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Disappearing Bees

As a young kid I grew up around bees. It always seemed like are backyard was full of bee hives. Come fall we would harvest the honey. We enjoyed watching my dad out our bedroom windows with his smoker as he rotated out the frames of honey. He wasn’t much of a honey salesman. But we had plenty of honey jars to give away come Christmas time. Who would of thought I would start a bee company.

When I first heard of africanized bees, I thought it was a myth or media scam of some type. But it seems more and more we come across feral / africanized bees while performing bee removals for houses and businesses in Southern California. They are as a whole much more aggressive here in Southern California then up north.

This spring when I began hearing more of the mysterious bees disappearing, or Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). I again thought it was some myth; a cooked up scam by perhaps a beekeeping organization to get attention, funding, and to hike up prices of honey and pollination. But after hearing it from many beekeepers. I’ve since learned that CCD is real. One thing I may point out, atleast in California, from what I understand it’s not only bees but many insects as well have seemed less active, perhaps a weather pattern.

The Bees affected by CCD are bees in the commercial beekeeping industry. The bees are used heavily for transportation of pollinating crops. Because of stiff competition, many bees are said to be over worked and feed cheap sugars as oppose to natural honey that they would normally consume. This makes these bees weaker, and more susceptible to diseases and challenging climate conditions. These bees are also said to be subject to getting their nutrients from a single source of the crop they are placed in as opposed to a variety of nectar sources and pollen. Often these crops have been treated with a chemical; one chemical in particular we use that was banned in Europe is rumored to be affecting the bees’ ability to find their way back to their hive. In addition, it is said that genetically modified crops may be factoring in on the affect. There are of course additional theories and beliefs.

Interestingly, CCD has not been reported to be affecting organic bees or feral bees. Organic bees are bees that are not being used for commercial transportation for pollination services. Organic bees also pollinate crops where pesticides and synthetic fertilizers are avoided. Feral bees are hybrid or Africanized bees, they exist in the lower bordering states from California to Florida. Typically these bees are found in structures of homes and businesses.

If your Interested in learning more about CCD a new web site Honeybee Quiet intends to keep up with the latest news, theories, and findings on our national honey bee population decline. In addition, June of this year 2007 I came across an readable article, that wittily goes into a bit of depth, called Buzz Kill by Franklin Schneider. Also a shorter more strictly business, but also good article I’ve come across is by Alexei Barrionuevo, – Honeybees Vanish, Leaving Keepers in Peril.

Some people are choosing to use solitary bees for pollinating their crops because they feel honey bees are more difficult to manage. Karen Strickler is involved with promoting pollination through solitary bees.

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