Although beekeeping has a long history in the the Northwest, it holds some unique challenges. East of the Cascade Mountain Range, our winters tend to be long, cold and windy, with high summer temperatures. West of the Cascade Mountains, temperatures are less extreme, but we endure long wet winters with little available forage until late spring. In both cases, our bees have to pack a lot of colony increase and food storage into a short period.
Northwest commercial beekeepers generally take their bees south in winter to pollinate the northern California almond groves and other crops. This works out well for them. They escape winter months while earning pollination fees. But the large majority of Northwest beekeepers don't have this option, so they have to stick it out.
To help their bees survive the cool spring, Northwest beekeepers often resort to supplemental feeding. West of the Cascades, we tend to experience more diseases associated with a wet cool climate, such as Chalkbrood, and Nosema Apis. Moisture build-up in winter and spring can be a significant problem, but there are ventilation techniques to reduce the moisture. In the colder eastern climate, where moisture is less of a problem, beekeepers focus on keeping their bees warm enough with wind breaks, hive wraps and other techniques.
Visit our Gladstone store:
17845 SE 82nd Drive,
Gladstone, Oregon 97027
Or call us: 503-657-5399