Unfortunately, another article not getting it entirely right….
“EPA Inaction Blamed as US Bees Suffer Second Highest Colony Losses on Record”
I’m an equal opportunity, across the political aisle hater and complainer of the government, EPA, politics, etc. However, only blaming the government, EPA, who was in office only detracts and conceals the truth to what’s really happening to the bees… which is us… humans and our “save the bee”, bless our hearts attitude. Humans, once again, are not holding themselves accountable and responsible for the messes they make.
3 major problems facing honeybees today:
- Varroa mites – a parasitic mite which breeds within the colonies, feeds on the bee babies and adults, spreads diseases… we’re trying to kill a bug on a bug and it’s almost impossible.
- Loss of foraging plants / monocultures – we keep ripping away habitats, food supplies… we don’t grow food anymore… we grow townhomes and strip malls. Big ag and monocultures have created food deserts for the bees. Bees are just like humans when it comes to needing a varied diet for nutrients. It helps their immune systems. A good varied diet would combat mites and diseases.
- Poor education and bee management – beekeeping is animal husbandry… would you buy a horse or a cow and not know how to take care of it? In order to be a good beekeeper you need to be part entomologist, part horticulturist, and part agriculturist. How are you going to care for your bees if you don’t know how they are getting their food or what’s growing for them to eat?
More and more people are becoming “beekeepers” and not learning proper animal husbandry. Bees are not like goats and chickens… they fly and spread their diseases and mites to other colonies within a three to five mile foraging radius of their home. So Joe can be trying to do everything by the book to keep his bees alive but Bob 3 miles away isn’t doing anything with his bees, Bob’s bees become mite bombs, and endanger Joe’s bees.
Everyone is jumping on the “save the bee” bandwagon and have no idea where they are going. People do not get the proper education BEFORE getting bees. People think they can educate themselves, which ordinarily is OK. But the mistakes that are made along the way and that difficult path chosen puts all hives within that foraging radius in jeopardy. Your hardheadedness to not get education before getting bees has put other beekeepers’ bees in peril.
Every year it gets worse. Beekeeping has become a fad. It’s become romanticized, commercialized, and industrialized. More losses come from more people getting bees. And more people not taking care of their bees properly. The science isn’t even telling you like it is. So I will and I will be labeled the Debby Downer, Nancy Negative… whatever you want to call me. I don’t sugar coat anything. I advocate for the bees and our environment; not for people or their feelings and opinions. This is not my “opinion”… this is my experience, knowledge, and facts gathered from the “business” I’m in. My customer base is MD, PA, DC, VA, WV…. it’s all the same and a constant recurring theme… “I want to help bees so I’m going to become a beekeeper!” And then proceed to not get the proper beekeeping education, think you can teach yourself (I saw it on Youtube so it must be true), have a laissez faire approach to beekeeping (hey can’t the bees take care of themselves), take one mediocre basic beginner course and think that’s all you need to know ever (courses are not equal/standard & some are not worth the money) want to be “organic” and not treat for mites, etc., etc. Basically just not understanding animal husbandry. But hey it’s spring and I want honey so let’s get bees!!!! Beekeeping has become the same thing as getting Christmas puppies and bunnies at Easter.
Beekeeping is also a revolving door industry. People give it a whirl, find out it’s hard and takes real commitment, kill their bees, kill others’ bees in the process and usually are out of beekeeping within three years. Bees are constantly being set back by this fad mentality.
People have no clue the amount of uneducated beekeepers that are out there. I do and see it on a daily basis. Daily I’m a broken record for proper bee education and it has gotten no where. Trust me, I’ve tried the soft, nice approach… that’s all I’ve done. I can’t combat this fad the way I’ve been doing it.
If you don’t like what I’m saying and think I’m too “judgey” (heard that before), move along, unlike my page, kick rocks… chances are, yep, I’m talking about you. Suck it up and educate yourself on bees. To hell with your opinion and money… I don’t want it if I have to sell my soul, not speak the truth, and not stand up for the bees and our environment.
Plant nectar bearing plants for the bees if you want to help them. We don’t need more honeybees… we need more good, educated beekeepers.