Friday, August 15, 2008

So Honeybees Right?

While I was in Oregon, I built a trailer to bring back my five remaining hives that were still there, as well as a 1978 Troy Bilt rototiller. I am doing the no-till thing lately, so the tiller will be for preparation, not tilling every year. Anyway, the bees.
Back when I lived in Oregon, before I got the chance to go to college, I was planning on becoming a commercial beekeeper. I was also using the very harshest method of organic beekeeping which I call "Let Live and Let Die." It was essentially a survival of the fittest kind of thing. Some of you are confused right now so let me explain. Over the years, beekeepers in the pursuit of a better bee did a number of unnatural things. They enlarged the size of the bee's cells, making the bees themselves larger, and they used chemical treatments to "cure" diseases. So as new problems arose, mites and other diseases, the bees had lost their genetic advantage regarding their ability to fight disease and pests on their own. It was only a matter of time before the cumulative effect of all these maladies would take their toll as we have seen in Colony Collapse Disorder. My plan while costly in terms of time and bees, is to reawaken the survivor genetics in the bees by letting them fight their diseases with no help. The bees that are strongest in terms of genetics survive while the ones dependent on chemicals die. The plan is to multiply from the survivors so that eventually, all my stock are survivors and in no need of chemical treatment.

Anyway, so I decided to do organic beekeeping, first because I think organic is the way everything should be done, and secondly, organic honey fetches a higher price.

When I moved to Arkansas, I had to leave my bees behind, so they have been in Oregon for three and a half years, in which time my Let Live and Let Die philosophy took its course and yielded five hives from the twenty I started with. So, hopefully, I am left with five really good survivor hives, however now that I have moved them to an entirely different climate, they are no longer acclimated to the region they live in and may suffer further difficulties.

At any rate, I now have six hives here, and hope to make some honey. I have all the equipment I need with me to keep six large healthy hives, and I plan to buy a few queens to start some nucleus hives next spring. For now, I need to get these hives up to snuff for winter. Unfortunately, we had a two week drought while I was gone and all the clover died leaving very little for the bees to forage on. It has been raining every third day or so recently so the clover is beginning to come back and will hopefully start blooming again soon.

Those of you that know me personally, keep your eyes open for some upcoming organic honey for sale.


Anonymous said...

Can you buy organic queen bees? How are you sure that your bee isn't chemically enhanced?

WiredForStereo said...

Yes, organic queen bees like anything organic costs more.

I'm not sure what you mean by chemically enhanced, you can't feed steroids to bees like say chickens or something.

Chemicals for bees are used solely to control diseases and parasites, you can't really enhance production that way like you can by injecting antibiotics into chickens for example.