California, B., Wendell Berry discussed on Talk Nerdy
Most beekeepers on an older be by all money beat biologists. Oh It's absolutely incredible. Incredible and of course you know you mentioned previously that the sociology and And really the communication That's unique is also really the key to their success as a species and and that they have been quite a successful species accounting for are you know almost half of of pollination that said we also know that human activities as is so often. The case are really threatening the honeybee right now so I would love to maybe take the last bit of our chat to talk about what some of the the threats that these organisms might the facing. What's the difference between the threats that kept bees are dealing with versus? What's going on in the wild and kind of what can we? What can we learn from from these BS? B.'s that's these and you've put your finger on her a really important subject regarding the human honeybee human being honeybee maybe relationship right now. We're doing a number of things that go with the bees that are living under our management and beekeepers hives reduce the number of things things that are making life harder and harder for these. These beautiful Bee's One is is very is very simply described were were spreading reading poisons in the environment Using lots of pesticides and in the fields where the beezer brought to do their pollination work and that's that's that's deadly hedley combination of bringing bs and then spring the fields with insecticides of these would be spring in in orchards and things like like that. So that's one one combination another is in love. We're we introduced on some parasites sites Particularly a little might from an Asian species honeybee was introduced to the European and African species. Vichy's of Honeybee and this little might is very good at transmitting. The bees viruses. It's a great vector for sore some nasty viruses of the bees. And that's that's been a that's probably been equally. Bad killer of Honeybee. Colonies both managed colonies wild colonies So that's that's another thing that we've we've done to make life hard for honeybees and then there's a long standing aspect of the human being honeybee relationship is that we've always been unintentionally in it and thus inadvertently We've been making life hard for them by just putting them in hives and managing the colonies to be very productive honey complicated topic topic. But there's a lot of things about the life of of a honeybee colonies. They're made more difficult when they're living under human human management. C'mon yours just one example beekeepers for an eye in the beekeeper for our convenience. We put the we put our hives together in groups which feature called Apiary so be arts and that's convenient for the human being but for the B.'s. It's it's not so great because it means if one Connie get sick. The illness the pathogen parasite it's causing that. Illness spreads easily to the other colonies which it can be just a few feet away. So that's not that's not good for the bees and that's very different from how they live in the wild where they're usually living about anthem mile apart from between one hollow tree housing to be calling in another the so another is that we as we so often do. With agricultural animals. We we manipulate them to be extremely productive for the things that we want in the case of honeybees. Guess what that is. It's honey a lot of a lot of the technology and skill of beekeeping of or trade of beekeeping making honeybee colonies into very large urge units Having the colonies grow to a larger size than they would in nature instead of growing to twenty or thirty thousand to grow up to sixty thousand or even more bees to have a huge workforce so they can make and then they will make up Mr up lots and lots of honey so that and that means that the colonies are even more prone to diseases. Because they're they've got all these resources inside them for the parasites and pathogens to who exploited. So that's another thing that we do and then another third thing one that we see very traumatically north. America's we we we should. I think it's close to two thirds of the honeybee colonies in North America are transported every spring from wherever they are whether it's in Florida or a New York state or Wherever out to California into the Central Valley of California for the allman pollination and that's that is just just very hard on the bees and I think statistically only about half the colonies that are taken out to those almond? Orchards are healthy when they come out or or still alive when they come out because it's just so much spread of disease and the trip itself is is apparently pretty hard on the beasts. It's being trucked thousands and thousands of miles. Gosh I had no idea I knew almonds were really intensive when it came to water usage surge and that that was something that was like I don't know if almond milk is the best alternative But I had no idea what kind of impact Almond farming had on on bees. Yeah Almond Pollen Almond productions is knowing water-intensive. It's be intensive in needs off every every flower. It's GonNa make the fruit or seed and nut on Esta pollinator show up and and move the pollen from one one plant to another. So yeah. It's it's it's it's really hard. All beekeepers loved their bees. But they don't always we they're not every action that beekeepers take. His is a what you'd have. I have to say as a loving or carrying action even though and that's something that we're just starting to realize because one of the curious things about honeybees and bees and beekeeping is that it's only in about the last few decades we've known anything about the natural lives of bees beekeepers. Beekeepers developed hives thou- sturdy starting thousands of years ago as we talked about. And we've never an once. People once human beings go visit hives then. They focused on their lives of the bees and the hives and how to manipulate them. And how to you know. I got to say honest exploited the lives of these BS living in the beekeepers hives with those could be boxes. EXES or SCALLOPS. Whatever log hives whatever so our focus almost every beekeepers focus has always been on the bees living in his or her hives which is very unnatural? And so now were we've gone back and looked at how bees are living and and Wendell Berry. Put It really nicely I paraphrase. What one of his famous quotes and user into agricultural practices generally says? We've never really known what we were doing doing. Because we've never known what we were undoing. We only can know it. We're undoing if we would see what nature is doing if we were doing nothing. And that's talk for bees and beekeeping beekeepers have not. We don't know what we're doing that because we haven't known what we're undoing because we didn't know what their natural lives were like. But that's so that's what I and others have been looking at intensively for as`safe route past about forty years. Now and that really ultimately is kind of the thesis this of of your notebook the lives of bees the untold story of the Honeybee in the wild because in understanding kind of the the success assess of this species in the wild we can actually learn from them and maybe apply some of those strategies that have been you know honed by hundreds of thousands millions of years and utilize them in in our beekeeping. You I think that's I think that's Roy Right. And that's one of the things I I the ideas that I present in this book. It's not GonNa be this idea of letting beast lift more naturally probably will not who will certainly will not apply apply to the commercial beekeeper with thousands or tens of thousands of hives of bees but it is very relevant to the to the hobby beekeeper. That might have a handful of colonies where they can let the they don't need the high production they're not trucking their colonies around they can be they can give the beasts let them live kinder gentler lives And so that's yes I think so. One of the positive aspects of the of this a growing body of knowledge of the natural lights of bees and most beekeepers are small-scale beekeepers are hobbyists and they have the bees interests first first and foremost. That's for them. It's a lot like I like to like to compare what I see. Is that two kinds of beekeeping and it's like the difference Prince with one on the one hand you've got the small skill beekeeper and on the other hand you've got the large commercial in. It's much like the difference between people that enjoy watching birds or birdwatchers birdwatchers and people that grow birds for eggs and eggs and meat and poultry farming. And I think there's room for there's certainly room for both both of those approaches and they're very different. They're very different and they're both. They're both valid but we have to recognize that there is there. Are these two ways of working with the bees not just not just managing it for maximum honey production or maximum pollination belly but but it's perfectly valley to to enjoy a colony of bees just as as a living system it is beautiful in its own right even if it makes no hunting produces only it's pollination.