Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Adopt The Pace of Nature

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Honey bees have been around on the earth for over 80 million years, and man's relationship with bees goes back many thousands of years, to well before the Romans changed the calendar. Bee colonies have successfully populated this planet long before humans existed. To understand why bee colonies are dying all over America, you have to understand what humans are doing to these colonies. Wikipedia-Beekeeping

For example, beekepers buy in the queen bees for their hives... Wait a minute! They 'buy' the queen bees? In the natural world the hives would produce queens, but modern Apiaries buy and sell the bees and they buy or sell the queens. Potentially, you are in danger of transferring disease from one area to another area, and from one bee hive to another bee hive using these methods. This is apart from the fact that natural bee colonies usually produce their own queens. There is probably a natural reason for this.

The next problem is the beekeepers are breeding the bee colonies to make money. Everyone wants to make money. The farmers need the bees to pollinate the plants and the beekeepers need the bees to produce honey. Life for the local bee has become one of high stress. In humans stress can lead to a lowering of the immune system. The beekeepers also drive the bee hives across America, then later they drive them to another location. This can also cause the bees a lot of stress.

"You have got to be kidding right! They drive the bees all over the country?"

Yes, and that is another factor potentially leading to the spread of disease.

Then you have the high stress factor within the function of the hives as a result of human interference. The beekeepers want to produce more honey, because they can then sell more honey and make more money. Bees produce honey for the health and survival of the colony. Beekeepers take the honey and feed the bee colonies refined sugar. Over many generations the bees no longer receive the natural enzymes from the honey they produce, which is a necessary part of building a healthy bee immune system.

Most of the substances the bees produce for the health and welfare of the bee colony are taken from the hives. This includes Propolis (a natural antibiotic), Gelee-Royal and bee-pollen. The whole natural cycle of worker bees and nurse bees are being managed by humans to meet human needs, and this is no longer meeting the highly organised way of life of the bees. The colonies are being manipulated out of their natural cycle to provide humans with either breeding farms or honey production.

Most beekeepers are interested in a surplus of honey. Maximal honey production occurs when the most workers bees (both foragers and ripeners) are present at the exact same time that nectar-producing flowers (in both numbers and nectar production) are also at an optimum. For pollination, both the grower and beekeeper are looking for a surplus of foraging honey bees. Package bee and queen producers try to have as many nurse (young worker) bees as possible on hand. Queen breeders also try to manage drone population numbers.

Queens can live for as long as five years but most commercial beekeepers replace them every two years, often yearly. That means the beekeepers kill the queens. This is done to exerting control over the hive, to prevent swarming, aggression and to keep honey production at a maximum. Queens come from commercial queen suppliers. This human behaviour is seriously messing up the natural breeding patterns of the bee colonies.

Many queens live five years and some up to nine years, but vitality decreases with age. The aging process is hastened by a high demand to lay eggs. Most beekeepers prefer to replace the queen before she begins to fail. This can be a yearly process, but most requeen every other year. Requeening is relatively inexpensive, especially when you consider the production loss and generally weakened colony due to a failing queen.

The beekeepers take the honey from the hives and feed the bees sugar over the winter, and the bees get lowered immune systems - because honey is a complete food. Honey has antibiotic properties, it is full of enzymes, it has minerals the bees require for health... The best bee food is ripe honey. Beekeepers often set aside dark, strong flavored, or other low-value honey to feed bees during emergencies. If you do not have honey reserves, make a syrup from equal volumes of pure cane sugar and water. Bring the water to a boil and remove from the heat. Stir in the sugar until it dissolves.

as a substitute to combat the many deadly infestations facing the bee colonies the beekeepers feed the bees an assortment of human made antibiotics. Many organic beekeepers consider that bacterial and mite infestations effecting bee colonies are due to a lowering of the immune defences of the bees. It is even possible that the mites and the bacteria are becoming immune to the range of antibiotics beekeepers use on the hives. Add to this the coctail of pesticides sprayed annually on the plants, crops and trees...

The natural system is not breaking down, humans are actively killing it.

The most important requirements for organic beekeeping:
*-Organic bee colonies must be situated such that within a radius of 3 km from the apiary site, nectar and pollen sources consist essentially of of organically or very extensively produced crops and/or natural vegetation.

*-The hives must be basically made of natural materials, without synthetic paints, varnishes, preservatives. Agents for pest control as well as cleaning& disinfection are limited to a few permitted agents (annex 2B and Annex E).

*-The bee wax for new foundations must in principle originate from organic production units and must not be treated with unallowed pest control agents. Normally, the wax has to be replaced by certified organic wax during the conversion year.

*-At end of production season the hives must be left with reserves of honey and pollen sufficiently abundant to survive the period without nectar/honeydew. Artificial feeding of colonies is only allowed as exception and on with certified organic honey or otherwise organically produced sugar products.

*-Diseases must be prevented as far as possible. If in spite of preventions the colonies become sick or infested, legally permitted phytotherapeutic and homeopathic products shall be used in preference to allopathic products. Use of allopathic medication for preventive treatment is prohibited. For treatment of Varroa jacobsoni only the following products are permitted: formic acid, lactic acid, acetic acid, oxalic acid or menthol, thymol, eucalythus, camphor.

*-Appropriate breed shall be chosen with regard to optimal adaptation to local conditions and disease resistance. NO genetically altered bee species may be used. In principle bees for organic apiaries must originate from certified organic apiaries. For first certification, all colonies (not certified organic yet) will undergo one year conversion period.

*-Use of synthetic repellents during harvest is prohibited. Destruction of bees in the combs as a method associated with the harvesting of beekeeping products is prohibited. Removal of supers and the honey extraction must be duly documented. All handling activities must assure that the organic products are not commingled with other products and not contaminated.

*-All apiaries in the same area must be managed organically.

With all things and in all things, we are relatives. - Sioux
Effective Microorganism was developed by Professor Dr. Teruo Higa, at the University of Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan in 1970’s. The fundamental principle of this technology was the introduction of a group of beneficial microorganisms to improve the efficacy of organic matter utilization by crops.

Bee Pollen is among the oldest known dietary supplements. Its use as a rejuvenator and medicine date back to the early Egyptians and ancient Chinese. It has been called many things, from a fountain of youth to an "ambrosia of the gods." The Greek physician Hippocrates, sometimes called the father of modern medicine, used it as a healing substance 2,500 years ago. It is rich in vitamins, especially B vitamins, and contains trace amounts of minerals, elements, amino acids, and enzymes.

Colony collapse disorder, is when flourishing hives are suddenly depopulated leaving few, surviving bees in that colony. The queen bee is found with just a small number of young worker bees. No dead bees are found either inside or outside the hive.

The fact that other bees or parasites seem to shun the emptied hives raises suspicions that some kind of toxin or chemical is keeping the insects away, Cox-Foster said. Bees found in devastated colonies all seem to be infected with multiple micro-organisms, which cause stress-related illness in bees.