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Why don't we have a Bee Keeping section?


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#61 Offline gcsnelling - Posted May 19 2019 - 2:59 PM

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There are fewer Honey Bees in the US today then there have been in the past. For one there are almost no long term "Wild" Honey Bee Hives anymore due to parasites and disease.


 

 

Perhaps in your part of the country, but in Southern California feral colonies are as common as ever, sadly mostly AHB but they are good money for pest control companies.


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#62 Offline Acutus - Posted May 19 2019 - 5:53 PM

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There are fewer Honey Bees in the US today then there have been in the past. For one there are almost no long term "Wild" Honey Bee Hives anymore due to parasites and disease.


 

 

Perhaps in your part of the country, but in Southern California feral colonies are as common as ever, sadly mostly AHB but they are good money for pest control companies.

 

 

AHB's are a little different. I forget sometimes other places in the country have to deal with them. Your typical European feral colony today isn't long lasting and most feral colonies are swarms that won't last very long due to disease and different types of mites. (honestly I don't know if AHBs are as susceptible to these things or not) Here when I was a kid it was nothing to step on a honey bee in your bare feet and get stung.because not only did more people keep them but  they could be seen in wild hives. today you are lucky to see any honey bees at all. I can see your warmer climate being helpful though too.


Billy

 

Currently keeping:

Camponotus chromaiodes

Camponotus castaneus

Camponotus pennsylvanicus

Aphaenogaster "NOT tennesseensis" fulva


#63 Offline Nylanderiavividula - Posted May 21 2019 - 10:00 AM

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     I made the "snowflake" comment to find the snowflakes...and boy did it work.  I smelled ya'.  Your dogma is blinding your ability to scientifically utilize logic in your thinking if you call honey bees "money bees".  You are already tainted to lean in only one direction, and that's a shame and certainly not scientific.  There are several things that I and others have pointed out that have gone unanswered by the "anti-bee-ers", if you will.  Namely, our global agricultural system is dependent on Apis mellifera ssp...that is inarguable.  The human population as a whole would not collapse if we diminished the A. mellifera range back to its original lands, that is true.  But many people would actually die because of it if we did it without implementing some other plan for pollination (chiefly the poor and those in under/undeveloped countries).  Honey bees and their pollination abilities (which are more efficient than most people give them credit for...we wouldn't call a Corvette slow except maybe when we compare it to a Ferrari, right?) are what help to keep our food costs low...this is also a fact that can not really be argued against.  There have actually been incredible studies done to show that a combination of mason bees and honey bees more effectively pollinate almonds that either of the two species alone.  This should not be a surprise because nature seems to like and function best with diversity...  However, when we are talking about big agriculture (and we are) we aren't really talking about diversity anymore.  It's all about monocrops, unfortunately.

     There are many points I saw while reading through this hot thread that I wanted to bullet and respond to separately...but I'm a combination of busy and lazy.  These sorts of arguments are taxing to a logical mind, and I have promised myself to work on personal stress levels.  So I didn't make a list, sorry.  In regards to the efficiency of honey bees to pollinate:  honey bees have scopa (hairs) on their hind legs that take a special form called the corbiculae.  The laymans' term for this structure is "pollen basket".  True bumble bees (bees in the genus "Bombus") also have corbiculae on their hind legs.  These structures are made to hold the pollen that is collected in place precisely so that as many of the pollen grains as possible make it back to the colony to feed developing brood.  Honey bees and bumblebees are some of the most-efficient pollen collectors Mother Nature has to offer...and because of this, they do not shed as much pollen flower-to-flower as some of the other pollinators with normal scopa (normal scopa make a bee's legs look like pipe-cleaners).  It is also true that honey bees do not assist antheral dehiscence through sonication like other bees (mostly Bombus genus) can do such as in the cases of tomatoes and blueberries...  But so what?  We don't yet know how to get those bees to fit into our current model of agriculture like we can with the honey bees.  People are working on it, though, and I hope it works out.  When people find out I keep honey bees they ask me about dwindling numbers, it never fails.  I ALWAYS turn the talk to native species and encourage them to plant native angiosperms (I typically recommend shrubby-type perennials or trees, if the person is willing) to support our struggling natives.  

     Another question that I asked the anti-bee-ers is this, why were our native pollinators so much better off in the past when the United States had had millions more commercially kept honey bee colonies?  If eliminating the honey bee would help our natives so much, how does it make sense that they were doing better in times when commercially kept honey bees were almost double what they are in modern times? 

     https://www.research...1_43014730     I'm sorry, but the "I hate beez!  Beez are corporayshuns, argh!" argument just doesn't stand the test of reason.

     Anyway, for those against the bees, why not keep a couple of colonies yourselves, first.  Do that for a year or two, and THEN come to the table of arguments and experience some true validity, how 'bout it?  One more thing:  beekeeping is NOT easy.

 

In case that link doesn't work:  Google "bee colony numbers usa" one of the first links shows a graph and says "The number of managed honey bee colonies (in millions) in United..."  Click that.  That was research done by Dr. Keith Delaplane of UGA.  The same guy that signed my Beekeeping Certificate in the UGA/Young Harris College Master Beekeeping Program and then signed my Journeyman Beekeeper Certificate the third year in the program (harder than the EAS program...).  For the beeks here in the East...I highly recommend attending the Young Harris Beekeeping Conference in May of every year.  The turnout is great, and the three day conference is packed with speakers on the cutting edge of bee research from all over the globe.


Edited by Nylanderiavividula, May 21 2019 - 10:06 AM.

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Camponotus castaneus
Camponotus chromaiodes (Pretty sure...)
Brachymyrmex patagonicus
Aphaenogaster sp. (I’ll be working on this species ID, soon)
Pheidole crassicornis

#64 Offline ANTdrew - Posted May 21 2019 - 12:54 PM

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Things are very off kilter for all pollinators native on not, so this debate is rather pointless. Steps taken to help “charismatic” pollinators like monarchs and honey bees will help all pollinators. This is why conservation groups latch on to these species. I see less honey bees in my yard every year, and it troubles me.
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"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25


#65 Offline Ant_Dude2908 - Posted May 21 2019 - 1:05 PM

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Things are very off kilter for all pollinators native on not, so this debate is rather pointless. Steps taken to help “charismatic” pollinators like monarchs and honey bees will help all pollinators. This is why conservation groups latch on to these species. I see less honey bees in my yard every year, and it troubles me.


I used to see thousands every year, but now I see a few dozen. And that's if I'm lucky.

#66 Offline Nylanderiavividula - Posted May 22 2019 - 5:35 AM

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Things are very off kilter for all pollinators native on not, so this debate is rather pointless. Steps taken to help “charismatic” pollinators like monarchs and honey bees will help all pollinators. This is why conservation groups latch on to these species. I see less honey bees in my yard every year, and it troubles me.

I think this is the best way to understand it from both sides.  ANTdrew, with this sort of objectivity, a better approach for reconciliation of the problem can be endeavored no matter what side of the isle you stand on concerning Apis mellifera ssp.  I used to get numerous questions about that uber-gimmicky device, the "Flow Hive" for a couple of years...I started to have really negative thoughts on how to answer the questions concerning the validity of such a contraption (I keep approximately thirty Langstroth hives and the occasional Kenyan top-bar hive).  I think the Flow Hive is a joke and misnomer...afterall, it's really only a SUPER they are selling and not a "hive"...you still have to have standard equipment for the brood nest area, etc.  Anyway, I digress.  I was getting aggravated with the Flow Hive questions that I kept having to bat away...so I asked a fellow beekeeper lady who has also been keeping bees in standard equipment for a decade or so what she thought about the Flow Hive.  To my surprise she said, "I don't and wouldn't own any, but I like them a lot!"  I was blown away!!  I of course had to ask, "What tha'...?"  And she calmly explained that she liked them because they generated interest in the hobby.  If interest is generated and people become beekeepers (or "ant ranchers" as a friend said of me) then an appreciation for entomology is seeded...  From there, all sorts of worlds and minds open up.  People become more concerned for our environment and the creatures in it, they begin to wonder what they can do to help the various and sundry problems that arise through the years, and fear is replaced with knowledge.  People also become more conscientious about how and what they plant and how they do or do not utilize pesticides.  So, I now carry a different perspective and feeling towards the Flow Hive (supers...that's all they are...funky honey supers).  When people ask me about them, I explain exactly what they are and how a backyard beekeeper may benefit from owning one. 

 

I co-own two businesses.  One is a sideline beekeeping operation I own with my twin brother.  We make just enough honey per year to break even and generate local interest and appreciation for our pollinators and food systems.  We are not at all connected to any government subsidies or grants, though we could be if we wanted.  The other business is a pest-control operation.  We live in the southeast where pressure from Reticulitermes genus termites (subterraneans) is very intense.  Because most pest-control companies focus primarily on general "pest" species, we focus on termites (though we are certified in HPC- Home Pest Control- and certainly do take some of those calls when the termite side is slow).  So I have a duty to understand as many sides of the fence as I can (not to mention federal and state legal obligations for continuing education).  I want people to be as informed and knowledgeable as possible so that they can make the best decisions when it comes to interacting with our environment.  I am a firm believer in integrated pest management, and what most pest control operators won't mention is that an essential tenet of IPM is "individual tolerance" and getting people to a level where they are no longer so horribly afraid or grossed out by any and every arthropod they come across.  Increasing individual tolerances among my customers is easy when they see the passion I have for the various and sundry arthropod families and genera:  especially Hymenopterans such as ants and bees.

 

I hope everyone has a good rest-of-the-week! ;)


Edited by Nylanderiavividula, May 22 2019 - 5:40 AM.

Camponotus castaneus
Camponotus chromaiodes (Pretty sure...)
Brachymyrmex patagonicus
Aphaenogaster sp. (I’ll be working on this species ID, soon)
Pheidole crassicornis




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