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VSBA Fall Meeting – Day 1

I barely made it up to the VSBA Fall meeting, but am glad that I did. The two speakers today were Jerry Hayes (from the ‘Classroom’ in ABJ) and Nancy Ostiguy, a specialist in Entomology at Penn State. Jerry spoke about the problems facing both honey bees and mankind, focusing on Monstanto’s drive to feed an ever-growing world population while also looking at ways to reduce problems for our pollinators. Nancy, on the other hand, spoke about the problems facing bees and the different chemicals/treatments that are being used to deal with them.

The interesting thing about Nancy’s talk is that she readily admitted that folks in her profession have been urging Beekeepers to put all manner of chemicals into their hives to ward off the varying problems of the last few decades. Although she did not come right out and say to ‘STOP’, she was stressing the need to be more judicial in the application of treatments. The bottom line is that researchers are starting to see that treatments are not good for the bees, as a whole.

Again, this stresses something that I have believed long before I became a beekeeper. I am not someone who stresses about ‘organics’ or trying to keep bees a ‘natural’ way, for sure. I simply believe that it is best to do what has always worked and let the bees’ genetics work out the rest. It’s certainly not a strategy that today’s commercial beekeeper could take, but I definitely think it is the only strategy for the small-scale beekeepers. In time, I believe the commercial beekeepers will be forced to move in this direction too.

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