As a beekeeper you directly influence the health of your bees by offering the colony food, shelter and a safe environment.
In Europe, honey bees would nowadays hardly be able to survive without the help of a beekeeper. Unattended colonies would die after two to three years due to the effects of Varroa mite infestation and the viruses it spreads.
Nowadays, the struggle against this invasive parasite from Asia shapes much of the beekeepers' daily routine in Europe and North America. They have to make sure that their hives are healthy when winter comes, to ensure that sufficient numbers of bees survive the cold months, so a strong colony can develop the following spring.
Beekeepers and farmers have a common interest: healthy honey bees. Farmers benefit from the bees’ pollination work, and beekeepers harvest the honey. Regular discussions help both beekeepers and farmers to avoid damage to bees by agricultural practices. Beekeepers should inform the farmer on the positioning of their hives near his farmland. Also see ‘On the farm’.