Urban Beekeeping: The story begins...
page 4

Aerial spraying
Aerial spraying for mosquito control over Sacramento
As some additional background, a beekeeper intending on a more self-sustained colony will not harvest all the honey from the hive at the end of the season, but leave some for the colony to last through the winter.  Some of the more industrialized beekeepers tend to be more harsh about their treatment of the bees, including dumping the entire colony to get all the honey, and then "re-queening" in the spring to start anew, using sugar water and protein paddies to feed the new bees until they have established a sufficient reserve of honey of their own.  Many times this queen is imported from elsewhere, which creates the disadvantage of trying to establish bees that may not be as genetically acclimated to the environment or have the same immunity to the local hazards such as some types of fungus, mites, or other parasites. These elements are suspected and blamed by some as the source for Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).  In my opinion I think the problem is more complex and likely more induced by man by such industrial practices just described that tend to undermine the bees immunity and robustness to their local habitat.  A healthy stronger bee is likely to better handle the adversity around it.  More prolific and advanced pesticides, many of which the side effects are still not fully understood or disclosed to the general public are likely another culprit for the failure of  bee colonies.  It is convenient to label such problems with such a monolithic cause as CCD, but perhaps that just tends to create a scapegoat in the form of an unknown mystery, diverting the public’s eye from the more fundamental causes. 

Covered in pollenOrganic farms tend to rely much more heavily on the value of beneficial insects and how to balance them to use to their advantage as an alternative to pesticides.  When you consider the advantages from the health standpoint (i.e. not ingesting pesticides) and lower cost of trying to harmonize your garden with the insect world around you, it is then that you realize the negative consequences of going to pesticides as a gardening or farming solution. Monolithic crops and lack of rotation tend to aggravate the insect issue in the negative direction, while diversity tends to give harmful insects and other predators less of an established foothold to build on and multiply, while at the same time encouraging more beneficial insects to keep the bad ones in check (i.e. ladybugs versus aphids).  Some in the organic gardening community have the cynical belief that these pesticide companies view beneficial insects as both their competition and source of business.  "Win-win" in business speak comes to mind on their motivation for eradication. If you wish to support the good cause and vote with your wallet, then try buying more organically grown food.


Follow one of the links to continue:  next  prev  page: 1 2 3 4 5 6