Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Balancing on a razor blade, teetering between fascination and sheer terror

I love honey bees. I have three hives on my front porch plus others around this county and a county to the west. On beautiful mornings I will sit on the porch between two hives and drink coffee. I sit and watch the bees come and go. I listen to the buzz. I watch at the entrance to see what they are bringing to the colony. Bright yellow pollen. Bright orange pollen. In the winter, dark brown pollen. In May and June they bring home nectar and turn it into honey. I steal the honey and place it in jars and sell the pure gold liquid to honey eaters. I put the money into more bees and equipment, to have more bees, to make more honey, to sell to honey eaters. I have friends who are farmers. They grow organic crops. They need bees for the crops to produce. I have bees. To make honey and place bees on crops I need more bees.

The US Congress is getting ready to push through the Farm Bill, a huge bloated spending bill worth billions. The dirty secret is that micro organic farmers are not going to see any government assistance to expand operations. I would say that beekeepers like myself can dream of a bit of the billions and move from dreaming to fantasy. Washington has a deaf ear to the need to grow larger apiaries to improve the production of US farmers.

  • Over 30% of all food you eat comes from the work of pollination by the honey bee.
  • Honey bees visit 5,000,000 flowers to produce 1 US pint/-1/2 liter of honey.
  • For every one pound of bees wax honey comb the bees produce, they must consume 10lbs/-5 kilos of honey.
  • A single foraging bee will make almost 150 trips a day to and from a nectar source.
  • Without the honey bee you will eat mostly grain and water.
  • CCD has depleted the US honey bee population by as much as 30%.
  • "Cheap" US produce is much due to the hard work of your local beekeeper.
  • Honey has increased in value in the past 30 days.
  • There will be a shortage of domestic honey in the late spring of 2008.
  • If the honey bee continues to decrease in numbers the price of produce will increase.
  • Organic Red Delicious Apples are $1.69 per lb this week, but could easily cost $5.00 a piece if good pollination does not take place.
You Can help
  • Contact your local, state and federal politicians and tell them to increase spending on Apiary research and support for Apiculture.
  • Become a beekeeper. Get one hive of bees and have a blast!
  • Buy hive products from local beekeepers.

Inside the Hive

Silence of the Bee

Back Yard Bees

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