What is Sustainable Beekeeping?
Just like in Gardening where the crops, soil, air, and everything used to cultivate the harvest is considered, Beekeeping is the same. With bees they have a very delicate balance of microbes and other factors within their little ecosystem niche. At the same time they can be very hardy; however, we are continuing to see problems with bee populations and decline all over the world. It begs the question, what is going on with the bee population? How do we maintain bees in our world and help them thrive. Well the answer to that comes from a professional Scottsdale AZ Beekeeper. With Abello Bees they tend to believe that the way beekeepers are taking care of their bees plays a major part in how to keep bee populations up. The following 10 topics will dive into more detail: Microbes, Bee Food, Bee Drink, Bee House, Bee Environment, Smokers, Lifespan, Feral Bees, Parts of the hive, and the bee hospital.
The microbes within a hive are tremendously important. Have you ever considered why the rise of antibiotics in humans has been so effective at combating illness? Well in the last 20 years, the promotion of probiotics, and beneficial microbes has taken the consumers interest by storm. Microbes are simply, “ a microorganism, especially a pathogenic bacterium”, according to dictionary.com. More importantly to note is that microbes can also be beneficial to the organism. Especially if they are helping break down foods for nutrient and energy uses. They can also fend off other microbes simply by having a larger presence in places such as the gut of the bee. This being said antibiotics tend to not differentiate between good or bad microbes, they simply wipe them ALL out. This is where the problem begins with some beekeepers and how their hives will not sustain life very long, hence not sustainable beekeeping.
What to feed bees
According to the Scottsdale AZ Beekeeper bees are to be fed a well balanced diet that consists mainly of food that would be naturally and readily available to them year round. The bees naturally feed in season, they tend to not have a choice in the wild; however, with the industrialization of agriculture, pesticides and other artificial additives to soil and even the air, are contributing to the decline of bees by degrading their food sources. Some bees can actually have pesticides go straight from the plant source where they originated for the bee and into the honey that consumers eat! All this being said, bees need to have readily available flower, and plant sources for their honey needs as well as wax, and phyto chemical needs. A university study describes here http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=11349 that bees need at least 1 quart of water everyday in a bee hive, and even more in warmer weather.
What bees drink
Bees mainly drink water. That is just about all you see them doing in the summer time; however, they are like humans and a clean source of water is the best. Chlorinated Pool water is sub-par to a natural spring water, or even freshly collected rain water. To help bees drink around your house, especially in the summer, make them a small dish, or larger kiddie pool with fresh water for them to drink in. They use that water to help keep their bee house cool in the hot weather.
Bees have a house that is a lot like human houses. The Scottsdale AZ Beekeeper says that bee are a lot like humans in that they: don’t like when someone messes with their front door, they like it clean inside, they favor the babies over the older siblings, they like the temperature at a constant range “room temperature” and they like to keep the house free from as many holes as possible. Inside the bee hive, or “bee house” there is an order to everything. The Queen, ”Momma” reigns supreme and the worker bees divide up their life into various different jobs. We will discuss more of bee roles later.
Bee Environment – Rural, Urban, Suburbs
Bees can be kept anywhere, which is why they are found everywhere and need removal from almost anywhere. According to the Scottsdale AZ Beekeeper, Derek Abello with Abellobees.com, the bees can survive on the outside of trees, buildings tires, but they prefer to live inside of things, like houses, walls etc. The bees utilize a lot of water in the hotter months to keep the hive cooled by generating wind drafts throughout the hive. This temperature regulation is much easier when inside of a structure. That is also why bees found on the outside of a structure tend to have other things surrounding them, such as the canopy of a tree, or some sort of overhang. The main point is, bees can live wherever they want because their honeycomb is actually their real home.
Since the honey comb is the home of bees, they are found working feeding and sleeping on the honey comb. The queen also lays her larva inside of the honeycomb. Large portions of larva living within the honeycomb changes its function from storing honey to storing larva. These little baby bees will grow up and get right to work. Which brings me to my point of this section which is smokers. Smokers are only needed to simulate a fire. Since they do that it creates the necessity of the bees to focus 99% of their attention on multiple things: cooling the hive, but eradicating the smoke, sucking in air to cool the hive, and sucking out honey in case they need to move the whole hive. The honey allows them the ability to start over from scratch. Smokers as closely as the are associated with bees as they are, they are not something that is very good for a hive.
Bees can thrive and survive for weeks even up to a month or 2, but the Queen can survive for years. According to the Scottsdale AZ Beekeeper Bees will typically die off apart from the hive within 2 weeks. This is mainly because they have no solid home, nor food source, or place to keep cool or warm. With bee removals in Phoenix AZ there can be a lot of heat in the summer and very cold temperatures in the winter. Since bees are superorganism they tend to die off quicker when their numbers are lower than the average sized small hive of about 10,000 bees.
How to catch feral bees
Feral bees are also known as “wild bees”. These bees are not domesticated in the sense that a beekeeper does not physically house them on their apiary and tend to their needs. Catching feral bees can be a long process and has a little bit of science and art to the practice, but for the most part, if you can get a majority of the bees and honey comb if there is any, then the bees will tend to move with you wherever you take them. Having the queen inside is a huge bonus, as the superorganism likes to stay with one of the most important parts of its colony.
Parts of a hive
Depending on which type of hive box you buy for keeping bees will determine the parts of the hive you are looking at; however, the parts of a bee hive without boxes and frames consists of Honey comb. The honey comb as mentioned above, will house babies and be called “brood comb” When there is a population of males or “drone bees” there will also be drone comb. Finally there is the honey comb. Honey comb can have pollen, bee bread and royal jelly within it as well. All of these parts make up the hive according to the Scottsdale AZ Beekeeper.
A bee hospital
The last topic to talk about is called the “Bee Hospital”. This is what a beekeeper has on his or her hands after he successfully relocates a feral hive. There will be a time period of healing and the beekeeper needs to treat the hive like hospital with a bunch of healing bees. The bees will mend the broken comb and heal the hive on their own, but beekeepers can keep them well fed, well watered and well protected from the sun and predators while the bees reconstruct and remake their hive after a removal. This is a very important time because when the bees are happy they will tend to stay where they were relocated. Feral bees don’t always like their new home, but treating them like they are living in a hospital for a time, will increase their rate of survival. This concludes our 10 ways to keep a sustainable bee hive, check out how to contact us for more information and check out Abello Bees on Google.com