I am curious about the differences in commercial beekeepers losses vs. hobbyists and urban vs. rural beekeeping losses. It seems that commercial beekeepers lose a lot. This year my very first loss was one hive, which I am proud of since I hear about veteran beekeepers of far many years experience whom loose half of their apiary to winter losses. I attribute my success to attending bee association meetings regularly and education through WA State Beekeeping program, reading sources such as books, internet and magazine subscriptions. Also the invaluable networking with other beekeepers and/or conferences.
RESPONSE – Our survey has found the opposite – commercial beekeepers have only about one-half the overwintering losses of backyard beekeepers – and this has been consistent in the PNW surveys now for a number of years. They lose heavier during the season than the backyarder beekeepers – they are requiring/expecting more from their bees and “using” them multiple times a year (for pollination primarily but also for honey production – they need more productivity to cover their time and costs.) What is “unique” about our current losses is that an individual may do the same management; same location, etc but have heavy losses one year and lighter another. Much we still don’t understand about bees – the survey effort is designed to enable you to look over your beekeeper neighbor’s fence. Networking and well-designed training materials and programs such as OR and WA Master Beekeeper programs are helping but are no substitute for the actual doing – to learn and benefit form understanding what bees are doing. I appreciate your sharing
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