Beekeeping Insurance – Should You Insure Your Beehives?

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There are many risk factors involved in beekeeping. Two prominent causes of beekeeping failures are a lack of knowledge as well as negligence. Honeybees are very sensitive and need constant care and attention. If you’re not up for this challenge, then perhaps beekeeping is not the right hobby or profession for you.

Nevertheless, even those who can commit to taking care of their beehives, and put in the required work, can still suffer losses. These losses can be generally attributed to various other factors such as, diseases, parasites, predators and even theft. Thankfully, beekeeping insurance offers a way to mitigate the costs associated with these losses. In this article, we’ll discuss what beekeeping insurance is and how it can help you to have a better peace of mind.

Reasons for Losses in Beekeeping

Here is how factors beyond man’s control can cause beekeeping losses:

1. Loss by Disease

Adult honeybees are vulnerable to many diseases. The reason for these diseases can be some common agents such as:

  • Fungi
  • Bacteria
  • Protozoa
  • Viruses
  • Parasites
  • Poisoning

Any of the above can be the reason for causing sickness in bees. The true culprit can be very hard to discover since a lot of symptoms displayed by sick bees are similar. This presents an array of challenges to the beekeeper to determine the cause and get to the root of the problems. This may require microscopic identification of micro-organisms or in the case of bee poisoning, a chemical analysis may be required. If bee-related diseases go unchecked and untreated, they may lead to colony collapse disorder (CCD). The rate of CCD has been increasing since 2006, across the world. Commercial beekeepers are facing the worst of these issues. They have greater numbers of colonies’ hence the losses they suffer are also greater.

2. Loss by Pests & Parasites

Nosema

Nosema, also known as Nosemosis is the most common disease found in adult bees. It is caused by a microsporidian, Nosema apis. This is the most widespread disease in bee colonies.

Wax Moths

Wax moths are another scourge on the beehives. Two types of wax moth larvae, Galleria mellonella and Achroia grisella hatch in a comb. They tunnel through the combs that have bee’s larvae and honey destroying everything in their way. While they are tunneling through the comb, they line it with silk. This silk entangles and starves all emerging bees. In cases of excessive tunneling, the honey can leak from the comb and get wasted. If too much honey leaks out, it can lead to the starvation of bees. These moths are particularly dangerous for weaker colonies that have low numbers, unoccupied hives, and a low ration of honey.

Hive Beetles

Beetles such as Aethina tumida can also damage a hive. These are called small hive beetles and were initially native to Africa. But now they have spread to almost every continent.

Varroa Mites

Varroa destructor or commonly known as the Varroa mite is an unrelenting pest that attaches itself to and destroys not one but two distinct species of honeybee. They are plaguing bees in many parts of the world. Many scientists blame them for triggering CCD.

Tracheal Mites

The tracheal mite, also known as Acarapis woodi greatly infests the trachea of honeybees.

3. Loss by Predators

Nature has given honeybees a safety mechanism in the form of a sting. It is a highly effective way to not get eaten by predators. But some larger predators still attack them such as skunks or bears. Once they get into the nest, they not only devour bees but consume the brood and the honey. This means that the whole hive is vulnerable to their attacks.

Some birds also feed on bees. They are named bee-eaters because they are their preferred mode of diet. There are some species of robber flies that can wreak havoc on a hive. One species of robber flies are known as Mallophora ruficauda mainly found in agriculture heavy areas of South America. They feast on the worker bees of a hive when they are foraging in fields, crops, and meadows. If any of these predators get a taste, they will keep coming back until the nest is completely destroyed.

However careful you are while raising bees, there can so many things that are out of our control yet may lead to serious losses. Therefore, you need to be prepared in advance to deal with any such disastrous situation, and one such way is by getting beekeeping insurance.

Get Beekeeping Insurance to Protect Against Losses

To safeguard against any unforeseen losses, get insurance. That’s the whole point of it. That’s why we get car, home, health and even life insurance. The insurance coverage will protect your financial well-being if something goes wrong despite your best efforts.

Almost all diseases, pests, and predators spread from hive to hive. So, If one hive in a colony is infected, pretty soon it will spread to other hives too. This can have devastating effects on commercial beekeepers. The larger the facility, the greater the loss incurred. Therefore, it is of grave importance that all commercial-scale beekeepers must get insurance to bar them against any potential damages.

Do Small-Scale Beekeepers need Insurance?

Small-scale beekeepers need insurance too. This way they can protect against any incidents and injuries. Commercially produced honey and other bee products are tested before they are sold. But small scale or backyard beekeepers do not have access to such high-tech and expensive facilities. Also where there are bees, people will get stung. It is simply inevitable. Beekeepers can get sued, if someone is stung by their bees alleges that they suffered an allergic reaction. The same might be alleged by a user of one of their products. Under these circumstances, getting insurance for potential liability for injuries is necessary. There are also liabilities associated with selling honey products to customers.

Which Losses does Beekeeping Insurance Typically Cover?

Beekeepers can suffer three types of losses in beekeeping activities:

  • Liabilities related to self-injuries and also to others.
  • Damages sustained by the hive and bees due to disease, pest, and predators.
  • Covers liability certificate to sell bee product in farmer markets, fairs, etc.
  • Liabilities for the product sold.

You can get complete coverage for all of these beekeeping activities. It is simply prudent for commercial and small-scale beekeepers. Keeping bees has a learning curve but it must not be allowed to affect your finances.

Advantages of Beekeeping Insurance

What are the advantages of beekeeping insurance? Many people would ask such a question because they see beekeeping as a less representative activity. Although playing a minimal role in gastronomy, its interest rate remains remarkable. Used in pastry making, ordinary kitchens and even in sanitary treatments, honey is of an incredible utility.

Beekeeping has undergone a conventional improvement in recent years with the help of insurance companies. Indeed, it was clear that beekeepers, after several days of work, sometimes benefited little from the fruit of their efforts because they noticed the disappearance of their hive, either taken away by unidentified persons, or destroyed by accidents in the profession. It is also necessary to point out the great risk that the activity of beekeeping takes, having thousands of stinging bees flying about the place. It is important therefore, that beekeepers are subject to insurance requirements. This insurance will help to maintain the sector and make the beekeeping profession a godsend for all those who practice it. The insurance in question here is hive insurance. But what is a hive?

A hive as its name indicates, is a shelter arranged to receive the bee swarms; it is where the colony lives. Its often tiny size allows it to be easily stolen. Furthermore, as its location can sometimes be far from human settlements, increases the risk of enormous losses. However, for any activity where the risks are enormous, insurance would be welcome. It is undoubtedly for this reason that beekeepers are to take precautions by declaring their various hives for a guarantee of their work. But what would be the advantages of this insurance?

1. Insurance as an Economic Power

Insurance is a financial industry dedicated to the risk management of economic agents (individuals and companies). As such, it has two essential functions: to cover the risk itself; and to recycle the savings generated within the economy.

The basis of insurance is risk aversion. Economic agents are reluctant to take risks, which hinders innovation and slows down activity. Insurance companies offer to cover these risks (to be more precise, to cover the financial value of these risks) by pooling them. The principle is well known: an insured pays a regular premium, fixed contractually, and in case of damage to beehives and work equipment, will receive compensation under conditions and for an amount also specified in the contract. Insurers choose the certainty of a small loss to the uncertainty of a large loss. In this process, a decisive phenomenon appears: the monetization, or financialization, of risk.

The insurer evaluates the potential cost of the damage, as well as the probability of its occurrence. From this, the insurer deducts not only the amount of the premium that will be paid by the insured, but also the total sum that must be set aside to be able to reimburse the damage if it occurs. An insurance company’s expertise therefore extends to two areas: risk management and financial management.

To manage risks, insurance uses its main tool – statistics. The basic principle is that of the law of large numbers. For beehive insurance, it is impossible to know when an insured will be involved in an accident, nor for what severity. On the other hand, the frequency of accidents in a given area is known. The law of large numbers says that if the portfolio includes a sufficient number of insurers, then the portfolio will tend to behave like the general average of beekeepers. If the probability of a beekeeping related accident in a given area is x% per year, then we know that x% of the portfolio will be affected by this damage – not necessarily every year, but on average. This provides an approximation of the amount of damage over given periods of time.

2. Sanitary Safety of the Beekeeper

The insurance sector is divided into two distinct activities: life and non-life insurance. Life insurance covers the health risks of individuals, in this case the beekeeper. There are three main types of life insurance: death (the insured pays regular premiums, and an indemnity will be paid to a beneficiary or beneficiaries of his/her choice when he/she dies); longevity (the insured pays premiums during his/her active life, and receives indemnities when he/she retires); disability (the insured pays a regular premium that guarantees that his/her disability will be taken care of if it occurs). One of the characteristics of life insurance is that it also serves as a savings product. Non-life insurance, on the other hand, essentially protects property and business.

The beehive with several bees could be dangerous for the beekeeper, with risks such as:

  • Bee stings
  • Accidents in the installation/transportation of the beehive.
  • The loss of hive management materials.
  • Fires that could be fatal to the beekeeper.

These few risks are to the disadvantage of the beekeeper. He/she could thus face them if this damage were to occur by subscribing to an insurance company which will provide the necessary assistance. Thus the advantages of this insurance are:

  • On the individual level,  life insurance has a function of security, in the sense that it guarantees the people against the risks of death. In case of death for example, the insurer will pay a capital mentioned in the contract to the designated beneficiary.
  • On the other hand, it can also allow the insured to build up capital or annuity in insurance in case of life; it then plays a saving function.
  • Another characteristic of life insurance, is that it can constitute for the policyholder a credit instrument by the possibility of obtaining a loan from the insurer. Seen from this point of view, the activity of beekeeping would be welcome since the losses can be immense.

3. Non-life insurance: Beehive and equipment

Non-life insurance is anything that relates to the equipment or the activity itself. For our part, how does the insurance of the beehive and equipment manifest itself?

To insure your hive is to protect yourself in advance. It is to give yourself the possibility to revitalize your activity even if there is damage with the hives. For some insurance companies, the possibility is given to beekeepers to increase the number of their hives to increase their turnover. The insurance comes in support in all phases – from setting up hive, production and harvest.

Insurance protection extends to all your professional equipment:

  • Beehives.
  • Tools and machines for harvesting honey and packaging it for sale.
  • Protective equipment, but also for brush clearing, weeding, etc.

Depending on your needs, and depending on whether the insurance company provides it, you can subscribe to additional guarantees, such as :

  • Replacing old equipment, to take advantage of a better coverage if one of your business assets is damaged.
  • Electrical damage, to repair as quickly as possible your machines which can be put out of order by an overvoltage or a short circuit.

Guarantees in the Insurance of Beehives

The guarantees that insurance companies could take when insuring a hive concern:

  • The beehives and their internal components.
  • The products of the apiary (honey, wax, royal jelly) when contained in the hives.
  • The bee colony (queen, males, and worker bees) the brood (egg and larvae) contained in the hive.

The different damages that will call upon the insurer’s guarantees are as follows:

  • Theft of the insured goods; the proof of theft being the responsibility of the insured.
  • Damage caused to the insured bees in case of asphyxiation by smoke, especially during smoking operations, as long as a fire has not started.
  • Deterioration caused to the hives or their contents by animals.
  • Damage resulting from the fall of a beehive.
  • Damage resulting from a hive or flood when the hives are located in a recognized, flood-prone area or indicated as such in the risk exposure plans.

A Final Word

With regard to our analysis relating to the advantages of beekeeping insurance, it is necessary to note that there are several advantages in the conciliation of the beekeeping profession with insurance. What it is necessary to retain it is first of all the improvement of working conditions of the beekeepers that remained a long time in the informal sector. This insurance would thus come to provide them an appropriate work output and a suitable retirement. As for the material plan, the guarantee taken by the insurance company towards the insured, is very advantageous because it is accompanied by legal measures acting for the common good of both parties.

As a promoter of beekeeping insurance, this article is therefore an opportunity to appeal to beekeepers to get insurance. Seek out insurance companies that are ready and willing to insure your beehives and related equipment. This is important, so as to minimize risk is the case of damage, theft or losses. Beekeeping is not free of serious risks anywhere. Therefore, protecting yourself against all kinds of liabilities is simply prudent. Timely investment in decent beekeeping insurance is something you will never regret.

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