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.

Just my two cents. (YMMV)


  1. Thank you for the blog. I'm new to bee keeping. I left Organic Beekeepers forum because lack of real content. Seemed many people knew how it's supposed to be done but would rather bicker and criticize.

    Thanks again for what you're help.

  2. Thanks for being here, Gary. I've redoubled my effort to invoke the Thumper Rule on those Organic beekeeper guys, so ... nuff said

    Hey, check out: lots of good information without so much curmudgeonly bullshit.

    Stay in touch.

  3. Thanks for the link. I'll check out biobees forum some. That was one of the websites that introduced me to top bar hives. But haven't spent much time in the forum.