Euthanizing Honey Bees (027)

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By Growing Planet Media, LLC, Kim Flottum, and Jim Tew. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

It’s rare, very rare, but sometimes beekeepers have to kill all the bees in a colony. It can be a tragic, emotional and usually it’s an expensive experience. Or it can be a life saving act to save the lives of friends, neighbors and family. At the very least, it will render a box of dangerous or sick bees no longer dangerous or reduce the chance of spreading disease across the county. At any rate, it is painful to have to do this.

There are usually only 2 reasons this has to be done. The presence of American Foulbrood in a colony that has been identified by a governing body, with state laws in place that essentially force this is probably the most common reason, but still, this isn’t very common anymore. The second reason is that the genetics of the bees in the colony are such that aggression is extreme, and the presence of the colony causes danger for the beekeeper and/or nearby people.

The why is often clear. The how can sometimes be less clear. If possible, late night so all the foragers are home and no stragglers are left in the bee yard to harass people, or to spread disease. Closing the colony so no bees can escape, rendering it essentially leak proof, and dumping in a 2 or 3-gallon pail of hot, very soapy water is usually the method of dispatching the bees. Leaving it closed for a day is a good idea before checking.

If aggression is the issue, occasionally moving the bees to a less dangerous place is an option, though not always the best option. Vehicle, time of day and the like can be issues to work through.

When dealing with overly defensive bees, safety for the beekeeper and the beekeeper’s neighbors should always be the top concern.

In this episode, Kim & Jim discuss this extraordinary, but necessary, course of action a beekeeper may face.

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We welcome Betterbee as sponsor of today's episode. BetterBee’s mission is to support every beekeeper with excellent customer service, continued education and quality equipment. From their colorful and informative catalog to their support of beekeeper educational activities, including this podcast series, BetterBee truly is Beekeepers Serving Beekeepers. See for yourself at www.betterbee.com

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Honey Bee Obscura is brought to you by Growing Planet Media, LLC, the home of Beekeeping Today Podcast.

Music: Heart & Soul by Gyom, Walking in Paris by Studio Le Bus, original guitar music by Jeffrey Ott

Copyright © 2021 by Growing Planet Media, LLC

39 episodes