Managed Honey Bees compete with Wild Bees for Floral Resources

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Joined
Jan 24, 2018
Messages
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Location
Bosham, W. Sussex
Hive Type
14x12
Number of Hives
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The usual nonsense from a London 'countryman' whose 'business' is 'voraciously'raking in as much funding as possible to his enterprise, who'se acolytes thinks nothing exists outside the M25 (or their own little bubble).
Does he honestly think that his apocryphal 'wild' honeybee, once it has accumulated nine pounds or so is going to stop foraging, kick it's feet up and chill out in their cosy well insulated 'tree nest' (where have we heard that mantra before?)
 
There are a few elements of this post that make sense, but it pushes its aim toward supportive the authors own London experience / operation rather than the original science. An alternative but similar sentiment to Emyr's synopsis above :LOL:

The author does make some 'very odd' recommendation in this list with out any caveats;


What can beekeepers do to reduce their impact on wild bees?

· Keep fewer colonies. The threshold for impact being noticed is 3.5 managed colonies per km2.

· Keep smaller colonies. Smaller colonies create less competition and consume fewer resources.

· Keep native eco-type bees, don’t import foreign strains.

· House your bees in more thermally efficient hives by either cladding wooden hives in cork or using poly hives which are 76% more thermally efficient.

· Ditch open mesh floors. Draughty hives increase resource consumption.

· Don’t place apiaries within 2.2 km of nature reserves and areas of importance for wild pollinators.

· Keep your bees healthy to avoid pathogen spill over which is an additional problem to floral resource competition.
 
convinced that managed Honey Bees are contributing to wild bee declines
Variables of forage and bee populations are too diverse to lead to a single or quick answer, for which reason Natural England and many other bodies operate on the precautionary principle and will not permit hives on their land. In other words, they don't know, but keep them out just in case.

It is habitat and planting that determines whether forage is sufficient for all, and cities lack both because developers don't care, profit is all and legislation is weak: a recent development at Walthamstow in North London fulfilled it's obligation by putting the plants on the 22nd floor.

Rural forage and habitats are no better: 97% of wildflower meadows and ancient hedgerows have been destroyed since 1945, with the aim of enabling farmers to maximise production to provide the cheap food which we have been weaned to demand (and then throw away or consume to excess).

A look at Kirk & Howes' Plants for Bees shows that of the top 10 plants for bumbles, willow, clover and bramble feature as volume producers, and for honey bees, willow, clover, bramble and lime are listed. The abundance of these plants would suggest that there would be enough for all, provided they were abundant, and it would be a greater national achievement to reverse habitat decline than focus on the insects themselves.
 
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This past year I got a great crop of spring honey - I reckon mostly hawthorn which I put down to the very warm weather early on. This has resulted in a mass of hawthorn berries which will be great for the birds should this cold snap continues. Fast forward to the summer when there was a tremendous flush of clover and brambles in my apiary area. However the honey crop was zero due to the constant weather of rain and cool. The bees seemed to tread water almost literally and figuratively! What they brought in from those sources they used with almost no surplus in any hive. However the blackberry crop here was phenomenal. I can only presume that they were pollenated by insects better equipped to deal with the cold and wet. The nectar source was there OK just not available . The assertion by ericbeaumont above that there is plenty of forage for all is, I reckon correct, but can be heavily influenced by weather, suiting or not suiting different species of pollenators. The ivy was great for the honey bees late on and so they will have enough in store for their winter needs nicely topping up their early autumn (August) feed I provided. Basically for successful colonies of managed bees the beekeeper has to provide suitable (syrup or fondant) stores when the bees are unable to - whether it is June gap or poor weather at any time of the year.
 
If I recall correctly the author of that maintains hives on top of Nados roofs in london to improve nandos eco credentials ( as it obviously off sets the intensive poultry rearing) and was running beginers beekeeping courses.
I think it is very much habitat and area dependent and drawing sweeping conclusions from research in one area be that London or the South of France and applying the same conclusions to other areas is flawed. Beekeeping in UK must be one of the lowest impact forms of food production and we should celebrate that. Unfortunately pretty much every human activity has and impact ( even making a solitary bee house) and I think uk produced honey is better than most/all alternatives.
 
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This is a complex area. Yes, too many consumers in an area can mean there is less to go round. However, flowers are not one shot wonders, many produce more nectar having been visited, different insects target different flowers shapes that sometimes honey bees cannot access and weather and other habitats have a huge effect too.

In built up area such as cities I have no issue with the claim that kept honey bees might be a threat to non kept native species. This is largely due to lack of forage. The green credentials from rooftop hives is a bit of a farce though. I dislike greenwashing. There may be good reasons for keeping bees for a business but I want to see some numbers for this eco claim.

Perhaps comparing the number of hives a century ago with now might be useful. Has that increased or decreased? Then as mentioned by @ericbeaumont talk about the changes with habitat loss. The simple answer here is we need to plant more forage and create insect habitat. Blaming beekeepers for increased competition is just scapegoating because it's easier to do that than do what actually needs doing which requires lifestyle change.
 
The writer ignores many by products of local beekeeping: of which encouraging non beekeepers to grow bee friendly plants is just one.
Forage is not solely governed by what exists... bee friendly planting in volume can affect both wild and kept bees.
 
dislike greenwashing. There may be good reasons for keeping bees for a business
I doubt there are, or at least very often.

Of some of the London contracts in which I am involved - a local authority Town Hall roof, at a national construction firm base on the outskirts, a Church roof, a Hackney estate - only the Church and the estate have any idea.

The Church sell the honey locally to promote and help fund the Lighthouse Project, a support centre for the homeless, the hungry and those in need of help; last year they served 25,000 meals. The estate sell the honey locally and run extraction events to raise awareness of food provenance, environmental issues and the like.

The other two are typical of the vague and fluffy desire of someone in authority to tick a box and feel good. The Town Hall CEO saw that Fortnum's had bees and saw no reason why his kingdom shouldn't have them. They hadn't and haven't a clue how to use the hives or the honey to promote anything, not even to tie them to existing policy to green the borough or educate; at a meeting to lay out the opportunities it became clear to us that they were out of their depth, and the honey remains in buckets while the wheels of decision turn incrementally slowly.

The construction company have no idea at all beyond a vague desire; with both of these we see an opportunity to educate and inform, because otherwise it is mere greenwashing that pays our bills.

On the other hand, The Golden Company in Shoreditch, near the City of London, was a creditable organisation working to give local teenagers business skills from hive to market; I believe it no longer operates, but did experience its tangible success while loading the Land Rover one morning at home in Hackney. A young man walked past and his eyes lit up when he saw the boxes; Joseph had been a teenage trainee beekeeper and had since moved onto other things, but retained warmth for the project that had help guide him to the right road.
 
I doubt there are, or at least very often.

Of some of the London contracts in which I am involved - a local authority Town Hall roof, at a national construction firm base on the outskirts, a Church roof, a Hackney estate - only the Church and the estate have any idea.

The Church sell the honey locally to promote and help fund the Lighthouse Project, a support centre for the homeless, the hungry and those in need of help; last year they served 25,000 meals. The estate sell the honey locally and run extraction events to raise awareness of food provenance, environmental issues and the like.

The other two are typical of the vague and fluffy desire of someone in authority to tick a box and feel good. The Town Hall CEO saw that Fortnum's had bees and saw no reason why his kingdom shouldn't have them. They hadn't and haven't a clue how to use the hives or the honey to promote anything, not even to tie them to existing policy to green the borough or educate; at a meeting to lay out the opportunities it became clear to us that they were out of their depth, and the honey remains in buckets while the wheels of decision turn incrementally slowly.

The construction company have no idea at all beyond a vague desire; with both of these we see an opportunity to educate and inform, because otherwise it is mere greenwashing that pays our bills.

On the other hand, The Golden Company in Shoreditch, near the City of London, was a creditable organisation working to give local teenagers business skills from hive to market; I believe it no longer operates, but did experience its tangible success while loading the Land Rover one morning at home in Hackney. A young man walked past and his eyes lit up when he saw the boxes; Joseph had been a teenage trainee beekeeper and had since moved onto other things, but retained warmth for the project that had help guide him to the right road.
Absolutely spot on. Well done to the church and the estate.

Education and a conversation starter to raise awareness about sustainability and the environment generally are the way beekeeping helps the environment. Perhaps pollination creating food for other organisms but that depends on pollinator density. Theoretically some carbon capture (over a kilo of CO2 per kilo of honey) but that's carbon which was in 'play' anyway and will be released when the human eating it defecates, eructates, has flatulence or is cremated at death.

Hey, maybe there's an environmental case for burial...

Good luck getting past the kingdom complex of the council/town hall.
 
Composting :D

James
being done already although not legal in this country yet, it's called Terramation - the dearly departed are put into what is basically a big plastic box (maybe a knackered chest freezer) with some straw and woodchip, after six months or so the body has broken down into compost.
You can even get the end result back to use as potting compost
 
being done already although not legal in this country yet, it's called Terramation - the dearly departed are put into what is basically a big plastic box (maybe a knackered chest freezer) with some straw and woodchip, after six months or so the body has broken down into compost.
You can even get the end result back to use as potting compost
Crikey how do you know this stuff. Is this from Dorian Death? I had to look it up and you’re right. I bet it costs a packet.
 
Crikey how do you know this stuff. Is this from Dorian Death? I had to look it up and you’re right. I bet it costs a packet.

It was on the news a few months back as far as I recall. The outrageous thing, given that composting actually is one of the few genuinely environmentally sensitive ways to dispose of dead bodies (perhaps a Tibetan Sky Burial might be a viable alternative; or maybe Soylent Green), is that it costs pretty much the same as a cremation.

I've told my daughter that when my time comes she should just bury me in the compost heap and tell people that I seem to have left home in a confused state muttering something about going to feed the fish.

James
 
It was on the news a few months back as far as I recall. The outrageous thing, given that composting actually is one of the few genuinely environmentally sensitive ways to dispose of dead bodies (perhaps a Tibetan Sky Burial might be a viable alternative; or maybe Soylent Green), is that it costs pretty much the same as a cremation.

I've told my daughter that when my time comes she should just bury me in the compost heap and tell people that I seem to have left home in a confused state muttering something about going to feed the fish.

James
You could probably pick up a second hand JCB for a similar price as a funeral. Bury em deep.
 
It was on the news a few months back as far as I recall. The outrageous thing, given that composting actually is one of the few genuinely environmentally sensitive ways to dispose of dead bodies (perhaps a Tibetan Sky Burial might be a viable alternative; or maybe Soylent Green), is that it costs pretty much the same as a cremation.

I've told my daughter that when my time comes she should just bury me in the compost heap and tell people that I seem to have left home in a confused state muttering something about going to feed the fish.

James
Or feed the potatoes.................
 

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