• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Mike Haasl
  • James Freyr
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Kate Downham
  • Jay Angler
  • thomas rubino

a bee dilemma

 
gardener
Posts: 1561
Location: mountains of Tennessee
550
cattle hugelkultur cat dog trees chicken bee homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here is the annual USDA honey report. Interesting data.

https://www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/fvmhoney.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0S7A_zF7YgApXvACNJMWFSur3Ul4l4iLM0LS57Uu6rR3FeWzuGwlnb_h4

I think it also shows there is still a loooong way to go to improve beekeeping in general towards a more natural approach. Read the written reports from several of the states then read this recent news article ... argh!!!

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/07/honeybees-deaths-almonds-hives-aoe
 
pollinator
Posts: 2602
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
191
forest garden solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Very informative, I dont have any reference point for alot of the numbers, but I did see that they are feeding CORN SYRUP to the bees in Minnesota.  
 
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 4125
Location: SW Missouri
1603
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
To me the encouraging part of that article linked is this section:

The Guardian wrote: “We don’t have pests; we have biodiversity,” says Anderson, who primarily sells directly to individual customers through his Anderson Almonds company. Unlike large industrial almond farms that strip the orchard ground bare to more efficiently treat for insects and fungi, Anderson allows a rich understory to grow, which naturally nourishes the soil and strengthens the trees.

Anderson hires a “beekeeper hobbyist” from northern California every spring to install about 20 hives in his orchard. “We have the opposite of colony collapse at my farm,” says Anderson. “My beekeeper brings weak hives down that he wants to recharge on my property.”



It not only shows a path out of this horrifying mess of abused bees, but it might be an income source for us permies. If you are running good diversity, being paid to be a bee spa might be an interesting way to bring in random cash. I know of several people who trade out honey for beehives on their property, but cash might be useful too, if you market to the people who need their hives to recharge.
 
pollinator
Posts: 3474
Location: Toronto, Ontario
458
hugelkultur dog forest garden fungi trees rabbit urban wofati cooking bee homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think that's a really cool idea, Pearl. My only reservation would be that it would, to extend the analogy, be like having a spa your bees go to in order to recharge and recover from all that's making them sick outside, basically so they can get healthy enough to go work in that toxicity again.

I think it would be a great idea if it were more of a bee rehab two-parter, whereby the bees stay at the rehab/retreat/spa, maybe for a whole season and overwinter there, and their normal stomping grounds, from which they've been removed, are then remediated over a season, with the fastest nutrient-cycling possible, and an overseeding of desired species to stock the soil seed bank.

Thus, the rejuvenated, rehabilitated bees return from the bee spa to find that their territory has started to resemble the place they went where they got all healthy and happy, and they stay healthy and happy.

And maybe this approach is so successful that it is widely adopted, and so much land is transformed under the bee spa model that they stop being unique in the landscape, because that's just how everyone keeps their marginal or underutilised space.

-CK
 
pollinator
Posts: 2408
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
224
books composting toilet bee rocket stoves wood heat homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Pearl - the market dynamic is the other way around. Farmers pay beekeepers large sums to bring their hives to their farms to pollinate crops. No beekeeper is likely to pay a farmer for the privilege of pollinating their fruit trees.

Furthermore, systems that involve moving bees around the country - eg chasing almond pollination, or particular nectar flows, are a fundamental harm to bees and beekeeping. WHen bees are moved form one area to another they carry their diseases from one local bee population to another. The end result is taht diseases that used to take 100 years to cross a continent now spread in a season. Each new strain spreads virulently, without bees having time to evolve and stabilise their population dynamics.

This "bee spa" may rejuvenate and individual colony, but at a cost of contributing to the wider problems.
 
Chris Kott
pollinator
Posts: 3474
Location: Toronto, Ontario
458
hugelkultur dog forest garden fungi trees rabbit urban wofati cooking bee homestead
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The other issue is stockage rates. How many square feet of pollinator habitat will there be per hive? How many hives per season will the spa be able to service, especially considering that the more populations move around and mix, as Michael said, the quicker disease spreads. These spas would, therefore, need to be local to the bees needs.

To be clear, I think that planting more bee forage and habitat, and doing away with schemes to move hives around for profit, are goals to which we should aspire.

I think planting intentional bee oases is a better growth plan. I greatly admire the attempt at biodiversity by the almond orchardist, especially as almond monocrops are notoriously devoid of food for bees.

I think that the more likely income source for us permies is as polycultural orchardists and/or food foresters that don't have to shell out to beekeepers to pollinate our crops because not only may we keep our own, but we have all different possible varieties of pollinator besides honeybees, and we have so many feral swarms nesting opportunistically on-site that we have to keep empty hives set up to house them all, just so we don't find them in the walls of our houses.

-CK
 
Our first order of business must be this tiny ad:
2020 SKIP: Skills to Inherit Property (PEP1) event --July 12-25th, Wheaton Labs
https://permies.com/wiki/skip-2020
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!