This is so cool! I went back to do some re-reading in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Beekeeping, and found yet another reason—very clearly expressed—for why it’s not a good idea to feed bees sugar water (except when the bees are getting first established).
Bees apparently self-regulate the size of their colonies based on the amount of food available. When there is less food (in the form of nectar and pollen) the queen slows down on the egg-laying. When they stop rearing brood for a time, it interrupts the life-cycle of the diseases and parasites that grow in the brood chambers.
When beekeepers feed the bees constantly from early spring to late fall, the bees never get that “message” that it’s time to slow down, so the parasites keep right on multiplying. Then the beekeepers find it necessary to treat with antibiotics like Terramycin and Fumadil.
Do you really want to eat honey that has antibiotics in it?
Even the use of so-called natural treatments (like dusting with powdered sugar) interferes with the microbial culture in the hive. Just because something is natural, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good idea. As Stiglitz and Herboldsheimer wrote in The Complete Idiot’s Guide, imagine “using the oil of the poison ivy plant as a massage oil.” Hmmm.
I’m more and more glad every day that I’ve decided to let my bees simply BEE.
BEEattitude for Day #101:
Blessed are they who let us BEE what we want to BEE, for they shall help populate the world with healthy pollinators.
One thing Fran is grateful for right now:
My new wood carrier, a birthday gift from my massage therapist, Karen Krotz
My ebooks are on special sale now (only $3.99)