What it means to Bee Native

So apparently honey bees are not native to this continent and were brought here by early European settlers.

As a beekeeper, I keep non-native bees in great quantities...or so I used to.

I recently learned a new perspective from conservationists and was surprised to learn about their less-than-ideal attitude towards beekeepers. I didn't understand the problem until I truly considered their points.

 We have so many honey bees, contrary to what the media teaches us, that they out-compete the native bee pollinators.

There is only a certain amount of pollen and nectar available in any given area. So when a beekeeper dumps 50 beehives down in one area, competition for limited resources gets tough, especially for the native bees.

This doesn't mean we cannot have both native bees and honey bees together. I have adopted more ecologically ethical practices by reducing the number of beehives I have in one location.

Instead of 36, like I used to have in one apiary, I now maintain three different apiaries with fewer hives in each. 8-12 is much more ideal, and doesn't create the extreme competition, causing imbalance. 

These practices have also helped to cut down on disease and pests to very manageable levels, though I must say that I have never had disease in my hives thankfully.

So that's the story of how one beekeeper has chosen to Bee Native,

I hope you choose to Bee Native too...thank you!

J. Adam Hargus

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