BEEKEEPING IN FINLAND
The Finnish Beekeepers' Association is the only beekeepers’ association in Finland. The association arranges courses in basic beekeeping, diseases and queen rearing annually. The magazine "Mehiläinen" is published for the members six times a year.
The total number of honey bee colonies in Finland is about 70,000. We have about 3 200 beekeepers, most of them does it as a hobby. The amount of honey varies around 2 million kg annually. Average production per one colony for the whole country is about 40 kilos.
Important bee plants in Finland are turnip rape (Brassica spp.), raspberry (Rubus), clovers (Trifolium), willows (Salix), apple (Malus domestica) etc. The economical value of honey bee pollination in Finland is at least 22,2 million euros among the most important crops.
The short single main honeyflow dictates the beekeeping in Finland. Beekeepers need to get the hives strong for the main flow which begins when the main honeyplant wild raspberry starts flowering. Bee hives are overwintered mainly with one box. Beekeepers hope that colonies grow from cleansing flight in April to start of honey flow so that they would have 2–3 boxes full of bees.
As the days are long, bees fly up to 18 hours in Southern Finland and even longer in North. In good years scale hives can show weight increase over 10 kg/day during peak honey flow.
The Finnish Beekeepers' Association maintains a network of scale hives to help beekeepers follow the progress of the honeyflow. Beekeepers can see when honeyflow starts and stops in their area from internet page.
As the main honeyflow is about the same time in all Finland beekeepers don’t travel with bees to different flows. 98 % of apiarys are in the same place all year. Bees are moved only for pollination or for production of special monofloral honeys.
Varroa mite came to Finland 1986, but there is still two areas with bees without varroa. Åland island is planning to change voluntary restrictions to official ones to keep the island with 500 hives without varroa. The other area without varoa is at arctic circle where apiarys are so far apart that varroa has not spread to all area. Beekeepers treat the mites without synthetic pesticides. Only formic acid, thymol and oxalic acid is used.
Suomen Mehiläishoitajain liitto
Ullanlinnankatu 1 A 3
phone: 010 387 4770 or 044 306 3200