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Thread: Herbs for bees

  1. #1
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    Question Herbs for bees

    If you use organic herbs to help bees immune systems, would you consider that treatment or just doing what bees have done for thousands of years? Not saying using them to combat pest or diseases but to help raise the bees natural immune system.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Herbs for bees

    Lets say thyme would help combat nosema, or eucalyptus for disentary. What are your thoughts.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Herbs for bees

    I would ask a couple questions:

    First, what evidence shows that these things do what you say they will? From the surveys I've seen, I'd say any effects are within the realm of the margin of error, but I haven't done the actual math.

    Second, what makes these items any different than any other treatment aside from the fact that they don't work as well?

    Third, how is this what bees have done for thousands of years? Collecting nectar and pollen from these plants is not the same as distilling the essential oils, mixing them in sugar water and feeding them.

    Fourth, how is dependence on essential oils much different than dependence on any other chemical? Shouldn't our goal be to create bees that don't need any inputs whatsoever?

    I know people just want to help, but bees aren't people, they aren't farm animals, they aren't children, and they aren't pets. Anything you do to 'help' them combat disease hinders their natural resistance to that disease. That means when you're not there (because they've swarmed or whatever) they're going to be at a distinct disadvantage. At the very least, we should be harder on them so that the survivors have a better chance in the long run. The concepts of epigenetics show that the best thing for disease resistance is for constant disease pressure. That's ultimately what treatment-free beekeeping is about, letting the bees take care of the problem all by themselves.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Herbs for bees

    My take on it is this - if you use an herb it is a treatment. If you plant herbs near your hive with the hope that the bees will visit it and collect whatever from it it is not. I do not consider the Tulip Poplar or Linden that I have planted treatments - rather they are hopefully enhancements to the forage available to the bees that they can decide to take advantage of or not.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Herbs for bees

    Bees are facing challenges, which are not "natural" to them - all pollution etc from the human activity plus we moved bees thousand miles for pollination (spreading diseases) etc. All these happened recently from evolution prospective, thus animals (including bees) had no time to "evolve" and adjust... What is proposed here is nonsense from the scientific point of view - let bees evolve/adjust withing years? Yes, within a 1000 years they will evolve and adjust, but it is just very misleading concept that bees could evolve (read change genome) withing a few years. Also, bees genetic adaptation is slow because the "reproductive cycle" (from one queen to another, natural, not artificially placed) is very slow - a few years. Any genomic adjustments could be made only through a few (!) full reproducing cycles. Re-queening screw up the cycle and must be considered as a treatment since it is introduction of "something" to cure the problem. Sergey

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Herbs for bees

    Well my input on this is I am going to start planting all essential herbs that I can collect and put my garden within a few hundred feet of the hives. No chemicals to unhance the growth. Old fashion weeding on my hands and knees with a hoe, and lots of cow manure. Or is that considered a chemical.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Herbs for bees

    Over the next five years I am going to have my control hive and see what if any effects of these herbs will help or even hinder the hives. I am also in the process of SC regression.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Herbs for bees

    The OP said nothing about essential oils nor about mixing and feeding them.
    Hopefully, the OP will repost to explain what was meant by the term 'using herbs'. I would not consider planting a bunch of herbs near the bee yard treatment any more than planting any other plant the bees 'use' to keep healthy. Nor did the OP claim that any particular herb would do any particular thing other that to put forward what ifs.
    Buzz Abbott
    USDA zone 11a, Western Garden zone 24 (75 ft elev. n34.0w118.47)

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Herbs for bees

    He is stuck on another post which was moved to bee forum because he said it was off topic. We were talking about the bee tea and essential oils used for nosema and disintery. They were Thyme and eucalypse. But in many of my reading on the net I am finding more and more about herb gardens planted for bees for pollination and medicinal purposes. All natural, God made and not messed with by man. I have found many many herbs that can be be planted almost year around to keep bees busy even in dearths. So if this is treatments then you have it all backwards.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Herbs for bees

    You aren't the first to say so and you won't be the last. If you're putting a substance in a hive to help the bees overcome a disease or pest, it's a treatment. That's all there is to it.

    Instead of trying to sneak something under the radar in a contentious online forum, do what I've done for nine years and go totally treatment and manipulation free, developing bees that survive without help and fetch a premium price. It's great fun being able to see the looks on people's faces when they ask what I do for (insert disease here) and I say "nothing".
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Herbs for bees

    As said! I am going treatment free. I am not going to put anything in the hive nor in the feed to manipulate the health of the bees. Instead, I am going to plant the substances that give the bees what they need when they need it. I am not going to be determining if they need this nor that, the bees will know when they need to treat themselves. U don't think they don't know what they need when they are not right. Let the bees be their own doctors and let man think he is superior because he says he does nothing. Congrates on your high price prize.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Herbs for bees

    I have found many many herbs that can bee planted in our gardens that bees will use and benefit from. The list is long and I will post them in a while. I have to get in my hives today and get ready for my new queens tomorrow. These herbs have been tested and proven in studies for many years. They are not what we call treatments, but the bees might be using them as so. I will post them later. On the other note, we have distroyed most of the bees natural plants they use to forage on because of our self-ish self destructive tendancy to take what we want without considering the consequences of our actions. Now we can at least give them back some of what we have taken away without the chemicals that others say we have to use to keep them alive. Let them thrive. The happier the worker the more production one can get.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Herbs for bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Solomon Parker View Post
    You aren't the first to say so and you won't be the last. If you're putting a substance in a hive to help the bees overcome a disease or pest, it's a treatment. That's all there is to it.
    I agree...I just dont understand the argument here...If you put nothing in the hive...then it is treatment free. Plant anything anywhere. Nobody is putting it in the hive...SO ;Is there really an argument? Maybe I am confused.
    "You have to put down the ducky if you wanna play the Saxophone!" Mr .Hoot

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Herbs for bees

    'If you're putting a substance in a hive to help the bees overcome a disease or pest, it's a treatment.'

    You're talking about intent.

    Planting a herb garden with the hopes that it enhances the health of your hive is fine.

    I've got all kinds of herbs growing. Pollinators like them.

    Don't get intimidated by the term 'treatment-free', there's more than one interpretation no matter what the title of forum may be.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Herbs for bees

    Beecrazy,

    Understand that I have some of all of the herbs in my garden. Also know that while Thyme is a source of Thymol, italian Oregano is a much better source of the came compound. The reason that I mention this is that you would need around an acre of thyme for any significant benefit. Whereas a dozen or so well irrigated italian oregano plants will do the same job.

    Also consider:
    greek oregano
    mexican sage
    russian sage
    all lavenders -- spanish, french, english
    all rosemaries
    basils
    geraniums

    Regards -- Fuzzy

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Herbs for bees

    Quote Originally Posted by WLC View Post
    You're talking about intent.
    The forum definition does specify intent.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Herbs for bees

    Intent again.

    Well, we're going to learn to extract essential oils from our herbs with the intent of dipping hive bodies in it to preserve the wood.

    Sort of like mixing bees wax and resin and then frying our wooden ware in it to preserve the wood. Nevermind the essential oils that are produced by the process.

    It's all about intent.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Herbs for bees

    Quote Originally Posted by WLC View Post
    Intent again.
    Would you like the definition to be changed?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Herbs for bees

    'Intent' is a rather large loophole.

    If you going to be an ultra orthodox (read:inflexible) treatment free forum, then I suggest that you do so.

    Unless, of course, you would have so few members left since very few beekeepers could live up to the forum rules.

    My guess is that you're going to have to keep the intent loophole open. Otherwise, you would have to disqualify yourself as moderator.

    Hmmm.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Herbs for bees

    I find the "treatment free" argument that Soloman proposes a little overboard. The reason I say this is if someone adds an herb to sugar syrup because it is beneficial to bees, Soloman seems to call that a treatment, by the same token I could say that if Soloman feeds his bees plain sugar syrup during a dearth, it is a treatment, for the simple fact that he is adding something foreign to the hive. I just don't get the adding beneficial herbs to something you are going to give them anyway automatically makes it a treatment. This argument makes me laugh, it is an entertaining thread though.

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