Overwintering Survival of Kentucky Honeybees
The important role honeybees play in agriculture is known to most fruit and vegetable growers who require bees for pollination. However, the unfavorable economics of beekeeping leads some apiarists in the northern United States and Canada to kill their hives each year instead of trying to overwinter them.
Most beekeepers in Kentucky do not insulate their hives and lose approximately 45 percent of their bees during the winter months. The goal of this project is to develop a sustainable system that allows the hives to survive through the winter.
The producer feels that small actions taken by the apiarist will reduce the current winter kill numbers and improve the overall strength of the colony going into the spring season. In the project he will look at two management practices that can easily be implemented by an apiarist. He plans to determine if insulating bee hives will increase overwintering survivability and to utilize a solar apparatus designed to vaporize menthol pellets in the winter. He will also administer the approved menthol treatment for tracheal mites in a way designed to combat hive losses due to them.