In response to raising concerns of honey declines across the state, the New York State Pollinator Protection Plan announced the development of the NYS Beekeeper Tech Team.
The Beekeeper Tech Team is an interdisciplinary group that works directly with beekeepers to improve honey bee health, reduce colony losses, and increase profitability of the beekeeping industry. The program began in August 2016 and is open to hobbyists, sideliners, and commercial beekeepers who operate a beekeeping business that generates $1000 in revenues each year. The Tech Team meets with participants to provide them with data from their colonies and recommendations that they can implement in their operations.
Who are the members of the Tech Team?
- Emma Walters - Senior Honey Bee Extension Associate, Cornell University
- Connor Hinsley - Honey Bee Technician, Cornell University
- Joan Mahoney - New York State's Apiculturist, NYS Dept of Agriculture and Markets
Learn more about this program
- To learn more about the NYS Beekeeper Tech Team, download the 2021 Tech Team Info Sheet.
- For an overview of the Tech Team's services, and to understand the expectations of beekeeper participants, download the 2021 Overview of Services and Expectations document.
- Download the 2021 Tech Team's Information Sharing Policy to learn how we share the data we collect.
- In accordance with state law, The Tech Team reports all cases of American foulbrood identified while sampling beekeeper's colonies. Download the 2021 AFB Reporting Policy document to learn about our protocol.
How can I enroll?
The Tech Team works with 25 - 30 beekeepers each year. The Tech Team enrolls beekeepers who have the following criteria:
- Beekeepers must maintain colonies in New York State.
- Beekeepers must generate at least $1,000 in annual revenue from beekeeping.
- Beekeepers must agree to abide by the expectations outlined in our "Overview of Services and Expectations" document, linked above.
Priority is giving to the following beekeepers:
- Those who manage 300 colonies or more. The Tech Team strives for 1/3 of participants to be commercial beekeepers.
- Those who seek help to overcome disease issues in their operation or recurring high losses
- Those who are open to adopting the Tech Team's evidence-based recommendations
- Those who keep bees in a region of New York State that has been underrepresented in the Tech Team's sampling. In 2021 we are hoping to enroll some beekeepers who are in the Hudson Valley area.
Beekeepers can remain enrolled in the program for three years. Participation in subsequent years is conditional on the beekeeper completing their annual management survey and attending their annual one-on-one meeting.
Interested in applying? Contact Emma Walters (firstname.lastname@example.org) to find out if there is availability.
How can I get more information about colony health and beekeeping if Tech Team enrollment is full?
- Video tutorials: The NYS Beekeeper Tech Team continues to add video tutorials to the Cornell Dyce Lab YouTube channel.
- Disease info sheets: Cornell University has downloadable guides available on how to diagnose and manage honey bee diseases.
- General beekeeping information: Cornell University has downloadable guides available on a variety of beekeeping topics.
- Business resources: Cornell University has downloadable business resources for anyone starting or currently operating a beekeeping business.
- Learn beekeeping practices: The Cornell University Master Beekeeping Program is a series of courses that equips beekeepers with the knowledge and skills to keep colonies healthy and productive. The prerequisite for this course is having at least three years of beekeeping experience.
Financial Analysis and Business Benchmarking (FABB) for Beekeepers [Not offered in 2021]
The Tech Team believes beekeepers can make better management decisions if they understand the financial position of their business.
Beekeepers who enroll in this program receive one-on-one support from our Agricultural Economist to clarify business goals and develop a complete set of financial statements. This process supports a detailed analysis of production costs, profitability and owner equity. As a result, participants will be better able to evaluate opportunities for business growth or transition.
Information received from FABB participants is completely confidential. Financial data collected from beekeepers will be used to create benchmarks, or standards for comparison, for beekeeping businesses in New York State. These benchmarks will assist beekeepers in evaluating the performance of their own operations, compared to the typical performance of similar operations.
Bee Club Presentation: Turning your Hobby into a Business
We offer business development presentations for groups of hobbyist beekeepers interested in selling honey or other apiary products. [This presentation is not available in 2021.]
The NYS Beekeeper Tech Team is funded by the Environmental Protection Fund as part of the NYS Pollinator Protection Plan
Download Past Tech Team Reports