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Michigan Ag News Headlines
2023 Needs Assessment of Michigan Small-Scale Beekeepers
Michigan Ag Connection - 06/08/2023

Beekeepers in Michigan face many challenges. Michigan State University Extension (MSU Extension) wants to help beekeepers overcome these challenges and hear from them about their topics of interest and needs. In May 2023, MSU Extension and Michigan Beekeepers Association (MBA) administered a needs assessment to understand educational needs of small-scale beekeepers in Michigan. MSU Extension and MBA shared the online survey through MBA’s email list, MSU Extension’s Pollinators & Pollination website and email digest, the Michigan State University Beekeeping Facebook page, Michigan Beekeepers Association's Facebook page and beekeeping events.

The survey received responses from 285 individuals who indicated they were from Michigan from 64 counties. Eight percent of responses came from people new to beekeeping with zero years of beekeeping experience, and 95% of responses came from beekeepers who have fewer than 50 honey bee colonies. The survey also received 33 responses from individuals outside of Michigan that are not included in this report.

MSU Extension and MBA will use responses from this needs assessment to choose topics for beekeeping conference sessions and other educational programs.

Educational topics of interest

Respondents were asked, “Which beekeeping topics would you like more information on?” and instructed to select all that apply. Responses:

62% Keeping colonies alive

59% Disease identification

59% Disease management

59% Dealing with queen events and queenlessness

59% Wintering

51% Managing varroa

47% Making nucs or splits

43% Swarm deterrence

40% Queen rearing

34% Feeding and nutrition

33% Monitoring varroa

28% Honey production

26% Constructing and maintaining beekeeping equipment

25% Increasing the number of colonies I manage

9% Other

Respondents were asked, “Which additional topics would you like more information on?” and instructed to select all that apply. Responses:

58% Planting for pollinators

40% Wild bee species

35% How to train and teach other beekeepers

29% Increasing profitability

22% Getting started with beekeeping (first two years of beekeeping)

20% Farm management and business

10% Dealing with farm stress

5% Deciding if I want to work for a commercial beekeeping operation

5% Deciding if beekeeping is right for me

5% Other


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