Friday’s article in the WSJ illustrates some of the problems facing those of us in the pollination and honey business. This year’s losses seem to be following last years, with the dramatic weather changes and constant threats to the hives.
“We’re not worried about the bees going extinct,” said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, a bee researcher at the University of Maryland. “We’re worried about the beekeepers going extinct.”
Costs of doing business have shot up dramatically, limitations on import and export, purchasing of bees (new or replacements for lost colonies) treatment programs and on it goes. The article says that costs of maintaining hives have quadrupled in the past 15 years and large commercial beekeeping operations have lost several hundred operations. The good news is that hobby beekeeping is growing and that’s a good thing when you consider that most current beekeepers are between the ages of 50 and 60 years old, nearing retirement. Now is the time for us younger “beeks” to learn what we can from our mentors!