Bee Keeping for Everybody.
Bees are the most important species on the planet. Way more important than cattle, sheep, dogs or humans. It was the great science master Albert Einstein that said if bees become extinct humanity will start on the road to extinction within FOUR YEARS. In 2008 the Royal Geographic Society agreed and in 2019 said that without the bee, humanity is doomed to a lingering death.
Just how close to the world is to the dreadful prospect of trying to survive without bee’s is currently being driven home on the east coast of Australia. Several consecutive years of unfavourable environmental conditions is seeing a massive decline in bee numbers, professional apiarists are going out of business and the price of honey is likely to climb beyond the budget of millions of Australians.
Due to seriously flawed environmental management China has already been forced to use human beings to carry out the food production work once done by bees. It has been calculated that it takes 500 humans to do the work of one thousand bees. But at what cost? In Europe some species of bee have become extinct.
The use of farm workers to duplicate the work done by bees in pollinating crops is quite clearly unsustainable. So a hungry China will be forced to import food like apples, pears, citrus fruit and much, more. Food from places like Australia, but of course Australian orchardists will sell their fruit at a 90% discount to Coles and Woolies compared to what China will pay. Yeah … right!!
Without bees, our diets would be depressingly poor. We would be forced to survive on wind-pollinated crops; wheat, barley and corn, and little else. Imagine shops without raspberries, apples, strawberries, peas, beans, courgettes, melons, tomatoes, blueberries, pumpkins and much more.
So the answer is basically quite simple, at least for Australian’s. We must increase the number of people willing to give a new bee swarm a home. As we will learn, they are the least demanding but most rewarding species you will ever provide with a home. Just a “Bee Granny Flat”, usually called a hive, up against the back fence and a drink of water. That’s it, that’s all and they will repay you with the most wonderful honey you have ever tasted at a cost of $00.00 per kilo.
But Bees STING !!!
Bees can sting but they very rarely do. In fact they are well aware that stinging is suicide and bees are generally not suicidal. In fact they only sting when they consider their home or their own survival is seriously threatened. As an example if you take the roof off their hive at night they might consider that a threat and two or three will make the ultimate sacrifice to ward off the “attacker”. After all if someone ripped the roof off my house one night I would probably get very angry as well. So the simple answer is to read on and learn how to avoid making your bees angry.
Having said that can bees be feisty, oh yes they certainly can. I recently watched the biggest melee since the Springboks met the All Blacks at Twickenham. But this was bee vrs bee and in no way involved me who watched in awe from less than two meters away. I was not wearing any “protective” clothing. The bees completely ignored me as I watched in amazement. Not sure which side won because they all wore the same “strip”, but they sure knew who from who. More on this later.