Beekeepers Friend

Peaches' Beekeeping Blog

March 22, 2011

Now the Rest of the Story or not!?

We have taken care of our honeybees to the point that they depend on us, the beekeepers, to keep them healthy and pest free. We are not doing such a good job at that. The bees have lost the ability to fight off parasites, viruses, pathogens, and the common cold like their forefathers did and that is because we beekeepers decided that we could do better then Mother Nature. We need to get back to nature.

One way to do this is to stop using chemicals in the hive. For some of us that is a very hard thing to do (or not to do). We have been taught at the beginning of our beekeeping that we MUST use pesticides to get rid of the bugs on bugs. We have to change our mind set and that ain’t gonna be easy either. We need to learn that the bees need to be exposed to the pests and parasites in order for them to start to develop an immunity to the parasites and learn again how to defend from the pests.

The survivors are the ones we need to keep and let the non-survivors parish. Sort of like a man retires from the work force and goes home and vegetates on the couch. Within 3 years he is dead! But if the man gets up and starts exercising and gets a hobby that requires him to move, then he has a long life still ahead of him.

If we keep our bees in a bubble for so long and then burst that bubble, the bees will parish because their immune system was compromised while in the protected environment. In order for babies (human) to grow to resist most of our bacterium, they (babies) need to eat the dirt. I cannot put it plainer than that.

I have a son who, in his youth period, was a very robust person. He never complained when he was sick. We really didn’t know he was sick until he played with his food, or went to bed instead of dropping off to sleep where ever he happened to be. Bees can be like that too! One minute they are robust and busy, buzy, buzzy and the next dead, dying, or gone. And that is because we have kept them doctored up to the gills with chemicals, and then we miss a treatment and they are demised.

I have not put chemicals in my hives for over 6 years. Most of the colonies died from starvation. One was because the wind blew the nuc stack over and the bees froze to death. Only 3 hives died because the mites got a good strong hold on them and made them weak so the hive beetles and wax moths moved in. For those of you who are very inquisitive, I now have only 3 hives left, but they are survivors. I will in the near future split and start to grow from my 3 nuclei and raise some very strong mite resistant, hygienic, and docile bees.

If this is what you want, then take pains to diminish your chemicals and baby them for three or four years and you can have some of the same.

Until next time, keep your veil handy, your hive tool sharp, and your smoker lit.

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