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Pennsylvania beekeepers combatting varroa mites

Pennsylvania beekeepers combatting varroa mites

By Blake Jackson

While the number of bee colonies nationwide is on the rise, beekeeping has become more complex due to environmental threats. Factors like climate change, reduced native plants, and dwindling foraging space make it harder for bees to thrive.

Despite these challenges, beekeepers in Pennsylvania are seeing some positive signs. Colony losses have decreased in recent years, with some beekeepers like Joe Zgurzynski experiencing minimal winter losses. Zgurzynski credits his success to intensive management practices, including controlling Varroa mites, a parasitic threat to bee health.

However, beekeeping remains labor-intensive. Unlike the past where hives required minimal intervention, beekeepers now need to check on them frequently, provide supplemental food sources due to shorter blooming seasons, and actively manage pest and disease issues.

The good news is that resources are available to help beekeepers in Pennsylvania. The Penn State Extension offers educational programs like "Beekeeping 102" to promote organic beekeeping methods and effective mite control.

Looking ahead, conservation efforts are crucial for both honeybees and native bee populations. Avoiding pesticides and providing natural habitats through practices like leaving plant stems and leaves over winter are simple yet impactful ways to support pollinators.

While challenges remain, beekeepers in Pennsylvania are adapting and adopting new practices. With continued education, innovation, and habitat preservation, the future for bees in the state might just be buzzing with positivity.

Photo Credit: pexels-pixabay

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Categories: Pennsylvania, General

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