What if more and more of us started housing our own beehives? Not sure if I can, but, I certainly can plant wildflowers and not spray herbicide to kill weeds, such as dandelions and clover, two that bees love!
Do you like blueberries? My hand goes up for that one! Love blueberries and so does everyone in my household! By adding honey bees, more blueberries will come. Per hive per acre, a yield of 1,000 pounds can be expected! Bringing the cost down…which, we like.
Peter Cowin, a.k.a. the bee whisperer, will be working closely with small-scale organic farmers, sending out hives for them to tend. Mr. Cowin is extremely passionate about pollinators, for he knows the importance pollinators have for our food production and environment.
‘The honey bee is not native to North America, but our method of cultivating the bulk of our food depends upon them. With colony losses running nationally at between 29 percent and 50 percent each year, we are continuously having to run just to stand still by splitting our colonies to replace winter losses.
Commercially managed honey bee colonies — which make up more than three quarters of the 2.75 million honey bee colonies in the country — face many more stresses than we backyard beekeepers do.
Commercial colonies are trucked for thousands of miles, are exposed to pesticides and have to cope with a very limited variety in their diet. They are in such close proximity to each other that parasites and diseases spread rapidly. This makes the colonies stressed and far more susceptible to viruses brought in by mites.’
Isolation and diversity are most-definitely advantages for bees. However, if the beekeeper is not properly educated on how to prevent parasitic mites, they’ll end up with dead bees. Speaking to an experienced beekeeper is critical.
You can find the Bee Whisperer, Peter Cowin, teaching classes at the Hampden honeybee farm and for an adult education program.
“This summer, my classes are being extended to a younger audience. In July, I am teaming up with Camp Beech Cliff on Mount Desert Island to give a summer beekeeping camp for fourth- to seventh-graders.”
‘This camp is being sponsored by the Rockland company Brio Promotions. The company’s owners, Jeffrey and Marli Thibodeau, are aware of the problems facing honeybees and other pollinators and are concerned about the impact of their decline on the local environment.’
‘Jeff and Marli are also supporting other beekeeping projects such as the Hampden Academy beekeeping club and a new beekeeping group being started at Ellsworth High School.’
Peter Cowin, aka The Bee Whisperer, is President of the Penobscot County Beekeepers Association. His activities include honey production, pollination services, beekeeping lessons, sales of bees and bee equipment and the removal of feral bee hives from homes and other structures. Check out “The Bee Whisperer” on Facebook, firstname.lastname@example.org or 299-6948.
- Bumblebees and native bee species are actually better suited to this work, as they have evolved together. They work in the cold and the wind.
Honey bees will only work if the temperature is above 55 degrees and it’s not windy.
This means honey bees may not be able to fly every day they are on the fields. But they more than make up for this lack of working hours with their huge numbers of bees per hive.
Most of North America’s thousands of species of pollinators are in decline. The rusty patched bumblebee is the first of these to go onto the endangered species list.