitor colony strength. Manage stock. Water availability. Lets explore each one.
i.e., prioritize and economize your moves! Resource Management Invest time, money and energy on your healthy colonies.
Use good judgment in all you do. Also, maintain a reserve of colonies; dont commit all colonies to contract. Judicious Methods
Rule of thumb: Cull weak colonies. Monitor How much time and effort should I use on weak or sick colonies?
Use diagnostic services for objective colony assessment. Monitor
Check frames of brood for intended strength to coincide with almond bloom. Monitor
Be mindful of colony placement to minimize stress. Monitor True or False: Combine weak colonies with much stronger ones to help the weak survive.
False! Although it may seem counter-intuitive, Do not combine weak collapsing colonies with healthy colonies. Monitor Next, lets discuss the management of our stock.
From here, it may seem complicated! Not Really!
Maintain genetic quality to meet your objectives. Managing Stock What exactly does this entail?
Maintain stocks that are productive and disease & pest resistant. Managing Stock Encourage high drone densities to provide well-mated queens & genetically diverse colonies. Discourage stocks that are excessively defensive. Select stock by propagating colonies that prosper when other colonies exhibit symptoms of stress.
Requeen colonies, at least annually. Managing Stock True or False: Package bees arent a particularly effective method of managing stock.
False! Package bees typically exhibit low Varroa and virus levels during the year following installation. Consider making increases by shaking package bees from your own colonies. Managing Stock
Consider water access when transporting colonies and when placing colonies in the orchard. Water Dude! Hose me!
Work towards strong eight-frame colonies for almond pollination by February 1 st. The Beekeepers Goal 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!
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