[permaculture] Are mobile phones wiping out our bees?
efmonaco at comcast.net
Sun Apr 22 14:47:56 EDT 2007
The reference to feed was in starting a new hive either from: package bees;
a nucleus colony (a nuc); or what's known as Full Colony Increase. I did
not fed my hive that wintered over; there was plenty of honey from last year
and they made it through the winter fine. It's the 2 nucs that are getting
fed to help them build comb so they can get online in time for the honey
flow, plus I'm unsure about the food supply. 4 years ago, I got a nuc in
mid-April and before the middle of June they had drawn out a deep and an
Illinois (a medium) full of brood and honey, plus they drew out 2 honey
supers and filled them with honey. We extracted the 2 supers and then they
filled them again during the fall. They say the worst thing that can happen
to a gambler is that they win the first time out. Well we later found out
that that year was a 15-year bumper crop.
Years after, the nucs floundered and couldn't get going. I had a number of
them die. So I decided to look into feeding them at the critical stages.
If they miss the spring flow, the colony will be small and weak going into
the hot dry and largely foodless summer; and then if the fall flow is
insufficient, they will die next winter. Better to feed then lose the
colony. The line is hard to discern.
The other factor is the crazy weather. If the bees, (like the oaks did this
year) get off kilter, they can run out of food.
I run into people all the time who say their father or grandfather or
grandmother or somebody from their family in the past was a beekeeper. But
the knowledge gets lost. More people should try it again to learn first
hand the challenges, also to help awareness of what to plant and what not to
Finally, I have not tried top bar hives yet, but they seem very
permacultural given the low initial cost. The downside is that you lose the
comb each year and the brood will be mixed in with the honey if you rob it.
And you have to destroy it to rob it. Seems kind of destructive on the
surface, but I'm sure there's a way to make it work like anything else. I'd
like to try it in the future, especially if and when I can get some hives in
some areas that have way more good food available than there are bees to
collect it. I know one beekeeper who thinks you should destroy the comb
every year anyway, but I have not found this to be the way of nature. When
a swarm leaves the hive, splitting the colony, the old colony still carries
on in the same tree unless destroyed by a bear or raccoon or something.
This is the way of the beekeeper. Ask one question and get 5 answers.
From: "Charles de Matas" <cdematas at hotmail.com>
Subject: [permaculture] Are mobile phones wiping out our bees?
My father was a beekeper and I rarely knew him to feed his bees. I thought
that a good beekeper should strive to leave enough honey in the hives for
the bees to get through the off-season. Feeding bees, even with 'natural
cane' sugar should not be a standard procedure, but only an emergency
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