There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. --- Henry David Thoreau
"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best -- " and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called. -- The House at Pooh Corner
Monday, May 3, 2010
On Not Being An Agent for Cruel Natural Selection ...
Over on the Organic Beekeepers Forum, there's another go-round about feeding our bees, what to feed them, what not to feed them, etc. Dee Lusby says don't never ever feed 'em sugar, feed 'em honey and don't cheap out. Fred says "allow" newbeeks who don't have much money to use sugar, just to get the honeybees started. The other regular forum posters take positions along the spectrum, mostly trying to stay in line with the ideology of sustainable, natural, organic beekeeping. The principle they are all working around is to not raise weak little bees who can't fend for themselves. Don't give in to anything that prevents evolution via natural selection from working its cruel magic in promoting only the fittest honeybees. Yep. Sure. Only ... the minute you took the bees and put 'em in your boxes, you disrupted whatever purity there was in that theory. (I won't 'splain that any further. You either get that concept or you don't.)
The same day I read part of an article about CCD which touched on this feeding issue. Here's a quote: "Now here’s a dilemma. If Mother Nature does not provide enough to eat for bees in an area, what’s a beekeeper to do? On one hand, a beekeeper can feed the bees sugar or corn syrup. But if he does, he is criticized for feeding an unnatural diet to these all natural creatures. But if he doesn’t, they die. You can make any choice you want based on any philosophy you have, but I won’t stand by and let my bees die if I can help it. I doubt any farmer would intentionally let his livestock perish if saving them somehow was possible."
Now there's danger in that approach as well (and again, you either get the concept or you don't.) but I'm thinking that in reality this is where most beeks are gonna end up in their decision making. It may be Natural Organic heresy, but it's prolly what's gonna happen, isn't it? So far, I'm going with this idea, at least to the extent of feeding them. I'm not gonna be the one to let 'em starve in the name of Darwin.
This blog originates in Pleasant Hill/Dexter, Oregon. I try to summarize those little tips and bits of information and experience that no one who writes bee books bothers to explain. I've gathered up what lessons I could from 7 years (so far) of hands-on learning "the hard way"; from asking a lot of questions of seasoned, experienced Beeks; and from paying attention to the 'Net. My name is Tom Warren. [The picture above is of Molly, Ed, Sean and Twinkle, in the Eagle's Rest Garden and Beeyard]
Like many bee blogs, this one tends to not get updated with new posts like it should. (Lots of beeks give up on their blogs because they get busy with the hives and don't come in and sit at the computer) I quit beating myself up about no new posts, instead I've been told that the links and resources being present and updated makes this blog good enough to keep me at it. I'm keeping it active, even if it doesn't look like it. Patience, y'all.
Cut to the Chase ....
If you need to get started keeping bees real quick, THIS SECTIONwill give you tips and guidance on the things you need to do, in the order you need to do them. Then, Dear Reader, start from the bottom up and read about one Newbeek's meanderings toward how to save some of the bees ...