|Honey bees entering hive. Author: Björn Appel|
I learnt that the world's honey bee population is now at great risk due to a combination of factors - including Varroa mites, commercial "over production" and problems with pesticides and herbicides.
The Varroa mite was spread from Asian Honey bees (which are resistant to it) to European and North Amercan bees in recent times. This has resulted in deaths of 70% or more bee hives (colonies), and the use of chemical to try and "manage" the mite. Bee colonies now only last 3 years in countries afflicted by the mite.
Australia is the last major honey producing country to be free of the mite - but it may eventually arrive here too.
70 percent of the world's food results from bee pollination of plants, so huge reductions in bee numbers puts the world's food supplies at great risk!
The good news is that natural bee keeping can result in bee hives (colonies) that are not subjected to the same stress that commercial bees are. Less honey is harvested, the hives are not moved around to follow flowering periods and a more bee-friendly hive design such as a Kenyan or Warre hives. These hives can be made out of timber for a reasonable cost.
You can also get equipment required for beekeeping - such as a bee suit and hive tool - for a reasonable cost.
Some I am getting ready to have a go at starting beekeeping this spring!
- Sustainable Beekeepers, Tony Hodgson
- Perm-apiculture - the Natural Beekeeping group
- The Barefoot Beekeeper
- David Heaf's beekeeping pages, David Heaf
- Malfroy's Gold - Australian Honey, Honeycomb and Beeswax
- Natural beekeeping, Greenlivingpedia
- Varroa destructor, Wikipedia
- Beekeeping, Wikipedia
- Colony collapse disorder, Wikipedia