It is Friday. I haven’t had the opportunity to rant on anything the last several weeks mainly due to lack of frustration. I was reminded of something this week while on Facebook and voila!
Honeybees occur naturally in Japan. So does a very formidable enemy to the honeybee. A war has been waged between the two for probably longer than any human can know. Unfortunately Japanese honeybees don’t make as much honey as the European variant does. So Japanese beekeepers have gone down the same road as beekeepers everywhere and decided to import bees from far off lands in hopes of larger honey crops. This first video shows the results of this folly (WARNING: this You-Tube video has a caption in it showing a word that some may find offensive, it is a three letter word).
Now after looking at that footage you are probably thinking, “What in the heck could Japanese honeybees POSSIBLY do to to overcome such a formidable foe?” The solutions to problems found in nature boggle the mind. What possible solution would humans have for Asian Hornets? Sprays, Hornet Dust and special contrivances to keep the hornets out of the hive would be the first thing most would think of. Bees don’t need those things because they have their own ways of dealing with problems.
Beekeepers everywhere are facing challenges that seem almost impossible to overcome. Varroa, tracheal mites, and small hive beetles only name a small few. I don’t even know what the talk about Zombie Bees is even about yet. I am sure that within a couple of years some company will be marketing some variant of Zom-Bee Juice. Perhaps it is man’s impatience or maybe our race is so used to being marketed to, that we lose sight of what goes on in the world around us. If we work with the bees they can overcome all of these things, but we in our infinite wisdom feel the need to help the bees.
It is common practice today for beekeepers to attempt to inhibit swarming behaviour and natural breeding in bees. I have read about how bad it is for beekeeping when new keepers in their “ignorance” allow their hives to swarm. I was instructed by one of my first mentors that I should remove drone brood from my hives, like I knew then or now how many drones the hive needs. WHAT kind of world are we living in here?!? Natural breeding is how solutions are found. It might be bad for providers of packaged bees, queen breeders and chemical companies, but I don’t think it is bad for bees.
What if the first Japanese Honeybee colony to come up with the HEATED BALL DEFENCE had been in a managed hive and swarm prevention had been in practice on said hive? No more Japanese honeybees that’s what!
Nature finds ways of dealing with problems and our ignorance stands in the way. I wonder how many times an innovative approach to overcoming varroa, small hive beetles or INSERT BEE MALADY HERE has been snuffed out of existence by a beekeeper following the current industry literature equivalent of the Nuremberg Defence?