The Art of Bee-keeping
When I saw bee sculptures by a Canadian artist, Dawn Detarando, who is concerned with environmental issues impacting local bees, I was shocked to learn about honeybees and other bee deaths, and the collapse of many bee colonies. This was due to chemical pesticides that kill insects that harm other food crops, such as fruit trees and vegetables. Beside producing honey, bees are pollinators of crops such as fruits, vegetables and nuts, as well as alfalfa and clover used for livestock feed. Pesticide residue found in hive wax significantly reduced bee longevity. Even low levels of pesticides, can cause hive collapse. A beekeeper can either build their apiary (group of beehives) in a location where there is not any use of synthetic pesticides, or in an area that grows food crops that are organically certified. Honeybee colonies can also be physically moved around and transported on a truck from farm to farm. This is how many of the world’s pollination of fruits and vegetables occurs. Also, consumers purchasing honey at a local farmer’s market, can consult with the honey producers, as to the area where the bee colonies are located.
Chris M. Dixon, M.Sc. B.Sc.