I have been running myself ragged this week so I am not going to have an extremely long and in depth post today. I do however want to give you something to think about. Last week I took my daughter to the eye doctor. I had forgotten to take my own reading material. There was an entire table filled with magazines at the office. I was getting annoyed because all of them were either about golf, fancy houses, or the lives of celebrities I couldn’t care less about.
After rifling through at least fifty or sixty of them I got a hold of an issue of Newsweek. It had a child sitting on the front of it. The cover read, “When I Grow Up, I’m Going to Weigh 300 Lbs. Help!” With the other options available, I sad “what the heck!”. I began reading the article by Gary Taubes. The actual title was “Why the Campaign to Stop America’s Obesity Crisis Keeps Failing“.
According to Mr. Taubes, recent studies indicate that America’s obesity problem has little to do with inactivity and video games. There is evidence it has EVERYTHING to do with dietary choices, particularly too many carbohydrates — sugar.
Poor diet leading to health problems…. I can apply THAT to bees.
This week I was reading an on-line article from the Harvard Gazette “Pesticide tied to bee colony collapse” It was announcing a study that will appear in the June issue of the Bulletin of Insectology.
Lu and his co-authors hypothesized that the uptick in CCD resulted from the presence of imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid introduced in the early 1990s. Bees can be exposed in two ways: through nectar from plants or through high-fructose corn syrup beekeepers use to feed their bees. (Since most U.S.-grown corn has been treated with imidacloprid, it’s also found in corn syrup.)
Some beekeepers are going to feed their bees. If it is something that is felt to be necessary perhaps there are some options that could be healthy for them . Feeding corn syrup potentially laced with imidacloprid can not be an option. Really if it is poisonous to bees should we be eating the stuff? Sugar syrup made from Cain or Beets will keep bees alive, but it is not a natural forage for bees either. Feeding store-bought honey has it’s own risks and if you only have one hive and it is failing odds are you aren’t going to have surplus honey around.
We as beekeepers can do very little about controlling exactly where bees obtain their forage. We can plant forage plants ourselves, allow some weeds to grow, and attempt to educate others on the bee consequences to having their lawns sprayed by Chemlawn type outfits. Recently my honey loving landlord was commenting about how many weeds I allowed to grow in my garden and around my house. The unsightliness of it would just be unacceptable at his house. I told him, “honey doesn’t come from grass!”
So feed your bees. Have what many consider an “ugly” lawn filled with flowers and try to get your neighbors to do the same. Allow some weeds to grow in your garden and around your house. The same sugars that many are giving their bees is making humans unhealthy so avoid it if you can. I have little faith that the answers will be found by large scale beekeepers. They are too busy trying to meet their bottom lines. Salvation for honeybees if it is to be found, will come from small scale and backyard beekeepers. We have the internet which gives us a platform to network and educate far beyond the reach of our spoken words. USE IT!!! If for nothing else “for the love of bees and honey” part of the tagline from Beverly Bees.
Thanks for the mention Jason. 🙂 Great post! I find most people around here are really concerned about the plight of the honeybee. They just do not understand how to help them. That’s why education is extremely important. As beekeepers I think we owe it to the honeybee to educate as many people as we can about how even small things like letting dandelions grow in their yard are very significant to honeybees and extremely important in areas of urban/suburban sprawl. I find once people learn about bees and how important they are their fear turns to fascination and they really want to help. Teaching people how to plant for bees, or maintain their yard for bees is a wonderful way to both feed the bees and give them something concrete they can do to help out.
Also while it is best to not feed bees sugar unless absolutely necessary, when feeding bees sugar I suspect that sugar from beets (unless it is organic) may soon be found to be just as bad for bees as corn syrup, since many beets are GM now and use the same pesticide.
1611, “not to know, to be ignorant of,” from Fr. ignorer, from L. ignorare “not to know, disregard,” from ignarus “not knowing, unaware” (see ignorant). Sense of “pay no attention to” first recorded 1801 and not common until c.1850.
I agree ignorance and apathy are a huge enemy. Our culture has perceives the word “ignorance” as a word with some type of connotation. To me it means to just not know. Just today I checked my trapout. I ignored it for too long and the bees built comb down to the point that they could get back into the wall. I don’t believe I got the queen yet. I will be working to remedy that this weekend. I am overcoming my own ignorance daily! My daughter gets annoyed because almost every time I come in contact with someone the subject of bees comes up, and I am evangelizing. Five years ago I would never have dreamed that I would be writing a blog about anything. It is the power of bees.
I too have apprehension about beet sugar. If we were meant to have concentrated sugar it would be found in nature. Oh wait!!! We do have a source…. HONEY!! We try to avoid any highly refined food around here as much as possible.
It is rather funny in a way, Idk if you have seen “over the hedge”? In it there is a scene were the raccoon is showing his friends how humans hoard food, we worship it on alters (kitchen tables). We have become so effective at gathering and storing food that now we can even refine it so our bodies don’t even have to work to digest it let alone harvest it. What you said makes sense when one is hungry one grabs an apple.. or a snickers bar.. the body doesn’t expect to get that many calories for simply feeling peckish. Anyway nice post for some one in a hurry 🙂
Haven’t seen it. I will have to check it out.
I have trouble calling some of the stuff I see in the store FOOD. 🙂
Congrats on your first swarm of the year.
Thank you for the insightful information. I agree that sugar consumption is ridiculously out of control in our society. I also agree that bees and their health can signal problems that will affect us, especially our health. I love the picture of your swarm traps and hives in the backyard. But I must say, I will continue to mow my lawn.
Your grateful landlord
I forgot to tell you about what I got off e-bay!!! Check out what will be coming to a yard and some roadsides near you!!!! They were expensive so I bought 10 sets!!!!
Next week there is going to be a post – Militant methods to deal with chronic mowers!!! You need to let Mr. K know that he needs to get a computer connected to the internet so he can follow along with the chronicles of our conversations!
lolz man spike stips to control mowing 🙂
It’s a start!
Doesn’t your landlord know you already cut the grass with your hive tool? 🙂
LOL if that was at my house I would have been kicked out. That is at a hive site in an old overgrown pasture.
I am off on Monday and I need to get over there with my weed eater. I made a bunch of top entrances for such places. Before I clean it up too much I am going to see if the bees are using the entrance instead of fighting the grass. If they are then I am leaving the weed eater in the truck and just plop top entrances on the other two hives. Those hives are tall enough that even if there is a bunch of grass the bees there will not be traffic problems. They are on my hives already, but the bees haven’t been using them much. That’s why I haven’t written about them yet.
I am tired of fighting nature all of the time. I don’t think we are here to do it. Nature is very productive and untidy. I think there is something to be learned from it. We humans spend way too much time seeing who can have the neatest designs in their perfectly cut yards.
I once went up to a “big box” beekeeping store, and noticed a GIGANTIC tank in the warehouse. I was curious as to what it was and asked one of the workers. She told me it was that glucose feed for the bees, and that trucks come by to fill up. She told me that they have to fill it 4 times a day!!! This was during almond pollination season in California’s Central Valley…
I wonder just how much of what is sold as honey in this country is nothing more than a substance the bees make out of all that sugar. I feel sorry for those bees.