My Opinion is that medicants prescribed, especially when administered in combination, in addition to chemicals used for garden and lawn are compromising the honeybees autoimmune abilities. I suggest we leave them in peace, but, too much money would be lost in doing so - status quo.
Honeybees are not indigenous to either North America or our southern neighbors. They were brought here by our forebears, the colonists from Europe, initially from Holland, Great Britain, Germany and Italy. Honeybees are among the hordes of exotics that have made their way to our shores, not by accident though. It's recorded that honeybees were brought over by farmers to provide honey that was much in demand as a sweetener, and It's also written that honeybees were brought here to pollinate the different plants introduced by the colonists from their native lands. Pehaps they were brought by people who just loved to keep bees. Beekeeping can be addictive.
It can be argued that the introduction of honeybees pushed out native bees such as the bumble bees and this is understandable considering the solitary nature of most native bees and the social nature of honeybees. However, lately, I've heard that without honeybees much of our food sources would disappear from lack of pollination. I'm not much interested in these arguments as there are environmentalists on one side and agricultural people on the other, both with something to gain or lose. And, not enough uninvolved people care.
Personally I like bees, any kind of bee, especially honeybees. Although really a city person, born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. I've always been open to discovering new things and so, when I could, I moved out to the Island (Long Island, N.Y.) and became addicted to nature, and to bees.
Beekeeping once was the ideal hobby. The beekeeper could do as little or as much as he or she wanted and, for the most part, the bees would survive with or in spite of help given by an overzealous amateur. Initially keeping bees was an adventure. The honeybees were, it seemed to me at the time, always busy and every visit to the hive I'd learn something often getting stung as part of my education, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Read about bee venom therapy here.
Then the bees started dying off. Both the hived and feral honeybees began dying in large numbers until few could survive northern winters. It was found to be the cause of two different species of mites, first Tracheal mites (Acarapis woodie) and then Varroa mites (Varroa jacobsoni). Again, both introduced species brought in, unknowingly, on bees from other parts of the world introduced with the hopes of increasing honey yields or pollinating abilities.
To keep honeybees today, unless one decides to keep bees organically, requires learning to administer chemical medications at specific times and specific doses. And, no matter how diligent a hobbyist is there's no doubt, in my mind, the chemicals are adulterating the local honey and I've chosen not to use them.
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