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Wednesday word file: pollination saturation

Pollination saturation is the practice of flooding a crop with an overly-large number of honey bee colonies in order to assure adequate pollination. The practice is used where the crop to be pollinated is either not a honey bee favorite, or when it happens to be in bloom at the same time that other nearby […] Read more

Migratory beekeeping and honey bee health

We often hear that migratory beekeeping is bad for honey bees. But why, exactly, is this so? I’ve put together a list of the most commonly cited reasons. Migratory beekeeping disrupts the natural rhythm of the colony. Like most things in nature, a colony has a life cycle. It begins to expand in late winter, […] Read more

Native bees should not be managed like farm animals

Talk of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) tends to bring out two groups of extremists—the group that believes the demise of honey bees will completely destroy our ecosystem and the group that says, “Good riddance, honey bees are not native anyway.” It is true that honey bees are not native to the Americas. If all the […] Read more

Transgenic crops and honey bees

Transgenic crops were first introduced into the United States in 1996 and have become a major component of American agriculture. In a transgenic organism (also known as a genetically modified organism) some genes from one species are spliced into the chromosomes of another species. This is quite different from traditional plant or animal breeding in […] Read more

But bees did just fine without us for millions of years . . .

I frequently hear this argument for the “do nothing” form of beekeeping. Unfortunately, it is not a logical argument. For starters, bees did manage just fine without us for millions of years, but now they have “us” and that’s the problem. With “us” came pesticides, air pollution, contaminated water, habitat destruction, climate change, freeways, monocultures, […] Read more