Promoting Honeybee Health with Bayer’s Healthy Colony Checklist

Brian German Industry, Pollinators

Healthy Colony Checklist

With National Pollinator Week ending for 2020, the efforts to keep pollinator populations healthy will continue on. While pollinators can come in all shapes and sizes, the most valuable pollinator within the agricultural industry remains honeybees. As one of the initiatives the company has implemented to assist pollinator populations, Bayer has developed the Healthy Colony Checklist to help beekeepers maintain healthy beehives.

“The Healthy Colony Checklist was developed as a simplified process for inspecting honeybee colonies.  In the past we’ve basically opened hives and as a beginner you would be overwhelmed by what you’re seeing. You wouldn’t have a systematic way of inspecting and recording what you’re seeing,” said Dick Rogers, Entomologist and Bee Care Manager at Bayer Crop Science. “The checklist actually lays out very specifically the six things you need to look for and determine if those conditions are in a healthy state or not.”

Beekeepers can use the checklist to quickly assess the health of their hive and also keep a record of their hive’s progress to track any potential issues.  The assessment sheet asks if all stages of brood and instars are present in appropriate amounts and if there are a sufficient number of adult bees. The checklist also asks if there is a young productive laying queen present, or if there are any stressors that could present a problem.  Finally, the assessment also asks beekeepers to assure there is sufficient water, forage, and food stores available and that there is adequate space for the colony. Rogers explained there are ultimately three basic questions that need to be addressed when inspecting beehives. “Is the colony healthy? Second, if not, why isn’t it healthy? And third, if it’s not healthy, what do you need to do to fix the problem?”

The Healthy Colony Checklist is available online through the Bayer Bee Care Program.

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Brian German

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Multimedia Journalist for AgNet West