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Beekeeper or Bee-haver

LongIsland.com

Beekeepers or bee-havers. Which are you? Do you keep the bees by looking after their well-being or do you just keep them if they survive? Years ago there were a lot of bee-havers who did ...

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Beekeepers or bee-havers. Which are you? Do you keep the bees by looking after their well-being or do you just keep them if they survive? Years ago there were a lot of bee-havers who did fine and produced a good crop of honey without knowing too much about the bees, their pests, or diseases. Those days are past because of mites, the infective longevity of the disease American Foulbrood, and now resistance to the drugs we have had to fight them.

This newsletter cannot cover the complexities of the pests and diseases of honeybees. This is the most studied insect in the world and we are still having disagreements in the scientific community on their communication, navigation, and 'natural' requirements. We can cover some of the highlights in the newsletter, provide additional detail through meeting presentations, and demonstrate hands-on application in the bee yard. But to be responsible in the care of your bees today will require some additional study through magazines, books, or classes.

We are very fortunate in the United States to have abundant opportunity to get information on honeybees. Over a hundred years ago, there were a number of beekeeping magazines established, some of which have survived to this day. Two that every beekeeper should consider subscribing to are "American Bee Culture" and "Bee Culture". Through these magazines, good practices, new information, and evaluations and recommendations for books on beekeeping can be found.

Our country was established with agriculture as a basis for growth before the industrial revolution. The industrial revolution also affected agriculture so that modern machines allowed the farmers, as a decreasing population, to continue to feed the growing populations of the cities. To support this foundation of food, our government established Land Grant Universities to meet the needs of the farmers for up-to-date information. Cornell University is one of those where honeybee research and education has continued. Through Cornell and the Cornell Cooperative Extension offices, New Yorkers have access to the latest information on honeybees. This month, two courses on honeybee keeping will be given at Riverhead. These include a basic Fall Management and a more advanced Integrated Pest Management.

Beekeeping is a challenging branch of animal husbandry because of the small size of our livestock and the difficulty of tracking the health of a city rather than the individuals but without knowledge it becomes just plain frustrating. Don't be a bee-haver. Study these fascinating creatures, care for them as they deserve, and be a bee-keeper!

"American Bee Journal" is available through www.dadant.com
"Bee Culture" is available through www.airoot.com