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Author Topic: Releasing colonies into the wild - bees for bees not honey  (Read 8477 times)

Laurieston

  • Joined May 2009
  • Northern Germany
Releasing colonies into the wild - bees for bees not honey
« on: March 03, 2012, 10:08:54 pm »
To address the dramatic collapse in bee colonies in the wild.

How about a programme similar to those used for endangered animals - bread to release back into the wild.  This would entail keeping bees and allowing (encouraging?) them to swarm off to make new colonies off in the wild.  They could also be provided with suitable housing.  The might mean not harvesting their winter stores (our?) honey.

Might this be a method of rebuilding bee stocks? and ensuring the continued pollination of our foodstuffs.

It might be a fair balance to 'work' one colony and re-invest in nature by allowing one other to reproduce and multiply freely.

Any thoughts?

Plantoid

  • Joined May 2011
  • Yorkshireman on a hill in wet South Wales
Re: Releasing colonies into the wild - bees for bees not honey
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2012, 12:51:31 am »
The bees in the wild as well as the ones in the hives are dying from disease  , at least in hives they have some chances of getting treated .. as in the varroa problem and other common malady's that would / will have wiped out any wild nest it affected.
 
International playboy & liar .
Man of the world not a country

anderso

  • Moderator
  • Joined Jan 2012
  • brokenbrough
Re: Releasing colonies into the wild - bees for bees not honey
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2012, 09:53:16 am »
this is the area that has caused lots of discussion in most bee clubs -
I have moved my bees over to frameless or Top bar hives and let the bees get on with doing what they do best living. I don't take any honey until the end of the rape seed harvest - and do not open them up every week (as the books say) I open them about 3 times a year - to check health take honey and check things are ok for winter - the rest are observations - re swarms I put out empty hive box's to receive any wondering swarms - the more we learn to stop interfering with others lives the better they will get along (this goes for people as well as animals) and always remember bees are for life not just the honey   :bee:
when the revolution comes it will be a co-op

Victorian Farmer

  • Guest
Re: Releasing colonies into the wild - bees for bees not honey
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2012, 10:21:59 am »
I have newzeland bees they are very calm i thort off incubating some queens and letting them go.

YorkshireLass

  • Joined Mar 2010
  • Just when I thought I'd settled down...!
Re: Releasing colonies into the wild - bees for bees not honey
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2012, 10:42:33 am »
I have newzeland bees they are very calm i thort off incubating some queens and letting them go.

I know next to nothing about bees, but please please please remember that deliberately introducing non-native species is a road to disaster  :-[  Obviously there will always be an odd escape though.


Would you say a top bar hive would be worth looking at for an interested novice?

darkbrowneggs

  • Joined Aug 2010
    • The World is My Lobster
Re: Releasing colonies into the wild - bees for bees not honey
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2012, 12:03:06 pm »
As far as I understand it bees have co-existed with varroa for millenia.  BUT their method of living and reproducing is to increase and throw swarms thus moving to a varroa free site, plus a natural nest site in a hollow tree would not have its "floor" within crawling distance of any groomed off varroa.

They also produce far more drones than could possibly be needed - varroa tend to like the larger drone cells, but all the drones are driven from the hive when they are no longer needed taking their load of varroa with them.

Plus, according to their specific needs they will build different size cells to the ones modern bee keepers force them to adopt by buying pre-formed wax sheets made from old and probably insecticide tainted wax .

All of these propensities go AGAINST our idea (only practiced for the last 100 odd years) of keeping them in hives on wooden frames, then preventing them from swarming,  killing most of the drone brood, and finally stealing so much honey they are forced to consume highly refined white sugar.

Then when problems of disease (possibly from stress at their natural need to reproduce being frustrated - a swarm is a hives "baby" - and possibly from our invasive methods of beeking) we seek to treat this by pouring/spraying chemicals on them

Add to this the current intensive mono-culture farming methods which also require INSECTICIDE (bees are insects) and not surprisingly you have a recipe for disaster

It is interesting that the chemical firm which produces one of the chemicals blamed by many informed beekeepers for some of the bee population problems, also produces for sale bumble bee colonies for pollination purposes.  These are destroyed at the end of each season and hence need to be re-purchased the following season

OK call me an old cynic........................... but, as far as I understand it, the chemical company involved is from the same branch which ran Auschwitz so I suppose you can hardly expect them to bother about killing off a few insects ???

I am not sure if I feel better or worse for that rant  :-\
« Last Edit: March 04, 2012, 12:12:34 pm by darkbrowneggs »
To follow my travel journal see http://www.theworldismylobster.org.uk

For lots of info about Marans and how to breed and look after them see www.darkbrowneggs.info

anderso

  • Moderator
  • Joined Jan 2012
  • brokenbrough
Re: Releasing colonies into the wild - bees for bees not honey
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2012, 06:05:50 pm »
top bar hives or hives that have fixed bars allow the honey bee to get on and do its own thing - you are right about the chemical company but also they fund the British Bee Assoication (something like fox's in the henhouse) as stated before let he bees do there own thing and just be there to support them- if any one is intrested in top bar hives etc let me know - maybe we can start a thred
when the revolution comes it will be a co-op

Beeducked

  • Joined Jan 2012
Re: Releasing colonies into the wild - bees for bees not honey
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2012, 06:36:24 pm »
I would be cautious about allowing bees to swarm uncontrolled. If you live anywhere near others I doubt they will appreciate it and unfortunately there are really concerns that bees are now sadly dependent on us to survive. Our meddling and artificial migration of them has introduced them to problems they have not had a chance to adapt to and now may not survive without management from us now.

Just one point from above, The western honey bee has not co-existed with varroa for a millennia, varroa was only introduced to western bees in the last few years and part of the problem is unlike asian bees they do not know how to live with them. It only arrived in the UK in 1992. Swarming is not a way of getting away from varroa but some think that they may be starting to adapt.

anderso

  • Moderator
  • Joined Jan 2012
  • brokenbrough
Re: Releasing colonies into the wild - bees for bees not honey
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2012, 09:28:58 am »
the only types that think that animals of any breed are dependent on us to survive, are the same people who believe that humankind have all the answers!!! if we worked with others (both Hymen & Animal) you would find that the earth would just go about its business of moving round the sun and give heat, cold, water when its needed....
its only when we think we know better --- I for one have seen that when nature wishes to take back it will -

So with regard to Honey bees it is only since that we have been trying to control them to get more honey from them that problems started - think about it we rob them of there winter food (with all its extra bitsfor there survival) and give them sugar - just like we do with children --don't feed them veg, meat, dairy just give them processed sugar in a number of diffrent forms

sorry for the rant (but I believe strongly that we (people) are the cause of the majority of ills in both the animal and our world - and it is time to be honest that we don't know all the answers
when the revolution comes it will be a co-op

Beeducked

  • Joined Jan 2012
Re: Releasing colonies into the wild - bees for bees not honey
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2012, 06:58:51 pm »
Couldn't agree with you more however many are now reliant on us and our duty of care is therefore greater as we created it.

I do take honey from my bees but only the excess if there is any otherwise they keep it and I do without. I do also treat them if there is a problem that threatens them but am very uncomfortable with the blanket poisoning of them with chemicals because it is the right time of year so don't unless there is a problem. I know that beekeepers can have very strong and often opposing ideas so I'm sure some will disagree with this. I am also new to bees so will maybe change as the years pass but have not has resin to regret it yet.

Time and the bees will tell.

Plantoid

  • Joined May 2011
  • Yorkshireman on a hill in wet South Wales
Re: Releasing colonies into the wild - bees for bees not honey
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2012, 09:21:20 pm »
the only types that think that animals of any breed are dependent on us to survive, are the same people who believe that humankind have all the answers!!! if we worked with others (both Hymen & Animal) you would find that the earth would just go about its business of moving round the sun and give heat, cold, water when its needed....
its only when we think we know better --- I for one have seen that when nature wishes to take back it will -

So with regard to Honey bees it is only since that we have been trying to control them to get more honey from them that problems started - think about it we rob them of there winter food (with all its extra bitsfor there survival) and give them sugar - just like we do with children --don't feed them veg, meat, dairy just give them processed sugar in a number of diffrent forms

sorry for the rant (but I believe strongly that we (people) are the cause of the majority of ills in both the animal and our world - and it is time to be honest that we don't know all the answers

 You don't have to rob them if you don't feel like it ..you could for instance leave a full super on all hives but this will lead to swarming and not only losing half of the hives bees & a lot of the honey in one go it will keep on halving till there is just enought to carry on often issuing out six or more swarms .., if those bees are varroa infested or sick in any form you'll most likely lose the hive and it will be robbed out . Let alone bee keeping is not quite all it is made out to be.

 The old Skep idea was OK for a while but they did suffer foul borrd and EFB ...just adding more skeps on top of the main one , slipping a queen excluder ring in the second skep and leaving the two lowerer ones for overrwintering the swarm .
Apparently if it was timed correctly the hive would requeen naturally and it would not swarm the next year.
 This is what apparently led Snellgrove to develop his Snellgrove board for hives but it does take a bit of playing around to get used to it and a bit of courage to use it on all your hives. in one go .

My mate steve & I played with all sorts of ideas to see what worked best for us with the minimum amount of work for the maximum return of investment . Steve Huber ( a Canadian ) gave us some great ideas .

We checked all hives every tenth day and if queen cells were present , snufffed out all except the biggest one as by the time it hatched the old queen was usually dead . Occasionally we  snuffed the old queen if she was easily found ...we didn't mark the queens ....far too much trouble .. just look for what is normal in a hive and she was easily found .We never purchased imported or bred queens and we always fed heavily with sugar syrup and thymol plus a bit of citric acid to start breaking it down  ...all year round as well as treating for varroa at the specified intervals with the correct number of strips per hive .

 All our wax came off out own meltings ... I  made an electric stainless steel easy bee to melt all the comb that was not used for cut comb . We only ever ran a small bead of wax made from cappings along the top bar as a starter strip for the comb and let the bees do the rest at the expense of making honey .

Eventually we made six frame sixed inserts so we could take out a full one and slip in a prepared empty one .
 I made simple cutter to cut out all six combs in one go and slip the comb into the melter a then slipped  the frames into a steamer cabinet made out of an old steel locker to clean them off it off and sterilize them .

Prior to the varroa reaching us in 1994 we rarely lost a hive ,nd once it was with us we dreaded the keepers who didn't use it or decided that they would only use half doses ..it was not long before treatment resistant varroa arrived on the scene and started to knock out a few of our apiaries .

We didn't suffer from chemical posioning as far as we know , we did get hit by two inch long hornets a couple of times before we put smaller sixed mouse guards on the hives or used blocking bars but usually the ten day inspection sorted that problem out .
International playboy & liar .
Man of the world not a country

 

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