Both Paul and Jacqueline question the conventional beekeepers' approach; moreover, the harm caused by common practices. Specifically noting opening the hive weekly, allowing cooler air which leads to condensation to enter. Jacqueline quickly places plexiglass over the opening should she need to observe the hive. In addition, they agree that harvesting should only occur during the "flow" aka the explosion of blooms in the spring. Mixing sugar water or high fructose food for the bees in second rate food, expensive and according to Paul "a lot of unnecessary work".
Further discussion regarding the boom in beekeeping and that only 7 companies are responsible for 95% of the colonies sold. The bee kits with plastic combs should be assessed. There is a growing school of thought that, unlike the marketing of bigger/better bees & bigger pre-fab combs, smaller bees have great advantage including lessening the effects of mites' laid in the cell with the bee larva. Bigger bees are in the cell longer with the growing mite. Another marketing tool is the hybrid bee, bred to be "mite resistant" when in fact there isn't enough long term knowledge and through observation they seem to be bred to be OCD about grooming - CAUTION~ Other are breeding for calm and friendly bees. These companies are mass producing bees for sale with disregard to quality. Jacqueline notes that you must ensure that the bees come from your region. A bee from an arid region will not acclimate well in a wet environment and so on.
They talk about swarming and the natural way a queen vacates the hive, soars towards the sun in a fashion that only the fastest, strongest drone could catch & mate with her; therefore, a natural partnering of healthy strong bees. Paul noted how unfair it seems to artificially inseminate a queen when she mates only once - bee rape is bad!
Discussion continues to the withdrawal or weening bees or any animal from toxic pest treatments or additives/antibiotics. It's a slow and costly process with notable losses of life. Inputting antibiotics, toxins etc all but eliminates natural defences. Paul mentions a friend that invested years and lost many rabbits through 8 generations until their natural defences were rebuilt. The same holds true for bees that come from an environment of additives and poisons.
They ended with teasing about the next podcast where they will talk about collecting swarms, setting up empty hives with essential oils.....stay tuned. Personally, I can't wait!
That cliff-hanger ending is just plain cruel! I've been wondering for the past year if putting out an empty hive and waiting for someone to find it might work here. I so much want to bring honey bees into the mix on my little plot of land, but we're miles from the nearest beekeepers. I need all the tips I can get on how to bring a swarm in.
This made me think of the posts I've been following from Seth's Blog (Seth Roberts http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seth_Roberts) about eating a bit of honey before bed and how it improved his sleep. I've tried the same thing and can say that for me it certainly makes me more alert and quick the next day. The evolutionary explanation Seth gives is that sleep is the time for the brain to reboot and do all kinds of different sleep cycles. The brain needs energy to focus and run those processes. The complex sugars and other things in honey are a super food for your brain so they can optimize the sleep processes during the night. I'd suggest trying it for 3 or 4 days and see if you experience similar results.
I'm prepping to start bees: What are the safest companies to buy bees from? I want to catch a hive, but I think I'm pretty far back in line for the available ones in our region. (Central Valley California - Foothills) Any advice will be appreciated. Thank you!
CJ: I see the WolfCreek link. I'm in CA, not PA. I was hoping to get an instate bee supply as a backup to catching a swarm. There's no other link on there. Approx 100 is a lot to invest knowing it won't be suited to this clime.
For Jacqueline, with regard to the flight of the queen and her getting some sunshine - something you might want to explore for your book (if it's not done yet?) Is Schumann's resonance, which is the resonance of the earth with it's atmosphere at 7.82 or 3 Hz, whenever we are outside we are bathed in it. Some experiments were done in the 70s keeping people underground and found that it was critical for general well-being. Given bees sensitivity to magnetic fields, I would hazard a guess that this woul significantly contribute to the benefits of allowing the queen to fly freely in her own time.