Re: benign beekeeping?
good replies all.
i tend to agree with jim, in the case of sol's hives there's not reliable way to 'know' why they didn't make it.
and to the larger question, and the point of the thread,
my view is that if one assumes that the colony is challenged by the impact of the beekeeper, then the beekeeper is obligated to be 'hands on' in helping the bees out if they get in trouble.
if the colony has dwindled to the point of no return, and if it is because it is from the lack of traits that enable resistance, and if that colony is unlikely to pass it's genetics on anyway....
there's really no point in letting it die. my approach would be to help it out, and change the genetics.
hobbiests and sideliners are in a better position to micromanage colonies in this way. it may not be feasable for those with hundreds or thousands of hives.
beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf