Many things have combined to reduce the number of honeybees. Pesticide use, introduction of parracites (varroa mites and tracheal mites) and some believe that mans interference with the life cycle and genetic make up of the bees themselves. (Modern hives practices have actually increased the size of the bees). The latest and probably most frightening threat to honey bees is colony collapse. Perfectly healthy hives are found empty with no clue as to what has happened to the bees. Many believe that organic hives are less prone to this event. I'm not sure that anybody really knows yet, but honeybees are certainly in danger.
“Domestic honeybees” pollinate many of our food crops and the hives are moved from field to orchard from state to state. Farmers pay to have the hives brought in during the pollination period and it is growing more expensive as the numbers of bees and beekeepers decline. Luckily, honeybees are not the only pollinators, but it is not known if there enough of these alternate pollinators to keep pace with modern agricultural practices.
I started keeping a few hives in my back yard last year. Prior to this we had ample wild hives in the area, but noticed a sharp decline in the last few years. Maybe if more people kept a few hives in stable environments (not moving the hives from state to state, which surely stresses the bees) and maintained them as organically as possible, we may see an increase in the wild populations also as each hive will split one or more times during the year and part of the bees will fly off to find a new home.
60 minutes is having a feature of the decline of honeybees this week and I am looking forward to watching it. If you want some tips on how to protect bees in your garden and learn about their life cycles (it's fascinating) just google honey bees and there will be loads of information.
Thank you so much! I'm allergic to bees and have spent most of my life cursing the buggers, but I'm also intelligent enough to know that if bees and humming birds and other such critters start disappearing, we're in a world of hurt. Especially if there's some sort of large nuclear or environmental fall-out (our sci-fi nightmares) and we get to a point where it's not possible for us to artificially pollenate things. I'd keep bees, but I'm sure my landlord would have a problem with that, lol.
I'm planning on starting a hive .. am trying to read up on everything possible before actually going "hands on" so to speak. I heard someone mention the other day that in my area there's a huge "beelike" insect which is killing her bees .. that she's had to replace her colony several times. I've seen this "bee" and wonder if this is true, and if so, what can be done about it. From what she's describing, it's what I call a "fruit bee" .. it's very big, an inch to an inch and a half long, yellow w/black stripes, and hangs around outdoor lights at night. Has anyone else heard of this? I'm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
I started off allergic to bees and after surviving numerous stings, I react worse to a mosquito bite than a bee sting. Dont wear perfume or colone around them and DEFFINATLY eat no bannas before working with them and it's amazingly easy.
Ever wonder why beekeepers use a smoker? It makes the workers think the hive is on fire so they fill up on honey in preperation to evacuating the hive. Full tummy makes it hard to bend the abdomon to sting.
Want to keep bees in a residental area without having the neighbors in an uproar? Thin elevation. Thats right. Build a stable stand and put them on the roof. They will fly over everyones head and then if they end up stung, they were doing somnething they shouldn't have been.
What's stopping you from keeping bees now? Money is my only barrier. Almost anyone can do it and the rewards are oh, so SWEET!!
Concrete, Did you know that Burt sold the business to his girlfriend and moved back into his hippie digs and went back to the quiet life. His girlfriend then sold the business to one of the big corporations. I read it in either the NYT or Wash Post recently. I was disappointed. I hope they keep the products as high in quality.
Yeah, it's never good when a corporation takes over something. But if you've been accustomed to the hippie life since...the dawn of hippie-dom, maintaining a nationally known business like that could be a bit overwhelming.
Well, best of luck to Burt. It was his right to sell if he wanted to. And he did sound like a hero returning to the simple life living in a turkey coop. His partner, Roxanne, reportedly used the millions she received in the sale to purchase mega acres in Maine for conservation. What started out as a cottage industry owned by a beekeeper and waitress is now owned by Clorox. I guess it's the American dream.
Well, if Burt returned to Maine, perhaps the Maine conservation acreage is nearby? If so, I hope it's full of hives, apple orchards, and fields of bee plants:)
I buy, and appreciate, many of BB products, excepting their sunscreen which leaves me tacky and seriously white, from the main ingredient. Saw the bee film, on the Burt's Bees website, and Burt was featured in it. He is getting on, isn't he? Guess he's earned the right to live his life as he sees fit. It seems like he's still connected to the company, somehow, they've kept his image in the product line...
Btw, I've planted almost every flowering plant surrounding my apt. with bees as well as my family in mind, from agastache to echinaceas, to Monardas and a lavender hedge. Burt's Bees has reinstated their offer for a single packet of Bee flower seeds..all they require in exchange is your mailing info.
(You'd be surprised how little people know about CCD, or care, until an issue affects their bottom line!) Thank you for the links, btw. I'm glad to see that many of my plants are on the list of year-round forage. Some of the plants on the list won't do well in CA, such as Tupelo trees, but others, like vitex, are. I ordered a vitex shrub from Crimson Sage nursury, over a year ago, it's blooming for the first time this year, at about 18" in height, as are my first year lavenders, from the same source. Will see how the agastache and pineapple sages and bee balm fare, the basils of course, are thriving. I live in an apartment, and mgmt. requested that I remove my potted garden, which I complied with. Then I went and ordered several pounds of clover seed, and reseeded their grassy lawn with clover...no one, except the bees, has noticed, as of yet...tee-hee! And they haven't ordered me to remove the plants/shrubs I planted into the "landscaped" areas, as of yet...
Oh man, I know it's tough to garden in a rental. We tried to have veg gardens but never lived in places that cared what we had on the patio thank goodness. I'm glad you are doing your part. Irks me to no end when people claim others just don't have the "space" to grow food or plants and here we've both done it on patios! People just don't want to be bothered to do the work or learn the know how.
Appreciate your efforts. To funny about the clover!