Bee Hygiene

vgnair   June 12, 2016   3 Comments on Bee Hygiene

Bee hygiene is an important parameter in bee keeping activity to alleviate diseases, pests and pesticide inhibition in the bees.
In the Global Bee Village we practice and propagate that.

It is normal that people blame and accuse self, others and circumstances when they fail to do their job. It is time to think for a solution for bee decline rather than blaming and accusing.

We can do it. The US government has programmed to decrease the bee losses from the prevailing 30 -50% annually to a sustainable 15% in that country by 2025 with massive plans that a nation like US can afford. The white house report (https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/Pollinator%20Health%20Strategy%202015.pdf) says so. It definitely needs a lot of public participation and every contribution counts.

We at Global Bee Village wants to give more importance by all the bee keepers in the world to maintain bee hygiene as supreme in their bee activity.
It starts with every bee keeper. The bee keeper keeps himself as clean as possible while handling bees and engaged in bee activities such as tools and machinery, bee products and containers.

“Put on the bee dress” and feel proud of being a bee keeper. Let every bee keeper have an identity that he is contributing to the national economy by being a bee keepers in whatever small way he/she can.
Bee hygiene is what has to be practiced from the time you start thinking of bee keeping and all along the growth stage
It has to be there in every bee activity the bee keeper gets engaged.

“Prevention is better than cure”
After all, bees are highly hygienic and they are naturally given the power to be free from diseases as we call them immunity and bees are avid of activity with resistance to infection. Let every bee keeper think that bees are one of the most valuable creatures we have and we care them with love.

See that the bees keep their hive clean all the time.
They don’t like their home to be dirty for they know dirty house inhibits disease and dirty place is something to invite pests and parasites too.
Several thousand nursing bees are cleaning their house all the time.

Apart from self-hygiene the bee keeper has to practice, he has more responsibility of bee management in the hive system.
The bee keepers of the old age has to change, it is the bee management that has become important for bee sustainability. It is beyond just bee keeping that the bee management responsibility lies.

The bees are managed in bee hive which is more than a simple box that protects the bees.
Is it not time that we think ‘any box’ is not fit for bee keeping? That makes more sense to talk about bee management.

Hundreds of varieties of bee hives were designed and is in operation all over the world.
“Most of them are for bee keeping and not for bee management” I would say.

Why do I say this?
I have seen people making bee hives with any type of wood they get, any type of plastic material, any thickness and internal configuration as people are creative, artistic and want to contribute.
Haven’t you heard, “my bee box is light” “Mine will last for 70 years” etc?

If we are to have a sustainable bee keeping and the bees to remain disease free, it needs a better housing, well designed for ‘bee space’ for the bees to move around and bees to remain comfortable.

That is why I always stress the primary importance of bee keeping as bee hygiene in every aspect.
The bee hive is the abode where the bees live and reproduce. So the hives are to be made of proper wood that bees like.
It is OK that bee keeping for the low income group using the cheapest wood and material is what they can afford.
Yes, but it is just for bee keeping and not bee management that is important to have the bees live healthy and give more of bee products.
Sustainability calls for quality bee keeping with quality hive.

A quality hive can make a lot of difference in bees loving it and staying in the hive. Some wood are not at all liked by bees and they won’t stay there.

It is like your house in a cemetery where the carcass burring is everyday feature.

What makes the wood bad and good?
Like the 50 to 60,000 bees in a bee colony are controlled and activated with pheromone of the queen bee, every wood has an aroma, a smell that is good or bad, liked or disliked. The wood constantly emits this smell through its pores. The wood can attract pests, create discomfort and more.

People use hard wood or soft wood for bee hive making.
You have to choose a wood that the bees love; love to live and flourish.

Some wood is costly and some are cheap. Bee hive traders make wood that are cheap and make more profit or sell cheaper. It is human tendency to compare cost and not quality some times. Bee hives are not an exception especially when it comes to low investment enterprise.

Every country has its own climatic conditions – too hot or too cold sometimes – where the bees are to work and where the bee hives are to be installed. A wood that is good for one country may not fit for other. A cold country needs a wood that stands the frost and cold penetration inside whereas the hot countries need wood that can stand the heat and it won’t dry up so much that heat can penetrate inside the hive.

Pine, Cedar, Cypress, Rose wood, Jack fruit wood, Teak, Mahogany are the types of woods that is preferred for hive making. There are a number of wood that doesn’t fit for the hive making not only on working point of view but the VOC (volatile organic compound) that the wood emit also count. They make the bees sick and not comfortable at home. Such wood invite parasites and diseases.

The thickness adopted by the commercial bee keeper’s worldwide seems to be one inch or 25 mm as a standard. All I would tell them is, it is time we should understand increasing heat (global warming) and decreasing protein availability in nature. Is it not time we think bee hives need to be thicker material or insulated to be better heat or cold proof/resistant?

All the materials that smell badly or makes you uncomfortable make the bees too sick. Bees are a highly sensitive having super sensing organ. They can, under undesirable conditions and situations succumb to infection and the colony can collapse.

The bee decline reason could be bee hives that are inadequate and in appropriate for bee keeping. It could be, people paint the bee hives with multi color with the aim to make it decorative and visually attractive. Why they do that?
Unfortunately, painting the bee hive is highly harmful for the bees – inside or outside. The reason I have told you is simply the VOC.

Treated wood again is not at all advisable for bees as every wood treatment is done with a harmful chemical impregnation that can produce harmful VOC.
Let us save the bees with hygiene bee keeping. Let us have more bees to make the world a better place.

3 thoughts on “Bee Hygiene

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