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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I am confused as to what this forum title means- "Biological Beekeeping"....?

How is this forum different from the general "Bee Forum"?
Is is supposed to be for some sort of 'natural' or 'organic' type of beekeeping methods? Or it is supposed to be about bee biology/anatomy etc?

Thanks for any clarification.
 

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from the forum description...

Discussion of information and application concerning the keeping of bees and production of honey using biological methodology. We seek to understand how the bees operate biologically and then formulate management methods that cooperate, as much as possible, with the bees biology without resorting to the use of chemicals and drugs. The Yin Yang of Beekeeping.
essentially, what bees do naturally, of their own biological accord ,without human intervention. There are beekeepers who seek to study and understand how that works, then make our manipulations and management methods fit into that.

That's my understanding of it.

Big Bear
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
from the forum description...
essentially, what bees do naturally, of their own biological accord ,without human intervention. There are beekeepers who seek to study and understand how that works, then make our manipulations and management methods fit into that.
So, the study of how bees operate without human intervention and manipulation, so that we can better apply our human intervention and manipulation? Doesn't that just fit into the general beekeeping forum?

...We seek to understand how the bees operate biologically and then formulate management methods that cooperate, as much as possible, with the bees biology. The Yin Yang of Beekeeping.
But isn't every BK convinced that they are doing this, even the people who are using tons of medications, manipulations and chemicals? Don't those same BK's strongly feel they too are understanding and working with the bees natural biological cycles?- I certainly get that impression when reading threads. (Not sure what Yin and Yang have to do with it though, unless it's a secret code for 'new age' or 'organic' or something.)

Not trying to be sarcastic, just trying to understand if there's actually a real difference, or if it's partly a perceived difference based on different perspectives.
 

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Actually, no. I do not think 'every" beekeeper is interested in doing things this way or trying to.

Do honey bees go buy fumagillin for themselves? no.
Do they add supers to their hives when they want to make too much honey? no

The intent of the Langstroth beehive, according to the man himself, is to make beekeeping more manageable and accessible to the beekeeper first and foremost. The assumption is, the bees don't care what we do to them.

So there has over the last 100 years or so been developed an management mentality of 'dictation' inferring that the bees will live and work as people dictate they do, under the treatment schedules and manipulations that are best for the interests of the beekeeper/honey producer/migratory pollinator, etc...

Those interested in 'biological' or 'natural' beekeeping have usually decided they are interested in working at things from the other direction. See what it is the bees do on their own and make our manipulations, etc.. fit into the way the bees do things, not the way people necessarily think it should be.

None of these approaches or systems is a 'perfect' approach as nothing ever really is perfect. It is just another way for folks to do what they beleive is a better way for them to do it.

(notice i didn't say a better way for everyone, because that is way to extensive a concept to prove achievable.)

Big Bear
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Actually, no. I do not think 'every" beekeeper is interested in doing things this way or trying to...
The intent of the Langstroth beehive, according to the man himself, is to make beekeeping more manageable and accessible to the beekeeper first and foremost. The assumption is, the bees don't care what we do to them.
So there has over the last 100 years or so been developed an management mentality of 'dictation' inferring that the bees will live and work as people dictate they do, under the treatment schedules and manipulations that are best for the interests of the beekeeper/honey producer/migratory pollinator, etc...
I agree. But what I'm really saying is that I notice from reading that all BKs seem to feel that they understand natural bee biology and tailor their treatments and manipulations to work with the bees' natural habits and seasonal and life cycle. Most BK's who use a lot of medication and chemical/antibiotic treatments on a regular basis say that they are 'doing everything they can to keep their bees healthy and well nourished'. They feel they are working 'with' and helping their bees and that not helping/treating them will result in sick and dead hives. From reading the forums, I get the impression that they really feel their treatment schedules and manipulations are geared to the benefit of the bees, not to their own benefit.
That's why I personally find the forum's 'biological beekeeping' title and definition to be somewhat nebulous.

Those interested in 'biological' or 'natural' beekeeping have usually decided they are interested in working at things from the other direction.
Ok so 'biological beekeeping' is a synonym for 'natural beekeeping'? I can dig that, it's a little clearer.
-Meaning trying to avoid treating the bees with medications, drugs, and pesticides and trying to allow the bees to build and maintain their hives as the bees would choose themselves as much as possible, with less forced manipulation based on human convenience or profit?
If so, well ok then!
I was having trouble getting that from the conceptual 'biological methodology' definitions. It sounded like a forum for entomologists to me. (not too hard to confuse me, my being a new BK)

Sounds like a good forum for me to be in.

Thank you for your clarifications. :)
 

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Hey Omie,

I kind of wish it was titled "organic/Natural". That is where I personally "google" to find info. There are other sites out there dedicated to that premise. I wish Barry would open a forum for that discussion alone. We have had a national conference on the subject for a few years.

I guess there's just to few chemical free bk's to warrant a seperate forum.
 

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Stonefly -

The definition of organic pretty much lines up with this forum's description.

• (of food or farming methods) produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents.

I avoided the use of "organic" on purpose. The term today can mean whatever one wants it to mean.
 

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I did not notice that wording in the discription of the forum.

I would agree with you on the term, "organic". In the BK world it's meaning comes with to many shapes and sizes. Until we get the "system" fixed for certification, it's a mute point.

But I like the term, "natural". That is the term most often used in Ross Conrad's discussions. I guess I wish there were more discussions in this forum on that subject.

Thanks for your imput.
 

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stonefly,

from my perspective, there is a reason that this isn't a high traffic part of beesource.

"organic" isn't just problematic wrt beekeeping, the entire "certified organic" industry basically trades upon their customers not understanding what organic actually means (as regulated by law). there are over 400 chemicals on the exeption list....organic does not mean "produced without chemicals" by any means. the industry, of course, does nothing to educate their customers.

so, organic, natural, biological....all end up meaning what the user decides. how natural? do you use foundation, even a box? only essential oils? organic acids (fwiw, essential oils and organic acids are allowed under all organic honey standards i'm aware of)?

the reason that i don't post here much is that once a discussion includes "natural treatments", the discussion quickly becomes about which natural treatements...which ends us on the same road as any treatments...dependance, and eventual failure.

deknow
 

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what is "natural"? I am inclined to think it is something that originates not being man made or synthetic. Nectar would be natural. It is a product of a plant, and on from there.

Do bees make use of 'natural' treatments on their own? I beleive they do. When bees collect propolis, a natural occurring substance in plants, they use it to treat their hive to cover cracks, cover pests and to otherwise affect ventilation and interior conditions.

When most people refer to "natural treatments" they are referring to the same thing. Using substances and items originating from natural sources to affect the bees or the hive.

To me, there is a strict definition of a "natural treatment" and it only takes into account those substances collected and otherwise un-modified from it's natural source. Meaning, if it is produced as a solid, it is applied as a solid, for example, if I were to take collected propolis and use it to seal gaps in the bottom of a horizontal top bar hive I build, to me, that is a natural treatment.

To me, and this is not the 'dictionary' definition, but the one I have adopted for "organic", is treatments using naturally based substances, but modified to different concentrations or forms (ie from a solid to a liquid, liquid to gas, solid to a powder, etc...) There may be some mixing or combining of these substances.

Then of course, there are the synthetic substances which are made or heavily modified and/or mixed with natural substances by people.

To me, this being titled "biological" beekeeping infers that the focus ion working with bees in a manner that uses observations of their biological or natural instincts and tendencies to manage and otherwise interact with them.

That would tend to eliminate the synthetic substances or treatments since bees do not go out and by fumigillin or honeybee healthy.

I personally also think it heavily limits 'organic' treatments or management as the bees do engage in modifying natural substances into something else, like nectar to honey, pollen to "bee-bread" etc...

However, that's only my opinion and I know I tend to be very conservative about things like this.

Big Bear
 

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I like the naturally grown title as well but I think Biological Beekeeping is a wider view covering treatments and anything else that might come up.

However here is a site for naturally grown products including honey along with some classes. This was mentioned at the North Carolina State summer meeting in 2009, it was mentioned that the organic label for honey could never be obtained according to the governments guidelines. So as I understand it they started the Naturally Grown category.

http://www.naturallygrown.org/natural-honey-workshops/
 

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Thanks for the information and web site. There also is a web site for organic/natural, but it is very poor and hard to access.

I will research the natural certification site more. I am not sure I see the benefit with the exception of marketing. I am more interested in others techniques where it comes to natural keeping, ie; no synthetic chemicals whatever! Using a mirad of low impact treatments.

It seems to work very well for me. Still have a few loses, mostly weak, but compared to my bk friends here who use a game plan with chemicals, they have much higher loses. Thats just my personel perspective.

I manage the best way that works to satisfy my goals, but enjoy gleening from others who use soft management techniques.

Thanks again for sharing.
 

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Hey stonefly7:
I used to keep bees around ten years ago. It was more work than fun. Since coming back to this hobby, and finding Dennis Murell and Michael Bush's websites, the whole experience has changed. I regress my bees using honey super cell. It takes the girls a bit longer to get going but when they do, all is fine. I use the Mann Lake PF-120's above the HSC. My boxes are all medium so I can move frames around between hives as needed. I feed sugar syrup in the spring and fall, and that is all I do. The rest of the time I just add supers. The cool thing is how small the bees have become by the end of the season. I'm sure there are mites in there, but I have yet to see one. So, I am not going to worry about mites at all. I am just going to keep the broodnest open and unlimited. I get most of my education from Dee's group. Lot's of wonderful people going treatment free and succeeding over there.
Timothy
 

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Thank you for the site and information.

I have been in all med's for a long time. Easier for me to manage for many reasons. I have also been treatment free with great success. It's all in the management side, always has been.
I have visited Dee's site. Interesting stuff without a doubt! Though I have not moved to the small cell yet, the results I gleen from others seem pretty good.
 

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I think Barry's summary of the nature of the topic misses something.

I'm having similar problems finding words that work well for the purposes of describing the kind of husbandry that tries to work with nature, and I think it is useful to be explicit about the role of selection.

That is central to biology in the form of natural selection, and to husbandry in the form of the process of deliberatly choosing parentage (as much as one can).

That process is going on both in wild populations and wherever 'organic' or 'natural' beekeepers are being successful in rasining bees that are tolerant of pests and diseases, and is not going on where they are not. It is, in other words, the 'difference maker'.

Selection of the strongest and the best adapted in each generation is the key to health/pest & disease resistance/tolerance.

Upon that foundation it is easy to explain how treatments of all sorts disrupt the process of health maintenance by allowing unhealthy individuals to be parents, against the most basic rule of nature. This view is shared by the 'organics' - although they often understate it.

It might be thought that there would be religious objections, but in practice I've never seen any. Natural selection as a process seems to be accepted by those who reject evolution, even though the two ideas are closely tied in biology.

My suggestions would be that 'selective husbandry' gets to the heart of the issue, and should be considered as a key term to better describe 'biological' beekeeping.

And I agree, there should be a dedicated section of the forum in which things like discussions of the biological mechanisms in play and techniques for raising resistant bees could be facilitated.

Mike

Stonefly -

The definition of organic pretty much lines up with this forum's description.

• (of food or farming methods) produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents.

I avoided the use of "organic" on purpose. The term today can mean whatever one wants it to mean.
 

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I am a new hobby keeper. I would like to do things without any treatments. That is one of the reasons I ordered my bees from BeeWeaver.
http://www.beeweaver.com/
The other thing I think is that unless you are selling honey on a commercial level then to heck with what the law says about labeling something Organic. Don't label it. Just convey that you use no chemicals and don't want to go through the hassels of getting your product registered as Organic.
Has anybody ever visited the Backwards Bee Keeping site? That is a fun site to browse. Very interesting.
http://beehuman.blogspot.com/
Jess
 
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