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.