Bee-ing Helpful for the Honeybees !
Project to raise chemically free, naturally kept bees as an effort to build a healthy and genetically viable honey bee population.
What's the Deal?
We want to help, in our humble and small way, turn around the struggling honeybee population and help keep our food supply well pollinated and abundant for years to come. It's a simple concept that many of our fellow beekeepers (beeks) are undertaking in their own way and in their own backyards.
Colony Collapse Disorder is a big problem with many commercial bee operations and even local small operation beekeepers are fighting this problem here at home. The amount of chemicals dumped into a beehive to help the bees survive is alarming. As such today's commercial practices have greatly harmed our buzzing friend to the point of being perched on the edge of peril.
In the midst of a poor genetic pool, chemical use, and a philosophy of "What can bees do for us", instead of "What we can do for them", there is an emerging philosophy of letting nature take it's course. Beekeeping as naturally as possible, without chemicals, letting bees build a natural comb and, if need be, letting a hive die if weak, is showing success. Even swarming is thought of as healthy; yes there are those who frown upon such a view. (** The drop in the feral bee population could be part of the problem contributing to the weak genetics we have today.)
Truth be told, our approach goes against the grain of many main stream beekeeping philosophies and practitioners today. However, the natural view seems to be working for those who try it. Sure some fail, but you learn, adapt and grow, and yes there are many stories of success with this approach! We'd like to do the same and put our best effort into further developing and promoting the natural philosophy. Believe me, in reaching out to beekeepers, we have had an earful against this approach. Yup, it's going to take time for things to change, but, the change has started.
Equipment and philosophy
The Warre hive is our hive of choice along with the Russian honeybee. We chose the Warre for it's simplicity and philosophy by the man who created it. We selected the Russian honeybee for it's grooming ability to fight off mites in the hive and brood agility for times of dearth (they lower the brood population) and prosperous nectar flows (more brood created to meet demand). You may not know of Beekeeper Michael Bush, but he's a guy who knows his natural beekeeping "stuff". His insight, from a very long and very successful natural beekeeping life, is another solid philosophy we've adopted in order to help build our apiaries and colonies. Even if you are not a bee fan, his simple life approach wisdom, is shared through pages of his web site and his book, "The Practical Beekeeper - Beekeeping Naturally".
Already in process with choice real estate...
In early Summer of 2011, with a few small donations and my own funding, we (me and a college buddy of mine - Greg) put a plan in place, and we were able to identify a host for our first Apiary. As luck would have it, I was put in contact with the former chairman of a local land conservancy. Aside from hosting the start-up apiary, he, the apiary host, is putting me in touch with other land owners and thus, it seems, we'll have multiple locations available for more apiary's when we need them.
What your donation will help to do...
Your generous donation, in what ever amount, will be put towards the purchase of materials needed to build more Warre hives and the purchasing of bees. We will then introduce new colonies / apiaries in our slice of North Carolina. The benefits for forests, fields, farmers and local gardeners could be substantial. I don't know about you, but when I work in my garden, and flower beds, I'm not seeing the number of honeybees I used to as a kid.
So then what?
This isn't a commercial operation, but with the seed money you supply, we may be able to make this a small self-sustaining effort from honey and beeswax sales; provided the bees can afford a few boxes a year. Down the road, we'd hope to keep expanding, educating and building better, healthier bees with good local genetics that could overcome the big hit that CCD has caused.
You call it what?
We call it Bee-ing Helpful and we hope that you will donate what you can. Small things matter in life, and sometimes a small tweak leads to a big change in our world. The bees need our help, and we are asking that you help us, help them. It would BEE greatly appreciated!
- (60 days)