The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

Beekeepers All Abuzz


March 25, 2020

Facebook group Nebraska Beekeeping is buzzing with activity as local beekeepers find out if their hives survived the winter. With over 800 members on the social networking platform, ranging from serious professionals to newcomer enthusiasts, the group has become a central hive for beekeepers looking to find mentors, equipment, and even new bees. 

As the weather warms and spring approaches, the Facebook group’s members are sharing the status of their hives and whether or not they “overwintered.” 

If temperatures drop too low it’s possible not enough bees will survive to maintain the colony. Preventing the loss of bees, a practice known as overwintering, is not as simple as keeping the hives warm. Too much insulation will suffocate the insects, ensuring the destruction of the entire colony. 

Group administrator Jodi Chapek has been actively checking in on her members’ work, hoping to replace her depleted supply.

“In my case, [the bees] did not make it and I used the group to find out how others in my area did, and who can help supply me with more bees,” Chapek said. 

Chapek is not alone. In northern climates, more than 20 percent of hives can be lost in a given year. Restocking to continue the practice is difficult without a network of avid beekeepers.

Luckily, the Facebook group has stepped up to support fellow apiarists across the state. 

“It’d be tough to have success without the community we’ve created on Facebook,” Chapek said. “You never know when you’ll need help or be able to help someone else.”

Chapek has posted a survey on the group’s page asking members how they’ve fared so far. The mild winter has been especially damaging, as bees become more active in warmer weather and are abruptly stung by cold spells.

With any luck, Chapek’s hives will be back to full strength this spring, able to supply local customers with honey and other apiarists with bees.

Aside from combating the cold, the Facebook group has created a community for those engaged in the unique practice to share advice and celebrate success. 

For more information, visit “Nebraska Beekeeping” on Facebook. 


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