Are honeybees really that important?

Honeybees are responsible for pollinating about one third of our food. They have evolved with all manner of flowering plants in an intricate and beautiful symbiotic relationship that is also frighteningly fragile. If we lose one side of that relationship, we will lose the other in short order.

Are the bees still dying?

Yes. The average beekeeper has been losing about 30% of his/her hives every year for several years now. Some years are better and some much worse. You may have heard of Colony Collapse Disorder, which is blamed for the sudden collapse of some hives. Scientists think it’s probably caused by a fatal combination of a fungal infection and virus. Bees can be infected with a host of bacteria, viruses, and fungi, just like humans can. The real question is why are they suddenly so vulnerable? Many beekeepers believe that bees are not getting the nutrition they need because our farming techniques rely on vast fields of just one crop, so the bees aren’t getting enough variety in their diets. Also, pesticides aren’t helping. There are no pesticides that target only bad bugs and leave bees alone. There are other factors, as well. Please see my blog for more information or use the search box at the left to search for Colony Collapse Disorder.

What’s it like to work in a hive?

Opening up a beehive can be a wonderfully meditative and relaxing experience. The bees usually ignore our intrusions and go right about the business of feeding babies, dancing locations, cleaning cells, curing honey, tending to the queen, and just being all around charming and awe-inspiring. It’s an experience unlike any other and if you haven’t yet had it please consider attending a bee club meeting in your area. There, you’ll almost certainly find someone to invite you along to see for yourself what this is all about.

How many hives do you have?

At present, I have sixteen hives located in various places around Corvallis.

Do you ever get stung?

Yes but it’s really not so bad. It’s worse for the bee, who will pay for the act with her life. And honey bees are very gentle. You can generally work a beehive without getting stung, most of the time.