The Honey Bee Is Dying

 Nationally, the honey bees are dying at an unsustainable rate. I believe that the honey bee, because of its very short lifespan, is an early indicator for us as human beings with a much longer lifespan of our own future health. As such, the health and life of the honey bee is much more important than just as a pollinator for our fruits and vegetables.

This past year, our son Joel, lost most of his honey bee hives to various causes. At the peak last spring he had about 100 colonies. By the end of winter he had only 25 left. What is the point of having a business that is almost guaranteed to lose a lot of money each year? He was ready to quit. But… he decided to keep on for at least another year to see what he can learn from the bees and to give them a better chance.

One of the problems that honey bees face is a lack of food in summer and early fall. Because of the lack of food, they are attracted to commercially grown corn pollen, a protein source, that is also laced with insecticides and glyphosate. This is the same corn that is part of much of the American diet. To combat the shortage of food and to try to keep the bees from being attracted to chemically grown crops, we planted various plants in our pastures to provide food for them during the usual summer food shortage. We also plan to apply milk and honey to the pastures to help increase the brix (sugar) content of the flowers, to sequester carbon, and to increase the protein content of the pastures for the chickens and sheep.

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