Friday, May 11, 2007

Sharon Labchuk saves the bees

Wow, Sharon Labchuk has way more important things to do than campaign, apparently she just single-handedly solved the problem of bee colonies dying off: No Organic Bee Losses is a letter she wrote that ended up on Reddit. Seriously. This is really interesting news, and I never usually expect to see an islander's name pop up when I'm doing my news surfing.

From the article:
I'm on an organic beekeeping list of about 1,000 people, mostly Americans, and no one in the organic beekeeping world, including commercial beekeepers, is reporting colony collapse on this list. The problem with the big commercial guys is that they put pesticides in their hives to fumigate for varroa mites, and they feed antibiotics to the bees. They also haul the hives by truck all over the place to make more money with pollination services, which stresses the colonies.


By letting the bees build natural sized cells, I have virtually eliminated my Varroa and Tracheal mite problems. One cause of this is shorter capping times by one day, and shorter post-capping times by one day. This means less Varroa get into the cells, and less Varroa reproduce in the cells.
The article presents a very good case for that animals probably had their reasons for evolving the way they have. If beekeepers hadn't all started growig larger bees they wouldn't have the Varroa mite problem, and wouldn't have had to pump so many antibiotics into their colonies, and we wouldn't be facing a widespread collapse of bee populations.

The analogy to bovine growth hormone is probably not an overly solid one but it's the first thing I thought of when reading this.

Go Sharon :)

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By al - 3:14 p.m. |

my grandparents were beekeepers for many many years. my grandmother still keeps a few hives but many of the bees have died and it's soooo expensive to buy new bees. Probably because they are so high in demand due to colony collapse. Thanks for bringing this article to my attention.

on another note, i hope i didn't frighten you last night. i was a fucking dancing machine!!!!!!!
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