Re: “Honey producers face hive deaths, zombies”, (Citizen, Oct. 7)
Thank you Blaine Hardie and Julie Robinson for putting some perspective into the flapping over deaths of bee colonies, in your article with misleading headline.
Among many factors are poor housekeeping (touched on by Hardie, specifically identified earlier in Black Press papers by Saanich Peninsula beekeepers; two guys in Oak Bay are working on hive construction more suited to the damp winter climate here), and improper care of bees during winter in Ontario and Quebec.
(Where hives can be wintered over but must be given extra food in long or cold winters — note in even colder climates hives are not wintered over.
Note that statistics are not complete, successful beekeepers aren’t out complaining.)
Eco-activists like to blame pesticides, but many commercial beekeepers and their crop/orchard customers coordinate timing, often facilitated by the fact that commercial beekeepers move hives to match timing of flowering of plants, to maximize production.
(Timing varies with plant type, and with season at various locations — hives can be moved inland and northward to match.) Note that some pesticides are specifically used to help bees.
“Climate change” is vague alarmism, honey bees live in much warmer climates, drier reduces fungus growth, flower production may vary — climate has been drier and warmer here before, though honey was not a large farming activity then.
Various factors add to stress on bees, thus reducing their ability to resist parasites and such.
Human flapping around instead of understanding the full picture does not help bees. It seems to me that beekeeping is like any other serious farming activity — you have to work hard and smart.
Indeed, farmers were early adopters of digital communications, accessing “bulletin boards” and Compuserve over telephone lines
As for logging roads being closed due to liability concerns, that’s a result of the encroachment of the deep-pockets legal outgrowth of Marxism.
(You should also check if logging roads are being torn up to satisfy environmental concerns.) Hopefully small beekeepers can convince the forestry companies that they’ll be responsible, larger ones have employees thus greater difficulty.
P.S.: So why doesn’t someone in the Valley start producing queen bees? Seems like a good adjunct to a large beekeeping operation.