Traveling Beekeeper is enjoying some of the beauty out in
- Attend a bee school and/or work with a mentor to learn about beekeeping practices. Currently, there are opportunities for classroom instruction, field training, and mentoring provided by knowledgeable beekeepers to members of county beekeeping associations.
It seems to me that the language as written in the draft is specifically asking aspiring beekeepers to do what they are doing now: Find a club or association, take a beekeeping class from them, and join the associations to take advantage of the resources that club members make available.
- Work within the local beekeeping community to encourage queen rearing using northern adapted bees, in order to increase vitality and genetics.
- Register the location of hives with MDAR, so that they can be included on a hive map, used for contacting beekeepers in times of health concerns as well as a resource that pesticide applicators can use to mitigate pesticide exposure.
- Work with Mosquito Control Projects to be included on "No Spray" lists. Ensure that hives are visible to users/applicators by using marking flags and/or paints.
- Only use pesticides currently registered for hive use, and use them according to label instructions. Obtain a pesticide applicator license for material classified for Section 18/Emergency Exemption Use or Restricted Use.
- In the case of "Bee Kills" where pesticide use is suspected, report to MDAR promptly for investigation.
- If needed, request an annual inspection from MDAR to evaluate hive health.
Most of these items, it seems to me, are things that beekeepers are doing anyway, although that part about the pesticides is probably quite irritating for beekeepers who are successfully using oxalic acid vaporizers to treat varroa mites (oxalic acid is not currently approved in Massachusetts - or Connecticut either, for that matter, so those of us using it against mites in our hives are operating in a grey area here.)
- Participate in state and national surveys related to hive helath, so that the status of Massachusetts honey bees can be documented.
- Seek training to learn about the biology, life history, husbandry, and best management practices (BMPs) of managed bee pollinators, in order to better understand methods that avoid non-target impacts.
- Use an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to pest control, by utilizing economic thresholds for determining actions. If pesticides are required, seek products that have low toxicity, short residual toxicity, and properties that are repellent to bees.
- When possible, apply aproducts when managed bee pollinators are less actively foraging (i.e. at night) and when crops attractive to bees for floral resources are not in bloom. Apply pesticides in a manner that they do not drift off target. Do not make applications in areas adjacent to pollinator habitat when the wind is blowing in the direction of hives.