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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Lebanon
    Posts
    6

    Default We create a problem and then look for the solution

    Hello everyone.

    I have been keeping bees for some time now. Where I live we have the local bees that are not hybridized or grown for certain traits. These bees are VERY aggressive. I have learned to protect myself heavily to avoid getting stung. I sometimes get attacked if I get too close. Hives vary in progressiveness but they all will attack during inspection. However... I do not use medication on these bees. I do not worry about mites. They are left alone for long periods of time and failures tend to happen when I make mistakes... not the bees. Last year I got a colony that occupied a small box. I put this box on top of a deep and they have built on top of it. This colony is working very well and is actually highly productive... till now.

    Now... when I decided to go for calmer bees I got two imported queens. These were larger than local bees. They were lighter in color. They were supposed to be more productive and they were definitely calm. I left them for some time until the new generation came and the old died so that all the bees were from the new queens. Then came trouble. I opened the hives to find a lot of dead larvae at the bottom. There was a thick layer of dead bees that looked like they were infested with a fungal infection or something like it. This was the first time I ever saw this in a bee colony. In addition, I started to see mites on bees. I would have bees crawling in front of the hives and upon inspection would find mites clinging to them. Needless to say, these bees did not survive the winter and I got rid of the hives.

    Here's the thing... We try to control nature in the way we see fit and it comes back to haunt us. We want bees to be like cows... produce a lot and be very passive about it. The problem is that naturally occurring things are there because they have adapted to the environment. Like I said at the beginning... I keep bees with minimal interference. They do their thing and I come at the end and take some honey. I rely on the bees' ability to survive naturally without the use of medication. Colonies that survive are my source for new colonies. Those that die were just not fit enough. If I have to live with their aggressiveness... so be it. I do not worry about diseases. I have not seen hive beetles and I hope I never do.

    It appears... from my experience... that bees' aggressiveness, among other traits, is part of its natural defense against the elements. Possibly, more aggressive bees are less tolerant of mites and will clean them off more readily. I will not go into the science of it as that will need research... but the idea is that bees were better off before we started interfering in their traits. We favored the weaker ones and then started introducing medicines to treat the weaknesses we created. The more we did it the weaker they became and the more chemicals we had to use. And the further we go the weaker they will get.

    The reason I am writing this in the CCD forum is that it is my opinion that the solution for the problem is not in research that will lead us to more 'conditioning' of the bees. It is in actually going back using 'natural' bees. We should look for native bees that have adapted to the environment and use those. Want more honey? get more hives... not less bees that produce more at a cost to their health and continuity. I was watching a documentary, I think it was "More Than Honey", and one beekeeper mentioned growing Africanized Bees and actually saying they had the same experience I have with my bees: no medicine and better health of bees. We are so scared of being stung that any aggressive bee colony becomes a monster to us. For them... they are defending their home.

    Anyway... I had this on my mind for some time. I thought I might write it down.

    Hope this helps someone.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    richland center, wisconsin USA
    Posts
    291

    Exclamation Re: We create a problem and then look for the solution

    Well thought out.... indeed...
    "Anytime you see someone more successful than you are, they are doing something you aren't."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Walker, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    900

    Default Re: We create a problem and then look for the solution

    While this sounds great on the surface, once you think about it you begin to see the flaws. Imagine, for instance, moving hives like this across country. Imagine the damages and chaos. Think about hundreds of thousand hives in almonds and imagine if they were this aggressive. Imagine trying to keep these aggressive bees in the backyard as so many hobbyists do.

    So, while this may be a solution to bee problems, it would also be a source of bee problems. They'd just be different problems.

    JMO

    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Lebanon
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: We create a problem and then look for the solution

    Well... here's the thing.

    I have dealt with these bees for a long time. I have also had them close to homes. The bees are aggressive only when you work with them. By nature, when left alone, they do not do anything. Keep away from them and they will keep away from you. If I were to stand on the side of the hive or behind it they would not do anything. If I stand in front of it and block their path... I would get in trouble.

    As for moving bees... it is risky anyway. I do not know about the almond areas and the processes involved in moving them there and back. However, I do know that the native bees I have do not suffer from the sicknesses I see people complaining about. They avoid people when in flight and do not initiate an attack if not provoked.

    Anyway... I am just stating what I am experiencing here.... and am offering something for people to think about.

    Finally... as I already said above... it is a necessity if we are to help the bees survive... helping ourselves in the process.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Fort Walton Beach, Florida
    Posts
    1,256

    Default Re: We create a problem and then look for the solution

    Rusty, sometimes I wonder if migratory beekeeping has good longterm prospects anyway. The migratory guys have to deal with a lot of colony stresses that non-migratory beekeepers can avoid.
    Ray--1 year, 7 hives, TF

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