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Lil' Tofu 08-31-2015 08:34 PM

Honey and Bee Extinction
 
Hi guys! This is a problem that has been bothering me for awhile, and I've been trying to do research but I'm having trouble finding creditable sources. I'm sure most of you have heard things like "save the bees!" and that their populations are declining. Yet, when I do searches on what we can do to prevent this problem, many sources claim buying more honey is the solution. Now, I may be vegan and slightly biased, but that sounds like the opposite of a solution to me. How could buying more honey which bees produce for themselves, not us humans, possibly solve the problem? I understand it would give more money to beekeepers which could allow them more funding to increase their bee populations, but what about wild bees? I'm wondering what your guys' thoughts are on this. Shouldn't the big solution be to plant more flowers and uproot dandelions a little less? As the human population grows and we destroy ecosystems for housing, buildings, etc that means less plants for bees to obtain pollen from. So instead of buying honey, shouldn't we buy more flowers? And what about consuming beeswax? Surely taking away bees homes can't help any?

Auxin 09-01-2015 02:04 AM

You could make a solitary bee house.
Its just a block of untreated wood or bundle of sticks with lots of dead-end holes from 1/16" to 3/8" drilled in.
You put it somewhere where it will get morning sun and native bees lay their eggs in the holes and seal them with mud, then you protect it from rain through winter and in late winter/spring they hatch and fly away.
Honey bees are exotic livestock, little flying cows, native bees pollinate a larger number of species- with emphasis on native ones.

Lorina 09-01-2015 02:39 AM

Another thing is often with bees having to fly long distances for flowers, they get exhausted and there's often nowhere for them go get a drink... The bees you see crawling along the floor are often just too thirsty and tired to keep going. You can carry a teaspoon, a bottle of water and a little bit of brown sugar to give to bees you see on the pavement... They'll often regain strength very quickly.

Putting out bowls of water with pebbles or marbles up to the top level with the water (so they don't drown) is another great thing to do so they have somewhere to get a drink.

And yes you can plant lots of types of flowers bees love so they can make lots of honey to store in their hives. Xx

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Auxin 09-01-2015 02:17 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Thats a good point with the water.
When I hike past apple orchards at flower time next to the bee boxes I always see 5 gallon buckets half full of water with a piece of burlap or something hanging out of it so they can drink before returning to work. A soup can and an old sock would work.
When I grow okra the wasps are clever enough to drink from it. They bite the edge of a flower and sit there drinking the thick sap that oozes out. I think they learned that from ants.
People always forget that wasps need love too.

Lorina 09-01-2015 05:34 PM

That's true. With a sock and a can the water would go up into the sovk as well meaning they don't have to get into the can to get a drink. Good idea! And of course wasps are also very important. They can drink from the sock too ;) xx

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silva 09-01-2015 07:10 PM

Love that picture!

Tell me again why wasps are important? I mean, yeah yeah, everything has it's thing, but I can't think what it is wasps do? I've been stung at the most inopportune times.

Auxin 09-01-2015 07:32 PM

They dont pollinate many things, but they are the pollinators for some things. We wouldnt have figs without wasps.
They also kill a variety of insect pests.

I have a truce with paper wasps on my deck and watch them build nests, its pretty cool. I admittedly have no love of hornets tho, those guys dont obey the truce- lol.

Beautiful Joe 09-01-2015 09:31 PM

Having very shallow watering stations for insects is a valuable thing to do, for everyone from bees to butterflies.

If you want something decorative, a shallow bird bath, with pebbles in the bowl, and water at a height so that some of the pebble surface is above the water, works well.

karenlovessnow 09-02-2015 03:51 AM

I'm always paranoid about standing water and Mosquitos...West Nile Virus. I'm lucky that I received a solar powered bird bath as a gift. It has a little fountain that keeps the water moving. We make sure to keep it clean, too.

I do have another regular bird bath that I make sure gets fresh water at least every two days. I love the idea of putting pebbles in it. Going to do that!


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kaitie813 09-02-2015 06:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Auxin (Post 3768281)
Thats a good point with the water.
When I hike past apple orchards at flower time next to the bee boxes I always see 5 gallon buckets half full of water with a piece of burlap or something hanging out of it so they can drink before returning to work. A soup can and an old sock would work.
When I grow okra the wasps are clever enough to drink from it. They bite the edge of a flower and sit there drinking the thick sap that oozes out. I think they learned that from ants.
People always forget that wasps need love too.

Well I learned something new today. I honestly didn't know that okra had flowers on it.

Lipps 09-13-2015 04:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lil' Tofu (Post 3767497)
Hi guys! This is a problem that has been bothering me for awhile, and I've been trying to do research but I'm having trouble finding creditable sources. I'm sure most of you have heard things like "save the bees!" and that their populations are declining. Yet, when I do searches on what we can do to prevent this problem, many sources claim buying more honey is the solution. Now, I may be vegan and slightly biased, but that sounds like the opposite of a solution to me. How could buying more honey which bees produce for themselves, not us humans, possibly solve the problem? I understand it would give more money to beekeepers which could allow them more funding to increase their bee populations, but what about wild bees? I'm wondering what your guys' thoughts are on this. Shouldn't the big solution be to plant more flowers and uproot dandelions a little less? As the human population grows and we destroy ecosystems for housing, buildings, etc that means less plants for bees to obtain pollen from. So instead of buying honey, shouldn't we buy more flowers? And what about consuming beeswax? Surely taking away bees homes can't help any?


I am a beekeeper. Not a commercial beekeeper, just an ordinary backyard beekeeper. I started my first hive when I was 8 or 9 years old. that was 40 years ago or so. My grandfather kept bees, as does my dad and my brother. When I was in college I studied the environmental history of honeybees. One of those arcane subjects I was fortunate to have the freedom to pursue.

The short answer to your primary question is stop buying commercial honey and take care about how you use insecticides. If you eat honey (I realize vegans don't -but vegetarians do!) buy it locally, preferably from an organic, chemical-free beekeeper. I could tell you some horrible things commercial beekeepers practice. You may already know about some of it.

You can keep your own bees. Assuming the weather is good (not too wet or too dry) a beehive will produce way more honey than you can eat. Earlier this year I took about 36 pounds (about 3 gallons) from one of my hives. There was another 50 or 60 pounds there I did not take. That 3 gallons will last me until Spring and they have already replaced most of what I took.

My other three hives will just keep their honey this year. Some years I take a little more to give to my neighbors or for gifts etc.. By the way, you can keep a beehive and never take honey from it. The bees won't complain one bit.

Also someone posted about making attractive nests for native bees. Very good idea. There are whole regions in the Midwest and the Great Plains where native bees are virtually extinct now due to Big Agra.


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