Is migration strategy a good choice for Wisconsin beekeepers?

Is migration strategy a good choice for Wisconsin beekeepers?

The bees of Nathan Clarke remain scattered across the Madison area, which is superb in spring and summer, but not that good in winter. Doug Hauke's bees are presently in Central Wisconsin just like snowbirds, but spend winter in California, Texas and other climes with higher temperatures.

Transportation of buzzing hives-packed semi trailers to points south not only saves bees quite weakened due to disease and pestilence from bad weather, but the pollination service also makes way for an independent revenue stream that can equal or outpace what a beekeeper gets from honey.

Hauke said that though the business of Clarke, Mad Urban Bees, manages to stay alive locally as a comparatively small producer, the migration strategy on a bigger scale is must for sustainable success in the tattered bee business in the state.


Hauke, owner of Hauke Honey Corp. near Marshfield, said, “You can't winter bees here because it's too cold and there are too many diseases. The guys who winter here never get ahead because they are always buying replacement bees”. It is one of the biggest pollinating and honey-producing operations statewide.

While honey production is sustaining on tiny dairy farms or pops up in cities, most of commercial beekeeping operations of Wisconsin have been talking their bees on the road for months to provide them with the warmth they need and keep them healthy. In February, they join nearly 1,600 beekeepers from nationwide to help pollinate California’s almond trees, and in rest of the year for other fruits and vegetables in other states.

But such a business model isn't actually appealing for numerous amateur beekeepers, though the financial rewards can be huger.


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