I had a thread for beekeeping last year and it had 5 or 6 pages. Instead of worrying about that i decided o make a new one with updated info on my hives and for all our new and returning members. this thread is for talking about bees, beekeeping, techs to raising bees, or any relative subject
Let me start this by saying i have been a beekeeper for more than 12 years, i remember being a child in my little bee suit going out with my father to take care of our hives, my teen aged years full of hours of observation of the hives and journals written on the stuff i saw.
Anyway, Two years ago i had a total of 22 bee hives on my property and close to that number for the past 6 years or more. i pulled thousands of gallons of honey from my hives and made lots of mead, but disaster struck two years ago.
I lost all but two of my hives back in the fall of 2012/spring of 2013, thats right i lost 20 hives just like that. I did not lose them to mites, disease, pests or weather. I lost my bees to mankind. Bees fly for 5 square miles around their hive in search of food, they found a farm nearby that had just opened up, this farm was a subsidiary of monsanto but i forget the company name. The use GMO crops, pesticides and a lot of other nasty stuff.
When my bees worked that farm they picket up tons of poison and brought it back to the hive. Over the winter while they were eating on the honey laced with poison they slowly died. only two hives survived.
Sadly those two hives are dead now as well with the same issue.
GOOD NEWS THOUGH! i checked my hives a month ago and i caught a swarm of bees. I know for sure i had no bees before as i tore down all my hives and put a few back up to try and catch a swarm and i must have! my guess is that these bees may have been from my bee hives at one time. They probably swarmed from my hives a year or so ago and were in the area, they swarmed again but this time back into an old home.
so i have one hive that is going really well, and that farm is not doing so well. for some reason all their crops died. Looks like someone spread chicken urea and fertilizer around a hill above the farm and the run off killed all the plants from being super concentrated.
I very thankful to that person :P
On another note about the "Waggle dance" which is supposedly how bees communicate distance, location, and other info concerning flowers and where to go to harvest them. They do this by buzzing and waggling their bodies all over the place in all directions.
The problem with this Theory which is all too accepted in the bee community is that bees use pheromones for communication in every other area of the hive life. each hive has an individual smell to it bees from that hive know as their, bees have attack pheromones, breeding pheromones and tons of others. so if bees use pheromones to communicate in every other area of the hive WHY THE HELL WOULD THEY DANCE TO TELL WHERE FLOWERS ARE!
Thats what set me on a study that lasted for 3 years.
this is what i found: a single honey bee will go to a flower and if it is good they will return to the hive to tell others about it. due to the VAST number of bees in a hive a single bee can easily be unnoticed. but when the bee does its "waggle dance" it brings much needed attention to itself in order to let other bees know about the flower.
over the years i observed and marked thousands of bees by using organic based paint to mark their backs during the study to keep track of some of them. when a bee does the waggle dance its not just to bring attention to itself, it is also to let out pheromones and spread them for the bees near by to smell. these pheromones have a smell to them which is faint and somewhat floral in smell, but this is also due to pollen on the bees which i have come to believe the bees mix with the pheromones.
The purpose of mixing the pollen and pheromones is to give the other bees a smelling trail back to the flower. I believe the bees find the flowers the original bees told them about by following flight trails market by smell. Makes a lot more sense than dancing to tell directions.
I can expand on this more if someone wishes but this is enough for now.
these are two external links to a blog thing i have where i posted videos of my bees and plants. these are two videos of my bees.