Keep out predators
Bears, skunks and other predators are attracted to the honey in a hive, and they may destroy hives or stress out the bees with threats and attacks, lowering productivity.
Some experts warn that once a predator finds a hive, there may be no effective way to keep them away, and it may be necessary to move the hive.
Other pests are less obvious. Mites and other invasive insects can infiltrate hives and kill off bees. Essential oils and other mild chemicals can target destructive mites.
On the other hand, bees are sensitive to pesticides. There are pesticides for some mites and other pests, but obvious care must be taken with pesticides around bee colonies.
Try to avoid pesticides during blooming periods, as bees tend to visit blossoms. If necessary, apply pesticides when the air is calm and bee activity is minimal, such as in the evening or early night hours.
Grow the right plants
Some of the lack of productivity among rural French bees can be traced to monoculture crops and pesticide use in many farming areas. A successful bee colony needs a wide variety of the right plants for making honey. The best plants may vary by region. Consult a local beekeepers’ group for recommendations.
Keep in mind that some popular flowers have been cultivated for showy, bright color with little pollen or nectar. Also don’t worry so much about weeds, especially flowering varieties. Dandelions may mar your perfect lawn, but bees love them.
The right timing
It is also important to stimulate production and harvest honey in ways that ensure peak colony strength at the same time that your main flowers are starting to bloom and produce nectar.
Bees naturally tend to wait until the nectar is in full flow before increasing their population, but this only produces enough honey for the hive, not a surplus for human consumption.