With bee health declining, it’s important to ask why?
According to a study conducted by Harvard University, pesticides might lead to “impairment of honey bee neurological functions, specifically memory, cognition, or behavior.”
Pesticides affect honey bees in two compounding ways:
- Chemicals are sprayed onto crops to prevent insects from foraging. Then, bees drink the polluted nectars from flowers and carry these nectars back to their colonies, sharing the toxins with the rest of the hive.
- Treatments, like pesticides, are used on the actual hives to prevent pests from harming the honey bees, ensuring that the bees can produce their precious stores of honey without interference.
Let’s focus on the second point. In order to understand what prompted American beekeepers to start spraying their hives, we need to better understand the magnitude of the problem they faced. In 1987, a parasite, the Verroa bee mite (Varroa Jacobsoni) was detected in the United States. The Verroa is considered the most devastating parasite to honey bees in the world. As these mites quickly spread across the country, infesting and destroying countless honey bee colonies, beekeepers were desperate to protect their bees.
This crisis led to two distinctly different paths for beekeepers:
- Use pesticides to repel and kill the verroa mites
- Allow the honey bee colonies to fight their own battles and learn to defend themselves.
Most beekeepers across the country began using these organic pesticides, believing it was more humane to protect the colonies against the threat. A tiny minority of beekeepers recognized that using pesticides would handicap the bees in the long run and make them dependent on this artificial supplement. This minority began a movement, refusing to introduce chemicals into the beekeeping process.
One of these beekeepers was our very own, Danny Weaver, of Bee Weaver apiaries. A 5th generation beekeeper, Danny’s family has been keeping honey bees on the same property since 1888. They’ve never introduced chemicals or pesticides into the process. Being a bee geneticist, Danny began selecting queens whose hives, generationally, demonstrated incremental strength and resilience to the mites. 30 years later, the Bee Weaver colonies are so evolved that you can witness the worker bees pick up and remove the Verroa mites themselves.
The treatment-free beekeeping approach teaches that treating bees for disease actually prevents the bees from developing genetic or behavioral adaptations needed to copy on their own. Treatment-free beekeepers choose to allow disease to run its course in a hive. As a result, the weaker colonies die out and stronger, well-adapted colonies survive.
And because our beekeepers don’t cut corners with chemicals and never have, Bee Delightful has access to some of the cleanest honey in the world. Canna Bees honey is tested by the USDA for the concentration levels of trace amounts of pesticides. At a Parts Per Million (PPM), our honey tests for No Detectable amount of any pesticides.
Many beekeepers debate the nuances of the definition of Treatment-free beekeeping, each believing in different ideals. Most treatment-free beekeepers believe the philosophy speaks to a more hands-off approach, allowing the bees to behave in the most natural way possible. The less stress on the bees, the better honey they’ll produce.
This is why Canna Bees Rescue Blend™ is so incredibly delicious. One spoonful is all you need. And whether you purchase jars of Canna Bees or not, support beekeepers that care about the long term health of our beloved pollinators.