Climate-Smart Agriculture and Cold Storage Practices: Exploring Sustainable Solutions for Honey Bee Conservation

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2024: $29,475.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2025
Grant Recipient: Gingrich Apiaries, LLC
Region: Northeast
State: Pennsylvania
Project Leader:
Mark Gingrich
Gingrich Apiaries, LLC


  • Animals: bees
  • Animal Products: honey


  • Animal Production: animal protection and health
  • Crop Production: beekeeping

    Proposal summary:

    Honey bee colony losses are
    regularly at unsustainable levels in PA and nationally. Winter is
    the most vulnerable time for colonies, as floral resources are
    not available and temperatures fluctuate, so indoor storage in
    temperature/humidity-controlled units can greatly benefit
    beekeepers. Placement of bees into these units shields colonies
    from temperature fluctuations. In addition, placement of colonies
    into units early in fall can prevent the stress of being robbed
    of food by yellow jackets. Here, we propose to move bees into
    overwintering storage units in early October for the winter, a
    comparison to work we are currently conducting (SARE Grant
    FNE23-050) with colonies moved into storage in mid-November. In
    addition, the units will be used during the warm months to
    control equipment pests, wax moths and small hive beetles, making
    the units more economically valuable. In an effort to teach
    beekeepers about the utility of cold storage in beekeeping, a
    fact sheet will be created and published through Penn State
    Extension where it will be available online for no cost. In
    addition, each participant will hold an on-farm demonstration to
    showcase the usefulness of the cold storage units.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Developing Climate-Controlled
    Storage techniques of honey Bee Colonies utilizing Climate Smart
    Agriculture concepts to establish practices that will help
    Pennsylvania Beekeepers transition to more sustainable, climate
    change-proof management tactics. 

    We will build on the research and
    findings discovered through research and data collected from SARE
    Grant FNE23-050. That funding has highlighted areas where
    additional research and study is warranted in evaluating the
    benefits of using cold storage techniques at the four already
    established locations across Pennsylvania. This multifaceted
    project aims to strengthen Pennsylvania's beekeeping and advance
    sustainable practices.

    1. We will replicate portions of
      FNE23-050, but with an earlier storage date to shield bees from
      robbers and other pests.
    2. We will assess the
      effectiveness of the cold storage to safeguard hive equipment
      from pests and the usefulness of the unit in spring and
    3. We will create a fact sheet
      about the use of cold storage for beekeeping in PA to empower
      beekeepers with greater control over their operations, offering
      valuable insights and guidance.
    4. We will host on-farm
      demonstrations, showcasing the benefits and small-scale
      viability of cold storage for beekeeping.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.