I am a hobby beekeeper. Right now I maintain 12 hives, but I'm thinking of expanding to 20. My husband actually started with the honeybees before we got married, for pollination of the home garden. I took over management of the hives when he no longer had time to take care of them. I use Integrated Pest Management to help my bees deal with pests, but I primarily use sturdy hygenic bees and mechanical means to control the mites my bees get exposed to. I haven't used hard chemicals in my hives since 1999, primarily fogged mineral oil on an occasional basis for the mites, and I don't believe in using antibiotics for any disease. However, if by chance they contract a serious pest, I will consider using one of the harder legal chemicals approved for use on honeybees. My hives have remained strong and healthy with this management routine. I produce both extracted and comb honey with my hives, and I'm going to try collecting pollen for sale for the first time in 2007. My honeybees have access to a wide variety of trees, flowers, weeds, and vegetables throughout the year as we live out in the middle of the country in a farming county.
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