New Hopes for Pennsylvania Beekeepers

beekeepers with hive

Every year, more and more beekeepers start their activity in Pennsylvania.

Almost 1,000 new beekeepers registered their activity in 2015, adding to a total of 4,000 over the whole state of Pennsylvania.

At this moment, there are approximately 63,000 colonies of honeybees, concentrated on both southeastern and south central areas of the state.

The owners work 24/7 to tend the bees and keep them strong and alive. They take pride in their activities and feel that losing a hive of bees adds a complete failure for their professional status.

It seems that the ‘bee crisis’ that hit the state in the 1990s ended almost completely, and over the last decade things worked out for the better when it comes to beekeepers and their hives.

During the bee crisis, every single year more than 50% of the bee colonies died. The cause of this mass kill was found to be the use of herbicides and pesticides on one hand, and mites on the other.

Over the last years, the community of beekeepers learned how to deal with viruses and how to avoid the effects of chemicals.

“Some people think you can just go and put a bee hive there and collect their honey and money. It doesn’t quite work that way,” said the president of Capital Area Beekeepers Association.

Another hard fact to accept was that each year, some bees will eventually die no matter how hard one beekeeper will try to protect its hives.

When looking for honey, a bee will fly over an average of 2 miles in radius from the location of the hive. Therefore, some beekeepers started to control the location of the hives better, in order not to expose the bees to agricultural areas that are filled with chemicals.

The proximity of such large-scale artificial crops may cause the loss of approximately 30% of the bee population that pollinates the area.

One solution would be to place the hives in locations with dandelion and clover fields, which can grow naturally and with no need for pesticides.

Beekeepers learned to move the colonies to the south in order to protect them from the cold winters. They also relocate the bees in New York during the summer, following the rich sources of pollen.

Capital Area Beekeepers Association has a learning program set up for new beekeepers who are trying to keep their bees safe. The association installed several colonies on the campus of a community college. There, the most experienced beekeepers organize regular meetings for newcomers.

The beekeepers learn how to identify the types of bees, what a queen looks like, what are the working bees and how males behave, and also how to deal with in-hive diseases.

Image Source: Wikipedia