Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

This Is Why Natural Beekeeping Is So Important

Scientists are finding that a number of factors are to blame for Colony Collapse Disorder, the affliction that’s been wiping out bees in the US and Europe. Unsurprisingly, industrial agriculture practices are a big culprit. The big smoking gun is the residue of multiple pesticides, which build up inside a honeycomb over time, as well as a weakened resistance to mites and other diseases.

PULLMAN, Washington, July 29, 2009 (ENS) — A microscopic pathogen and pesticides embedded in old honeycombs are two major contributors to the bee disease known as colony collapse disorder, which has wiped out thousands of beehives throughout the United States and Europe over the past three years, new research at Washington State University has confirmed.

Working on the project funded in part by regional beekeepers and WSU’s Agricultural Research Center, entomology professor Steve Sheppard and his team have narrowed the list of potential causes for colony collapse disorder.

“One of the first things we looked at was the pesticide levels in the wax of older honeycombs,” Sheppard said. Using combs contributed by U.S. Department of Agriculture, Sheppard found “fairly high levels of pesticide residue.”

Bees raised in those hives “had significantly reduced longevity,” he said.

One easy solution is for beekeepers to change honeycombs more often. In Europe, for example, apiarists change combs every three years.

“In the U.S., we haven’t emphasized this practice and there’s no real consensus about how often beekeepers should make the change,” said Sheppard. “Now we know that it needs to be more often.”

Many researchers are investigating colony collapse disorder because domestic honeybees are essential for a variety of agricultural crops in the United States. Beekeepers truck their hives cross country to pollinate almond groves in California, field crops and forages in the Midwest, apples and blueberries in the Northeast and citrus in Florida.

Read the whole article here.


Related Articles:

Brew Outside the Box: Making Mushroom-Infused Beer

When thinking about drinking a nice cold beer, the flavor of mushrooms doesn’t exactly spring to mind. But for the adventurous brewer – and drinker – infusing mushrooms into brews is a great way to combine the medicinal benefits of fungi with one of the world’s most consumed beverages.The best part? You can grow mushrooms […] Read More..

50 Low-Cost, Low-Tech Solutions to Save the Planet

Tired of watching people spend so much time thinking up big solutions to big problems that it has a paralyzing effect on taking action? If you’re like author Courtney White, the answer is yes. That’s why in Two Percent Solutions for the Planet, he takes readers on a journey to show how low-cost, easy-to-implement solutions […] Read More..

Field Guide to Fall Favorites: Are you Autumn Ready?

As we bite into a banner apple season and put our gardens to bed, we’re already thinking about next year. There is no denying it: the days are shorter and unless you planned for season extension your garden is all about the root vegetables.But don’t let the looming winter get you down. There are plenty […] Read More..

9 Things to Consider When Building Your Own Greenhouse

Daydreaming of extending your growing season and building your very own year-round greenhouse? It’s easier, more affordable, and will provide you and your family with more food than you might think — thanks to one of North America’s most accomplished permaculture designers, Jerome Osentowski.In his groundbreaking new book, The Forest Garden Greenhouse, Osentowski provides growers of all skill levels in-depth […] Read More..

How to Make Your Own Mulch With Fallen Leaves

As the vibrant colors of fall foliage continue to spread across the country, countless hours will soon be spent raking leaves and hauling them off to the nearest dump. But for Will Bonsall, what may be a nuisance to some, is his “mulching bonanza.” Though the conventional wisdom about tree leaves is that they are not as valuable […] Read More..
Follow us
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By