Farmer’s Circle – learning about bees and sustainable beekeeping with Max Wong
This Saturday’s Farmer’s Circle proved to be a great coffee drinking, firing up, learning and getting things done day. Max Wong, an urban beekeeper and member of The Backwards Beekeepers Club, spoke about those amazing striped insects that humans depend so much upon—honeybees. We learned how bees and organic, treatment free beekeeping, make ALL trees and plants in the area that the bees forage bountiful and healthy and how easy bee colonies are to care for and maintain when they are not dosed with medications and chemicals and allowed to thrive naturally. We also learned that:
- Honeybees are great for agriculture. Bees are directly responsible for pollinating 30% of our food in this country and some crops, like almonds are 100% pollinated by honeybees. Honeybees can improve crop yield by 30% to 60% even in a home garden. Plus the honey harvested from organic, naturally kept bees is delicious and nutrient rich.
- Beekeeping is a fascinating and relaxing hobby that people can practice their entire lives.
- Honeybees are dying off at an alarming rate—6% a year globally. Contrary to most stories in the media, most of this die off stems from unsustainable farming and animal husbandry practices, not from cell phones or killer viruses. Keeping feral bees that have adapted to their local ecosystem and beekeeping without the use of chemicals or medications makes the gene pool stronger and will help the survival of an entire species.
- Honeybees are herbivores and not aggressive by nature, and will not sting unless protecting their hive from an intruder or are provoked. They die once they sting; so stinging is truly a measure of last resort.
- With the crisis of Colony Collapse Disorder, it’s never been so important for all communities—urban and rural—to promote beekeeping, and preserve those survivor stocks of our own honeybees. Legal in cities throughout the country—including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Minneapolis, Portland, San Francisco, Cleveland, Detroit, Tulsa and Seattle, beekeeping promotes the natural pollination of plant installations by both citizens and governments.
Call the bee rescue hotline (213) 373-1104 if you have a swarm or hive of bees that you would like to adopt out to a local beekeeper. Max writes often about bee-keeping and sustainable living in her blog www.myromanapartment.com.