I started keeping bees in 1997 when my mother got into it. She had heard that the venom inbee stings helped with Arthritis. Both her parents suffered to some degree from it and she wanted to see if it would help her. As it turns out because she had other medical problems, she couldn’t benefit from the stings. But as soon as I got around the bees I was hooked. In 2005, I harvested almost a ton of honey from only 13 colonies. But as my passion for the bees has grown over the years, so has the difficulty of keeping them.
As globalization has become the new economy, many species of creatures have migrated into other regions of the world and upset the balance of natural systems. The Asian Varroa mite was a big problem for me from 2001 through 2006 when I adapted by choosing integrated pest management systems that use natural remedies and practices.
Now the latest invasion has been by the South African Hive Beetle. We will adapt to this.
In fact, Apis Mellifera, the honeybee was only introduced into the United States in the 1700s.
Much of our food production in the U.S. is dependent on honeybees. It is very important that we make it as easy for them to live with us as possible. We can make a difference by saying no to dangerous pesticides including those with a neo-nicotine origin. These poisons are systemic. Meaning for instance, that if you spray the ground around a fruit tree the poison spreads into the tree and stays there for a long period of time. A drop of water on the leaf of this tree becomes poison to a honeybee who then takes this toxic bomb home with them infecting and destroying the colony. I have experienced this in a suburban location in the Kansas City area. It was a total kill. Two of my healthy colonies went motionless and were dead within a couple days. Write your senators and congressmen and women and tell them to ban these toxic substances.
Local honey has been known to help people who suffer from seasonal allergies. I have many customers in Kansas City who believe this and insist on Blue Moon Honey. If you would like to try this honey, it is available exclusively at “It’s a Beautiful Day” at 3918 Broadway Kansas City, Mo 64111, or just stop in to one of my gigs and I will sell it to you in person. If you would like to put in a mail order please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 19, 2015 Hello friends, In the past few years honeybees have suffered a great decline in the United States. There are many reasons for this including climate changes, invasive non-native pests: the Asian Varroa mite and the South African hive beetle, chemical exposure: neo-nicitinoids, roundup, etc. and a variety of other problems that have been grouped together and called CCD(colony collapse disorder). Beekeepers both professionals and hobbyists are losing an average of 50% of their livestock every year. This will eventually cause great havoc on our food supplies as honeybees are crucial for pollination of fruits and vegetables. In 2014, I kept 8 colonies in Kansas City. They produced a mere 100 lbs. of honey. When figuring out my costs I realized that this honey could not be sold at any reasonable price to cover my outlay.
I am entering my 19th year this spring, caring for the critters that I love. I have recently taken up mentoring with a friend Tim Douglass. I moved my bees to Texas with his, in December 2014 for the winter, trying to learn how Tim has been successful in his operation for the past 10 years. His approach is to move the bees to where the best foraging opportunities exist. I have for years left the bees in one place in either Kansas City, or southwest Missouri. This method is no longer is working. With drought conditions and nature being out of balance, the normal plants that produce nectar are no longer viable for an entire season in one place. As I have always had the bees well being as my foremost priority, we will move the bees to accommodate their needs. We watch the weather patterns in the Midwest and make plans based on rainfall, available forage, and land that we can safely put bees on that will not be infected with chemicals for the period of time that they are there. This is not an easy scenario, as commercial farming operations must be monitored to make sure our livestock is not exposed to roundup, imidcloprid, and other nasty stuff. Because of the chemical load over time, which we cannot see, we are also focusing our efforts on replacing the old honey comb nests with new wax foundations for the brood. This year will be a rebuilding period with little honey production expected. I am purchasing Carnolian bees this spring because they are good wax producers. This will increase the likelihood of their success at new home building.
Honeybees are not native to our own country but our mono-crop agriculture system is dependent on them. If we run out of bees we will not enjoy life for very long. Albert Einstein predicted that when the honeybees die so will humans, within 3 to 4 years. As I love working bees(it’s not for everyone) I have taken this as a sign for my direction in life. I will keep bees until they lay me down to die. I am starting a fundraiser April 1, 2015 to help purchase new livestock and continue the fight to keep them alive. I hope that you can contribute even a small amount towards my goals. It would be most appreciated. Please see the fundraiser…..
Hello I am Mark Montgomery. Musician and beekeeper from Kansas City
I would like to tell you a few things about honeybees. In the past few years, studies show that bees have been dying off in alarming numbers. Last year it has been reported that beekeepers, both commercial and hobbyists are losing around 50% of their livestock every year. This has been true for me and my colleagues for the past 5 years. There are many factors that have been classified as Colony Collapse Disorder. Systemic pesticides that contain neonics kill all insects by immediately giving them brain damage that prevents them from returning to home. Especially honeybees who have the most complex homing system in nature. A healthy colony of bees will disappear within days or hours. Recent findings have classified glycophosphate, the active ingredient in Roundup to be not only harmful to bees, but also to humans as a carcinogen. Almost all pesticides on the shelves at Home Depot, Lowes, and the other hardware stores in the US contain neonics. But now you cannot even read the ingredients until you buy the product and get it home because they shrink wrap the booklet containing this information to the container. A BLIND SALE.! You won’t know what you are spraying on your yard unless you are paying attention.
In addition to these problems there are invasive non native parasite pests: The Asian Varroa mite and the South African hive beetle. We must constantly monitor our bees and treat them for these pests which have no natural predators here. I have been using natural remedies and methods for this since 1993. I hope to continue avoiding using any kind of chemical, although commercial keepers use the stuff out of necessity.
And certainly, one of the main components of bee failure is the lack of forage. Land development and the changing weather patterns for the past 10 years have made keeping bees in one place a risky proposal. I will now mobilize my colonies to appropriate foraging spots in the Midwest to ensure their survival. They will be moved every few days or weeks to ensure good nectar flows.
I have developed a plan to add 10 colonies to my mobile apiary this year. Building my own equipment saves a little money. Each will cost around 300 including the bees. I also need to buy a 12 to 14’ trailer to move them with. I am looking for a good used one, hopefully under 1,000 . There will be fuel and travel expenses of about 200 to 300 per move. I have figured on moving them about 6 times over the summer. The fundraising goal of 6,000 dollars will cover these costs without any salary to me.
As a small time professional, I have been able to provide raw local honey to my friends in Kansas City over the past 19 years. It has now become my mission in life to keep them alive. Won’t you help me do this with a small donation? Every one of three bites of our food is made from pollination by honeybees. Albert Einstein predicted that humans will only have around 3 years of life after the bees are gone. It has become my life’s mission to keep the bees alive. Not only for me, but for my children, and yours. I love working with the bees. Their energy cannot be compared to any other life on earth.