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Hypothetical chat - What if imports were banned.

 
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MikeA
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 4:48 pm    Post subject: Hypothetical chat - What if imports were banned. Reply with quote

Lets say its been done, a world-wide ban so no country can import or export any live bees. So hypothetically What do you think would happen?

Keep it friendly and bear in mind this is only a hypothetical debate.

If we take in to consideration CCD whatever your thoughts on the cause this problem but would the pollination industry collapse very quickly. Which in turn would mean some crops may suffer as a result. Or may be the farmer would pay to employ their own bee keepers to cover.??

The number of stolen hives would sky rocket over night by those who could make a quick profit selling them on. This is a minor problem at the moment but without cheap imports colonies would be worth a lot more to some unsavoury types.

I think its safe to assume all the hobby bee keepers would sell up and quit bee keeping which in turn I think would affect the various equipment suppliers which would then just leave the big players who would be able to charge what ever they liked. Or maybe this could be a good thing forcing people to switch to more sustainable methods?

Local associations would go back to all but a handful of members which in turn would affect BBKA (maybe not a bad thing) but my point on this is the commercial honey farmers would not be able to continue so we could end up with nothing but imported honey. You may think this isn't a bad thing or we have already reached this point..?

Nuc's and packages would be outrageously priced to the point I think only those who can manage their own colony numbers would continue, may be you have your own thoughts on this you want to share?

Those with colonies would be forced to raise new colonies from what ever stock they have as a result I hate to think of the quality and temperament of them let alone if they were disease free.

Feral colonies would be a thing of the past, swarms would be hunted down and sold to the highest bidder

I know many on here have very strong views on this topic.

/discuss
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Norm
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 5:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Hypothetical chat - What if imports were banned. Reply with quote

Mike, I was going to answer your points one by one but I think it would be much quicker to say that I just about disagree with all of your assumptions! Razz
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MikeA
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you disagree with the points I've put I would like to read your thoughts Norm.

That why I posed some of the above as questions to start a friendly debate.
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Norm
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 6:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Hypothetical chat - What if imports were banned. Reply with quote

MikeA wrote:
...this problem but would the pollination industry collapse very quickly. Which in turn would mean some crops may suffer as a result. Or may be the farmer would pay to employ their own bee keepers to cover.??


Beekeepers with pollinating contracts would adapt to the new situation, the economics would dictate how that would pan out. I know of someone who does pollination in Denmark and also sidelines in queen production. It can be done.

Quote:
The number of stolen hives would sky rocket over night by those who could make a quick profit selling them on. This is a minor problem at the moment but without cheap imports colonies would be worth a lot more to some unsavoury types.


In the UK, bees & hives are way over priced anyway. I can buy a full colony with hive for 70 euros in Spain. Thieving goes on here and there. Cost or value has little to do with it.

Quote:
I think its safe to assume all the hobby bee keepers would sell up and quit bee keeping which in turn I think would affect the various equipment suppliers which would then just leave the big players who would be able to charge what ever they liked. Or maybe this could be a good thing forcing people to switch to more sustainable methods?


I don't agree with your assumption! Local beekeepers would be induced by the new economics to provide queens/nucs for sale to fulfill the demand. The demand is high at the moment because beekeeping is in vogue, that may not always be the case.

Quote:
Local associations would go back to all but a handful of members which in turn would affect BBKA (maybe not a bad thing) but my point on this is the commercial honey farmers would not be able to continue so we could end up with nothing but imported honey. You may think this isn't a bad thing or we have already reached this point..?


I disagree with these assumptions, therefore I do not see any of this happening.

Quote:
Nuc's and packages would be outrageously priced to the point I think only those who can manage their own colony numbers would continue, may be you have your own thoughts on this you want to share?


I don't think anyone here in Spain imports bees/queens yet the price as mentioned before is low compared to UK. Ask yourself why that is, then see if it affirms your statements.

Quote:
Those with colonies would be forced to raise new colonies from what ever stock they have as a result I hate to think of the quality and temperament of them let alone if they were disease free.


Haven't you understood anything on this forum Mike! Locally adapted bees are what we have been banging on about as the way forward. This is not a negative but a positive. And no one would be 'forced' to do anything.

Quote:
Feral colonies would be a thing of the past, swarms would be hunted down and sold to the highest bidder


Again I think you are way overstating things!
Well you did ask! Rolling Eyes
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cvirtue
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why would hobbyist beekeepers vanish? I bought my bees from local once, and a package from a few states south of me.

Now, sealed borders is probably a step in the right direction, but for large countries (or groups, like the European Union) the border might cover too large a region to be effective.

Just as one example, I could theoretically even with such a worldwide ban, get bees from Texas, which is 1,800 miles away. That's hardly a restriction. As the EU grows, the beekeepers would have a similar problem which wouldn't be covered by the country-border ban -- although I don't know if EU regulations allow livestock restrictions by country.
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MikeA
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Quote:
Those with colonies would be forced to raise new colonies from what ever stock they have as a result I hate to think of the quality and temperament of them let alone if they were disease free.


Haven't you understood anything on this forum Mike! Locally adapted bees are what we have been banging on about as the way forward. This is not a negative but a positive. And no one would be 'forced' to do anything.


Thank you Norm, although I'm sorry I touched a nerve in doing so. Surprised
I wasn't trying to bait you into a response but better understand your thoughts on what would you and others think would happen in the wider circles of bee keeping.
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FollowMeChaps
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to say I'm really shocked by what you have posted as arguments Mike. Are these honestly your beliefs or are you just being contentiously negative to spark a debate?
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MikeA
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My sense of humour tends to be very course and dry at times and I like to play the part of devils advocate. Evil or Very Mad

Yes the questions were put in such a way to hopefully start a discussion but not bait people to upset them but after Phil's podcast and Norms reply no one will want to take the opposing side in fear of being shot down in flames and the fear they will be given the rolling eyes treatment (shudders) Laughing

Which I think is a shame considering the idea of forums is the ability to discuss any given topic in which both side can put their case without being told they are wrong. However I guess this topic is signed and sealed...

So any mod reading this feel free to delete the thread.
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biobee
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have stayed out of this because my views are well known - and I have been fighting my corner in other places, but no subject should be ruled out of court here and I don't at all mind this being put up for debate. It is important that we test our arguments so that we can better argue our case when challenged by others.
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Gareth
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, I voted and the number of votes was one more than the number of topic views: so who voted twice?? Wink

MikeA wrote:
However I guess this topic is signed and sealed...

So any mod reading this feel free to delete the thread.


Mike: I don't for a minute think that you really think some of the things that you have posted above. I can see that discussion is a good thing but I also think that you know full well that bees are a creature that adapts extremely closely to it's local habitat; not just in terms of subspecies, but in terms of landraces (if I can use that term) within the subspecies. It's easy to see that in one's own bees as they adapt from the original package, or whatever, over several seasons. And as for the importation of disease and parasites; have we learnt nothing from varroa?

Importing bees from 'foreign' climes - even if those climes are within the same geopolitical unit, as Cvirtue mentions is, ultimately, bad for the bees.
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biobee
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have stayed out of this because my views are well known - and I have been fighting my corner in other places, but no subject should be ruled out of court here and I don't at all mind this being put up for debate. It is important that we test our arguments so that we can better argue our case when challenged by others.
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MikeA
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gareth wrote:
Mike: I don't for a minute think that you really think some of the things that you have posted above.


You are correct

Gareth wrote:
I can see that discussion is a good thing but I also think that you know full well that bees are a creature that adapts extremely closely to it's local habitat; not just in terms of subspecies, but in terms of landraces (if I can use that term) within the subspecies. It's easy to see that in one's own bees as they adapt from the original package, or whatever, over several seasons. And as for the importation of disease and parasites; have we learnt nothing from varroa?

Importing bees from 'foreign' climes - even if those climes are within the same geopolitical unit, as Cvirtue mentions is, ultimately, bad for the bees.


I agree monitoring your own colonies is fascinating and I can show you hundreds of pictures of my colonies from day 1 to now and I will say I've spent hours looking at them to see if I can see any problems, but I have to disagree in some respects about importing is always a bad thing and should be banned.
It would be like saying Norm or Cvirtue or any one else on these forums who is living outside the UK cant be trusted to supply good quality healthy disease free bees into the UK, but as I live in the same country mine would be ok.
A blanket ban on all imports will force bee keepers to source bees from and lets be honest here the cheapest supplier and the ban does nothing to address the quality standards within the UK which I think needs to be addressed long before any import ban, if we cant put our own affairs in order properly train old and new bee keepers and ensure every bee keeper can identify a disease or other serious problem and yet people want to hide away from being inspected how can we honestly say hand on heart the problems must be because we are importing foreign bees.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would appear to me that history shows the importing and exporting of live animals has had a detrimental effect on those species. The benefits of hybrid vigour from new genes has been outweighed by the effects of sudden exposure to new diseases.

In this particular debate, I reckon that hobby beekeepers would increase in numbers and I would hope that organisations like ours would encourage new beeks by offering hives/swarms without charge. These could be returned once the newbie has become established and his or her numbers have increased. A kind of loan.

Rupert
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike – My 'shock' was at the fact that you posted just pro-importing arguments, there was no indication of any light heartedness in your original post (as there is in your subsequent post) and most of the arguments are tenuous – to me just like a pro smoker posting only arguments about the benefits of smoking on a health forum. I am particularly concerned about how the thread will be seen by one of the many new bee keepers who populate this forum.

MikeA wrote:
It would be like saying any one else on these forums who is living outside the UK cant be trusted to supply good quality healthy disease free bees into the UK.......

It's not a case of 'trust' as I don't think many bee breeders knowingly send out bees with a virus/parasite on them - though there will be some unscrupulous exceptions. Your putting our own house in order is a good one and I agree is needed in the UK though I would suggest that there is no point in doing this if we continue to import bigger problems – we need to do both. Look at the increasing incidents of AFB in the UK – these are all from importing infected bees.

Finally, as I'm one of those who has chosen not to register my hives on the national database I feel I should reply to your “want to hide away from being inspected” comment. As I have stated on other threads this is nothing to do with hiding from problems – I would be the first to call in an inspector where I suspected a notifiable disease. My concerns are over the appointment and training of inspectors in the UK. I know many are open to methods other than 'conventional' beekeeping but they all come from those ranks and consequently some are consumed by 'there is only one way' philosophy. I will change my attitude when they do and we get a 'reasonable' inspection ethic in the UK.

I do admit to having strong views on this subject – I see no case whatsoever for moving bees between countries. The UK is an island nation and we have successfully kept out many diseases/parasites to date so so I'm sure that I am influenced by this. Whilst I can see why some profit orientated beeks might make some of the arguments you pose, not one of these offsets the overriding need to keep disease out, or indeed, spreading any problem we do have to others. I believe it should also be an export ban.

As that tuneful philosopher Mr. Bod D' said When will we ever learn? Very Happy
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Norm
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MikeA wrote:

Thank you Norm, although I'm sorry I touched a nerve in doing so. Surprised
I wasn't trying to bait you into a response but better understand your thoughts on what would you and others think would happen in the wider circles of bee keeping.


No you didn't touch any nerves, I have read your blog and most of your writing which is normally very good and informed but I was rather disappointed that you hadn't grasped this fundamental point.

I know there was an element of Devils advocate in your initial post but the conclusions you came to were based on incorrect assumptions IMO.

The dangers of spreading disease and parasites with importing bees is very real. Varroa is the classic example. There is enough genetic diversity in the UK bee population without importing foreign unadapted genetics. All the people who have voted in your poll so far see this. Wink
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MikeA
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FollowMeChaps wrote:
Mike – My 'shock' was at the fact that you posted just pro-importing arguments, there was no indication of any light heartedness in your original post (as there is in your subsequent post) and most of the arguments are tenuous


As I've said already I was playing devils advocate and I posted statements which I hoped would encourage a debate, sadly the spirit of the first post wasn't taken as I intended..

Quote:
MikeA wrote:
Hi Phil , I listened to your podcast with interest and to an extent I do agree its a problem of which I am sorry to say but I'm guilty of doing again this year but I will start a new hypothetical thread on this topic.

Phil's reply -
That's three Hail Marys while walking backwards around a beehive, naked.


Phil's reply on the podcast thread was a fun reply to my post which is what promoted me to post this thread.


MikeA wrote:
So hypothetically What do you think would happen?
Keep it friendly and bear in mind this is only a hypothetical debate.

What can I say ! Confused
It would of been pointless to post pro statements

It seems I'm the only one who wants to consider talking about alternative options on here and I would be shocked if any one would be stupid enough to stick their neck out now after reading this thread and even remotely agree with me after reading the replies in fear of being hung, drawn and quartered...

Mods please delete this thread - there no point to continuing on so this will be my final comment on this thread as its so one sided.
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biobee
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We need to look at all sides of this argument, so I'm quite happy for this thread to stay put. We value everyone's input, and debate is healthy to prevent us becoming zealots.

I don't mind my ideas being challenged - for an axe to stay sharp, it has to be rubbed against a stone from time to time.
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Tavascarow
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MikeA wrote:

A blanket ban on all imports will force bee keepers to source bees from and lets be honest here the cheapest supplier and the ban does nothing to address the quality standards within the UK which I think needs to be addressed long before any import ban, if we cant put our own affairs in order properly train old and new bee keepers and ensure every bee keeper can identify a disease or other serious problem and yet people want to hide away from being inspected how can we honestly say hand on heart the problems must be because we are importing foreign bees.

I daisagree on that.
There is already a breeding programe in place in Wales where they are trying to breed out the imported blood & get back to the welsh black bee.
When they achieve their goals they are going to make mated queens available free to Welsh beekeepers.
I imagine if there was a blanket ban on imports most regions would be doing the same.
Wish they where.
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Gareth
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rupert wrote:
.....I would hope that organisations like ours would encourage new beeks by offering hives/swarms without charge. These could be returned once the newbie has become established and his or her numbers have increased. A kind of loan.

Rupert


Now that's a good idea.

MikeA wrote:
It would be like saying Norm or Cvirtue or any one else on these forums who is living outside the UK cant be trusted to supply good quality healthy disease free bees into the UK, but as I live in the same country mine would be ok.


No, no: it's nothing to do with 'trust', as Robin says. It has do do with local climate and local microflora. Bees need to be adapted to both. By microflora, I mean things like bacteria, viruses, yeasts and so forth. If I moved you to southern India to live with the locals, it's almost certain that sooner rather than later you would get tummy upsets. Over time, these would disappear. If I then moved you back to the UK, the same thing would happen. Why? Because your gut would be exposed to different microflora as a result of the shift (in either direction) and would take time to establish equilibrium with the microflora of the new location. Same thing with bees. Only think even more local than political countries, think local climate/vegetation/soil types. Think of the hive as feeding, quite literally, on these things and absorbing them and the associated nutrition/microflora - good and bad- into the hive and guts of each and every bee in the hive.
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Joseph C. Keller
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:16 pm    Post subject: Where can I get black bees? Reply with quote

I live in Iowa, do a lot of gardening and farming, but only see a honeybee about once a year. I live on 800 acres with a lot of gardens and woods. The farmer rarely uses insecticide (he plans to change that, to "never").

I emailed a black bee producer in England and a black bee institute in Belgium. They both told me it was illegal to ship black bees to the U.S., or at least that it was illegal for practical purposes, due to red tape.

I've read quite a bit about this. I suppose there are more or less pure feral hives of black bees in Appalachia. I saw a post here by a man who had found some.

How can I get some?

I don't want to take their honey. I only want to re-establish the population. I've already built a one cubic foot behive (simplified version, since I'm not interested in taking the honey - it's basically a lightweight cubical beegum) and plan to put it ten feet or so up in a shelterbelt tree that gets sun in the early morning.

I want to conserve the black bee so that we have them in the US. It's not about taking their honey or selling them.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the forum.

You face the classic dilemma of wanting bees but never seeing any around, so catching a swarm may not be possible. That means getting the bees from somewhere/someone else, preferably in a similar ecological and climate zone to your own. I'm sure one of the members from your side of the pond will come along with some input. Meanwhile, I'm glad you don't disparage the good old dark European bee!
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gareth wrote:
Welcome to the forum.

... I'm glad you don't disparage the good old dark European bee!


I'm finding closed-mindedness elsewhere, about the black bee. I want to see honeybees wild, not only domesticated. There are almost zero wild honeybees in my part of central Iowa. I only see a honeybee about once a year. A farmer a mile away suspects he has a hive, because he sees about a dozen bees a year, but he isn't sure; maybe they are from a small beekeeper three miles away.

If the Italians, Carniolans, Caucasians, etc., aren't surviving when they escape into the wild, it's time to try something else, namely, the black bee.

Authoritative beekeepers I talk to, cite European foulbrood and bad temper as reasons to avoid the black bee. What's the rebuttal to this, besides the fact that the other strains seemingly can't survive here?
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are forgetting one small detail - honey bees are not native to North America. So the European black bee is no more natural or adapted to survive there in Iowa than Carnolians or Italians.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 5:50 pm    Post subject: Black bee adaptation Reply with quote

Thanks for your response, nursebee! I'd like to know more about this.

According to my 1992 World Almanac, the normal January high/low temperature in Dubuque, Iowa, is 24/7F (-4/-14C) and in Moscow, Russia, 21/9F (-6/-13C) but in Vienna, Austria, 34/26F (+1/-3). I've read that the Black bee's range included Russia, whose winter temperatures are about the same as Iowa, whereas the Carniolan's origin was northern Yugoslavia. It would be colder in the mountains of Yugoslavia, but Iowa, like Russia, is not in the mountains. Both Iowa (except eastern Iowa) and much of Russia have a "steppe" climate and had "steppe" or "prairie" flora.

Iowa, especially eastern Iowa, does get slightly more precipitation than Moscow and is a few degrees warmer in the summer. On the other hand, the day length in Iowa is about the same as Yugoslavia, not the extreme day lengths of northern Europe.

People often kept Black bees in the Appalachians of West Virginia in the early 1900s, often capturing swarms, which might have been descended from escaped bees brought to Virginia by English colonists in the 1600s. Though "European foulbrood" devastated the wild Black bee in N. America in the 1900s, it appears that various diseases are devastating all other strains as well, maybe preventing them from establishing themselves in the wild in the U.S. Midwest.

Black bees might be better able than the less ferocious Carniolans, to defend themselves from squirrels, mice, and raccoons.

Maybe copper/chromium/arsenic treated lumber is toxic to honeybees which try to build hives in farm buildings. The bees' forage distance is larger than the distance between farms, so an insecticide-free farmer will have his wild bees poisoned by a neighbor's insecticide use. Aerial spraying is prevalent in my area; a neighbor was directly sprayed by an airplane while working in her garden and became seriously ill for several months (the spraying company suggested she should have informed them she was "sensitive"). Herbicide might destroy honeybees indirectly by reducing floral diversity.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think, to apply Mike's question to the US we would have to ban shipping between states. My bees came from Georgia, not real close and probably not well adapted to Maryland.

I think that the initial impacts would be close to those stated in Mike's first post.

Crops would suffer. Stolen hives would jump. The difficulty in getting bees would discourage new and old beekeepers, those on the fence would drop out. Associations would lose membership. Prices would definitely rise, fast.

There would be a lot of pressure on feral hives, but a study done in the New York state indicates that most (80% by the study) swarms do not survive to the next year. So I don't think catching swarms from feral hives would wipe them out.

Long term, things would stabilize. Prices would remain higher and bee keepers would be reduced to the more dedicated individuals. Companies using hundreds or thousands of hives would perish or learn to start their own, not buy. Honey prices would rise. Bee keepers selling queens and packages would get more money for their product. Disease would decline. Bees would become more adapted to their area. Gradually the feral bees would increase because those escaping from bee keepers would be better adapted to survive.

Initially it would be very painful for all, but the bees would be better for it. I doubt it would be any more painful then the current situation, dealing with all the diseases shipping around the world.

To address Joseph's concern, I would be willing to bet that there are bees in every state and country. It may take time to build a local stock but it would happen.

Finally, it is an impossible premise. All countries would not take it up and some people, being human, would cheat.

Interesting to consider, even so. Thanks Mike.

Andrew
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Conserving wild bees

Research suggests that bumble bee boxes have a very low success rate in actually attracting bees into them. We find that if you create an environment where first of all you can attract mice inside, such as a pile of stones, a drystone wall, paving slabs with intentionally made cavities underneath, this will increase the success rate.

Most bumble bee species need a dry space about the size a football, with a narrow entrance tunnel approximately 2cm in diameter and 20 cm long. Most species nest underground along the base of a linear feature such as a hedge or wall. Sites need to be sheltered and out of direct sunlight.

There is a spectacular display of wild bee hotels here

More about bumblebees and solitary bees here

Information about the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

Barefoot Beekeeper Podcast



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