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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Invasive Species and Pollinator Health » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #374621

Research Project: Longitudinal Studies to Determine the Causes of Honey Bee Loss

Location: Invasive Species and Pollinator Health

Title: Integrated Hive Management for Colorado Beekeepers: Strategies for identifying and mitigating pests and diseases affecting Colorado’s honey bees

item Seshadri, Arathi
item WALKER, THIA - Colorado State University

Submitted to: Extension Publications
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/20/2019
Publication Date: 1/25/2020
Citation: Seshadri, A.H., Walker, T. 2020. Integrated Hive Management for Colorado Beekeepers: Strategies for identifying and mitigating pests and diseases affecting Colorado’s honey bees. Colorado State University CEPEP. Available:

Interpretive Summary: The Integrated Hive Management Book although titled as being for Colorado Beekeepers, is a resource that benefits all beekeepers across the US. Here we summarize how to set up and manage hives. Using pictures, we show what a healthy hive should have and also indicate what diseases and pests can do to hives. We provide management guidelines for every step of colony growth. The disease and pest calendar is relevant for Colorado but the resources provided in the manual leads the reader to timelines specific to the respective state where their activities are taking place. This manual is a valuable resource for all beekeepers.

Technical Abstract: An Integrated Hive Management (IHM) program controls pests and disease by using a combination of strategies designed to be safe, effective and economical. Many IHM practices are easy to apply and are designed to manage, but not necessarily eliminate honey bee pests. The first step in an IHM program requires taking the time to familiarize yourself with the bees, the colony, and the pests. Education, monitoring, prevention, and intervention are steps in the IHM continuum (detailed below). IHM intervention strategies draw from the following categories; cultural, mechanical, biological, and/or chemical controls. An effective IHM program also includes continuous evaluation and planning steps so that adjustments can be made as necessary to ensure the success of the program. Using IHM helps beekeepers to move from a series of often disconnected acts, to an organized system of pest management that is always in search of new ways to support healthy colonies while reducing the use of chemicals. IHM requires beekeepers to evaluate each management decision in terms of its impact on the health of their bees. IHM can help beekeepers achieve their pest management goals in the least invasive manner possible by drawing on all the strategies. IHM strategies emphasize optimal use of chemicals when necessary as part of the IHM plan. When properly applied, the use of chemicals should ensure there are minimal risks of residues in the honey and combs, or the development of pest resistance. IHM will not mean the same thing for all beekeepers. Some techniques are compatible with small to mid-sized operations, but not with larger operations. Different beekeepers will adopt different IHM programs, which are flexible by design, allowing beekeepers to customize their programs to achieve optimal results.