Why Bees

Why the focus on bees & why organic management?

Bees are disappearing at an alarming rate from the bee farms, back yard apiaries and from the natural landscape. Known as Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD, beekeepers all over the globe, have noticed large declines in their bee populations.

Bee 20

They need our help. When we look at research on their significant population reductions and immune weaknesses it is apparent that man's agricultural practices have contributed greatly in the following ways.

Chemical use. Use of petrochemical insecticides, pesticides and miticides have greatly compromised the bee's sensitive systems. Those wonderfully effective sprays when used on our crops, lawns and gardens reach the very roots of our substructure, whether the water supply or the subtle system of a butterfly or bee.

Stress. The largest beekeepers in the world, using their hives for agricultural pollination, have been suffering the worst losses. In addition to the previously mentioned causes, the transportation over hundreds of miles on tractor trailers, further stresses the bee's overloaded system.

Monoculture pollination. The practice of agribusiness monoculture pollination. Vast acreage under one crop provide a very limited diet for the bee, thereby causing deficiencies, just as a diet consisting of nothing but bananas would compromise our chances of good health.

Miticides. Minute quantities of miticide found in the commercial wax sheets used by most beekeepers, are now known to adversely effect reproduction in honeybees. In order to control mites in concentrated populations, the "pollination farmer" needs to use effective, chemical methods before he looses hives. The excess wax is sold to the bee keeping supply companies who stamp it out into sheets, known as foundation thereby transmitting the chemicals, sometimes unknowingly, to other beekeepers.

Global Warming. Warmer winters and earlier springs also contribute to the losses. The bees go into semi hibernation and cluster when the temperatures drop. On warmer winter days the bees may be tricked into foraging unnaturally for early pollen sources, using depleted honey stores for energy. Mites are unable to reproduce rapidly during the slowdown of brood rearing by the hive in below freezing weather. During a mild winter they breed more readily and have a stronger grip on the hive come spring.

Genetic. In most farming practices we tend to focus our breeding on the best producers. As with cows so with bees.. We have reduced the gene pool and perhaps inadvertently bred in weakness and produced strains of bees unable to naturally resist infection and parasites. Treatment of infection with antibiotics, though a useful quick fix, result in bees that are unable to evolve the natural defenses needed to ward off parasites or infections.

Genetically Modified crops. GMO contamination is an insidious and relatively unknown threat. Pollen, the male fertilizing seed of flowering plants is collected by bees and spread efficiently to other plants and is also stored as feed for the brood within the hive. GMO crop pollen is easily spread by bees to non-GMO plants.

The BT toxin that has been genetically engineered as an insecticide for crops such as corn, soy, canola and cotton and has been integrated to reside within every cell of the crop or food. It will be ingested by all who consume it. Limited research is available due to the secrecy surrounding the vast chemical companies who conduct their own research. "Learning" disabilities have been noted in independent studies on bees, indicating a disconcerting loss of navigation and homing skills and shorter life spans.

Disappearing honeybees
The Oxford Times, United Kingdom, December 10, 2008

"But the most credible cause seems to implicate the widespread use of two neonicotinoid chemicals, applied to seeds. It travels systemically through the plant, and leaves residues that contaminate the pollen, resulting in bee death, paralysis or disorientation".

Through organic bee practices and genetic diversity we hope to strengthen not only the bee populations but the environment itself.