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Bee Sustainable

 
Robert Ray
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Not sure where to post could fall under a lot of titles

http://www.nextworldtv.com/videos/growing-food/bee-sustainable.html
 
Shawn Bell
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Cool video, thanks for posting.
 
                    
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Location: Phoenixville, PA
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Its just good to see some people starting to "get it."

I would love to get bees, but my wife is allergic  
 
tel jetson
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(warning: bad attitude ahead.)

"over 80% of the food supply is connected to the work of the bee population"

what does that even mean?  that is so many different kinds of vague.  the 80% figure makes it sound like something very important is going on, but there isn't much indication of what that is.  the video's focus on honey bees suggests that the statement concerns honey bees.  but there are very few plants that have an obligate relationship with honey bees.  and what does "connected to" mean?  pollinating insects, of which honey bees are the most familiar, are important.  beekeeping isn't really that important, unless the goal is to make possible huge plantations of mostly lifeless orchards.

Einstein was a smart chap.  I'm pretty sure civilization could survive the demise of the honey bee, though.  it's possible that we would even be better off.

the hive in the video appeared to be in the middle of a whole lot of bare dirt that was recently turned over.  in Hawai'i.  never been to Hawai'i myself, but I believe that most of it is at least hot, and largely both hot and wet.  conditions under which bare dirt is roughly a terrible idea.  maybe it was just in preparation for some crazy awesome planting of hugely diverse plants that would be great for the bees, but I'm skeptical.

(very slightly better attitude)

I think honey bees are great.  I keep a couple of hives.  honey is delicious and useful for a great many things.  honey bees are passable pollinators.  but all the hyperbole that gets thrown around about them has gotten rather tedious over the last decade.

the honey bee industry is just one more part of the damaging industrial food system.  it doesn't need our help, it needs our loud criticism.  the folks who made the video obviously had good intentions, and it seems likely that they aren't advocating support for industrial operations.  there are, however, plenty of backyard and small-scale beekeepers who follow all the nasty practices common in the larger industry.  that was not addressed at all in the video.

is local poisoned honey better than imported poisoned honey?  probably it is, but only marginally.

apologies for all that.  I guess folks unfamiliar with this stuff have to start somewhere.  just seems like what could be a solid foundation for building additional knowledge gets all mixed up from the get go.  how about this: 80% of bee videos are connected to misleading information.
 
Robert Ray
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I'm not going to argue the 80% it is an unsubstantiated claim in the video, but there are some good ideas expressed, hive rental for instance that could add to an income.
I do however think that there are a tremendous number of plants that do have an obligate connection to honey bees.
I fail to see how we could be better off without them, but am open to listen to how that could be.
Producing a video doesn't always put your subject matter in its ideal position so whether or not the video's hive location is a true and accurate depiction is also something I am unable to answer to.
Bees have been kept by civilization for an extremely long time and was developed and managed far earlier than what I personally call the industrialized food system.
How about this the video could have been a divided into a couple different ones and been better.

Some plants claimed to be dependent on bees for pollination on this link:

http://extension.illinois.edu/~vista/html_pubs/BEEKEEP/CHAPT8/chapt8.html

UK telegraph and Einsteins Comments a little insight into Colony Collapse Disorder and what happened in China when pesticides killed bees:
  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/8306970/Einstein-was-right-honey-bee-collapse-thre3atens-global-food-security.html
 
                    
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Robert Ray wrote:
... hive rental for instance that could add to an income.


That is one of the problems with industrial beekeeping, IMO. Hive rental involves moving the hives, which stresses the bees. Then the bees are exposed to other bees, which puts them at increased risk of diseases and parasites. Then the bees are transported to another rental site or back home to spread the problem.

Rather than have high-pesticide monoculture almonds or blueberries that 'requires' that bees be trucked in and out using fossil fuels, permaculture should seek to heal the ecosystem with local hives that are not moved, along with wild pollinators (bumble bees, orchard mason bees, etc.).
 
Robert Ray
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Would leaving a rental hive permanently and not moving it be an answer? 
Maintaining a hive on someone elses land, collecting the honey and having enough plants from someone elses labor to support the hive would be a bonus.
  Even if you lend lease and teach someone renting your hive would be a cool way to spread the knowledge. Might be less intimidating to an initiate to have a mentor.
 
                    
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Many bee keepers 'rent' places to put hives - they are parked on a semi-permanent basis even when the keeper does not own the land. Often the payment is a few jars of the honey.  Or payment could flow the other way, as you suggest - people might pay for the pollination services, no problem.  I see either of these as preferable to interstate trucking of hives, better for the bees, more in tune with ecological development.
 
T. Joy
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I like those mason bees myself, gonna build some homes for them and place them randomly around the city.
 
Robert Ray
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I'd prefer the semi permanent idea. I did get gas this morning with a truckload of bees next to me heading to orchards down south.
 
Steven Baxter
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OMG, so funny. I use to work at his restaurant for 5 years as a cook. Alan Wong is so awesome and really a huge huge supporter and contributor to Hawaii's local farmers. He is the real deal when it comes to being connected to his products. We would go on field trips all the time to different farms. So happy to see this.
 
John Polk
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As a side note, half of the commercial honey bees in the US are trucked to California's almond orchards each year.  That, however is not enough.  Plane loads of hives are also flown in from Australia for the annual almond crop.

If you would like bees to help you around the farm/forest, but do not want the expense of starting up (or management), contact your nearest Ag College, or local bee keepers Assn.  They will likely have somebody who would be happy to set up a hive at your site.
 
tel jetson
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Robert Ray wrote:
I do however think that there are a tremendous number of plants that do have an obligate connection to honey bees.

Some plants claimed to be dependent on bees for pollination on this link:

http://extension.illinois.edu/~vista/html_pubs/BEEKEEP/CHAPT8/chapt8.html


I checked the link.  I don't believe any of the plants mentioned are pollinated exclusively by honey bees.  seriously.  not one of them.  the language the author of the page uses makes it difficult to know if he or she is referring to only honey bees.  other pollinating bees and other insects are alluded to.  several of the plants mentioned are native to the Americas, which don't have any indigenous honey bees.  I would be very surprised to find out that a plant is adapted to only be pollinated by a creature that wasn't around until very recently.

Robert Ray wrote:
I fail to see how we could be better off without them, but am open to listen to how that could be.


it isn't that we would be better off without them, it's that we would be better off without the nasty habits that honey bees allow to go on.  one example: if honeybees weren't available to transport into a giant almond orchard for pollination, the managers of that orchard would have to look to other means of pollination.  pesticides wouldn't be an option any more because they would kill the pollinators.  herbicides wouldn't be an option because that would destroy the habitat that supports the pollinators.  there are examples of commercial use of other species, so I might be giving industrial agriculture too much credit, but a lack of honey bees might force them to adopt more reasonable practices.

Robert Ray wrote:
Producing a video doesn't always put your subject matter in its ideal position so whether or not the video's hive location is a true and accurate depiction is also something I am unable to answer to.


you're right.  compromise is necessary sometimes when trying to appeal to a wide audience.  I get that.  it was just sort of the icing on the cake, you know?  like I said, I'm sure intentions were good.

Robert Ray wrote:
Bees have been kept by civilization for an extremely long time and was developed and managed far earlier than what I personally call the industrialized food system.


absolutely.  and plenty of folks try to honor that long relationship through thoughtful beekeeping.  but we're in a small minority.  the vast majority of beehives reflect the modern bias toward technological solutions to problems created by technology.

Robert Ray wrote:
Would leaving a rental hive permanently and not moving it be an answer? 
Maintaining a hive on someone elses land, collecting the honey and having enough plants from someone elses labor to support the hive would be a bonus.
  Even if you lend lease and teach someone renting your hive would be a cool way to spread the knowledge. Might be less intimidating to an initiate to have a mentor.


the farm I used to work for had an arrangement along these lines.  a friend of the farm left hives there, except during flood season when the bees weren't active.  the bees pollinated crops that needed it, and the farm bought the honey for a substantial discount.  the beekeeper didn't follow the most enlightened practices when I first showed up, but his day job involved engineering pharmaceuticals, so that wasn't surprising.  over time, as the chemicals he relied on didn't save his colonies, he got wise and finally adopted organic practices.

it's a reasonable compromise, though far from the best we could do.  the main crop that needed pollination on that farm was squash, for example.  two genera of bees are adapted very well to pollinate squash and other cucurbits.  they're called, unsurprisingly, squash bees, and they do the job better than honey bees so long as some of their habitat needs are given consideration.

Jonathan Byron wrote:
Rather than have high-pesticide monoculture almonds or blueberries that 'requires' that bees be trucked in and out using fossil fuels, permaculture should seek to heal the ecosystem with local hives that are not moved, along with wild pollinators (bumble bees, orchard mason bees, etc.).


exactly.  it isn't widely acknowledged by industry or media that many insects are rather more effective pollinators than honey bees.  honey bees are decent generalists and more easily managed, but there are other more specialized pollinators that do the job as well as other generalists that don't produce honey.
 
Robert Ray
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The video doesn't identify honey bees as the only bee species pollinator.
Neither does the Illinois link "the following midwestern crops must be pollinated by bees"  doesn't identify the honey bee as the only pollinator though the article body does make one jump to that conclusion. So I agree both the video and the article are lacking in just what bee is pollinating the crops.

That being said the production of honey requires honey bees, a recent North American immigrant, and an off shoot of their presence assists in increased pollination of crops and a bonus of mead making material I'm in.

Getting people to taper back on the use of bee killing pesticides is a win for me too.
Honey bees might be a good indicator (canary in the coal mine) of other insect pollinators affected by pesticides since it is an observable static hive we interact with.
 
tel jetson
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Robert Ray wrote:
That being said the production of honey requires honey bees, a recent North American immigrant, and an off shoot of their presence assists in increased pollination of crops and a bonus of mead making material I'm in.


right on.  I've got fifteen gallons of mead bulk aging right now.  that's been my currency lately.  honey's good medicine, too, as are other hive materials.

Robert Ray wrote:
Getting people to taper back on the use of bee killing pesticides is a win for me too.
Honey bees might be a good indicator (canary in the coal mine) of other insect pollinators affected by pesticides since it is an observable static hive we interact with.


very true.  before it was honey bees disappearing, it was amphibians with too many legs or no brains or other issues.  that doesn't seem to have slowed things down, unfortunately.
 
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