Did some learning today with Kirk and some of the other Backwards Beekeepers in Los Feliz.
I saw this article published on ReaderSupportedNews.com.
The maskana seems to be that one of the leading causes of CCD is a neonicotinoid-type pesticide. These types of pesticides “affect the central nervous system of insects, resulting in paralysis and death.” They are used in industrial farming.
Generally, the bees kept by small local beekeepers like The Chassidic Beekeeper are not exposed to these types of pesticides, especially not on a regular basis, as are industrially kept bees.
However, this still doesn’t answer the question why bees affected by CCD simply abandon their hives and disappear. If a pesticide was the major cause, it seems to me that the bees would die in or around their hives. Still many questions to be answered…
Browsing through my beekeeping catalogs, I am shocked by some of the practices that commercial beekeepers use. For example, one catalog encourages the use of high fructose corn syrup as a way to encourage “strong colonies.”
Another product made from dried vegetable oil promises to “restore good health.”
The idea seems to be that ever since bees were created, they were never able to achieve full health until the invention of highly processed foods like HFCS and industrial vegetable oil.
However, these are the foods responsible for many of the diet-related diseases that plague the modern world, as mentioned in a recent Huffington Post article.
The approach seems to be: we’ve got this surplus of corn and soy, how do we make money from it? Let’s make bee “food” and tell the beekeepers that this is actually more healthy than honey and pollen, and then we’ll be able to sell our corn and soy.
Well, the bees seemed to have survived the last few thousands of years without these “foods” and they’ve done pretty well for themselves. Click here for more information about HFCS and beekeeping.
I just read this article Honeybee problem nearing a ‘critical point, published last week on grist.org.
The gist is that industrial beekeepers are losing a full one-third of their bees per year due to the still mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder.
Although news about Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has died down, commercial beekeepers have seen average population losses of about 30 percent each year since 2006, said Paul Towers, of the Pesticide Action Network. Towers was one of the organizers of a conference that brought together beekeepers and environmental groups this week to tackle the challenges facing the beekeeping industry and the agricultural economy by proxy.
“We are inching our way toward a critical tipping point,” said Steve Ellis, secretary of the National Honey Bee Advisory Board (NHBAB) and a beekeeper for 35 years. Last year he had so many abnormal bee die-offs that he’ll qualify for disaster relief from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
While it is scary to realize that the bees that are dying are the same bees that pollinate most of our favorite food crops in the United States, I think it is telling that it is only the beekeepers who practice the hurtful type of beekeeping described in the ‘About’ section on this website who are being affected by CCD.
I am personally inspired by beekeepers like Dee Lusby who keeps her hundreds of hives without any chemicals or unnatural feeds whatsoever. When CCD has wiped out too many of the industrial beekeepers, she is the one they will turn to in order to start repairing their apiaries and bringing the bee population back to robust vigor.
To be a Jewish beekeeper is to be in the minority of worldwide beekeepers. To be a Chassidic beekeeper is to be an even smaller minority. I daresay there is a chance that I’m the only Chassidic beekeeper.
The Chassidic Beekeeper is going to be an ongoing, developing project. My goal is to start providing the highest quality honey and wax products from bees cared for with intention and to delve into the role of honey in Jewish life, ritual, and history.