Re: Varroa heresies
D. Eric Hanson (email@example.com)
Mon, 27 May 96 09:02:52 PST
On May 27 you wrote:
> Anyway instead of feeding, drenching and dosing bees with highly
> commendably natural products, which incidentally continue the same
> treat the symptoms mentality, why not surround the beehives with plant
> producing those compounds so that the bees can harvest them
> themselves? To simple and cheap I suppose.
>In New Zealand we have many very healthy wild colonies. The stress of
> feeding with syrup and excessive harvesting does make commercial hives
> susceptible to a wide range of diseases, but that is also true of
> sheep, cattle, poultry, pigs etc.. etc..
Just to show you how unorthodox your viewpoint is, consider this paragraph
from the April issue of APIS, the Florida Extension Service Bee Newsletter
by M.T. Sanford:
> It is clear that a new kind of honey bee management is
>emerging from the parasitizing effects of the Varroa bee mite.
>Two kinds of beekeepers can now be identified; those with
>experience "before Varroa," and those who began apiculture "after
>Varroa." Persons in the latter category cannot appreciate the
>relative laissez-faire beekeeping possible in the past. This
>state of affairs is also being reflected in the bees themselves.
>No longer able to exist in large numbers in the wild, these
>insects are being pushed toward a greater reliance on humans that
>can only be called "domestication.
However, I think that your idea of planting some of the plants whose
botanical preparations have been found effective in the vicinity of hives is
a good idea. I also subscirbe to the the notion that general ecosistema
degradation (inadvertant or deliberate--remember I live in a "low-intensity
conflict" zone) is behind many of our pest and disease problems*. Or as
Fukuoka taught us, must of the problems of agriculture have their root in
agricultural practices themselves. Regards, Ron.
*Good point! This degradation is the "manifest destiny" of food and
fibre production systems that rely on simplifying ecosystems both
spatially and temporally. Most agricultural systems in the
"developed" countries maintain communities in an annual state of
disturbance. This is not bad for the short-term, ala shifting
agriculture, but does have serious consequences over 50 years.
Allowing succession to enable a community to develop and recover after
a short period of intensive disturbances may be a viable alternative.
Forestry in the US is also adopting this agricultural paradigm of
relatively short series disturbances. It to will similar
consequences, I suspect, but because of the time scale involved, they
will take much longer to appear and be far more catastrophic when they
TTFN - Eric Hanson
Dept. of Forest Science
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR, USA 97331