Seeing that mankind has brought this apocalypse down on the bees it seems to me that quitting is like one more nail in their coffins (or hive bodies). If enough of us quit and the bees dwindle into the “endangered species” category, we will soon follow. It’s becoming more clear to me each season that moving bees around the way we do is like throwing gas onto a fire. Local outbreaks of anything is no longer true. Local is global now but we insist on making entire economies dependant upon huge areas of monocrops. We demand millions of hives be moved across the country to support crops and then send them back across the country again. We have dramatically imported and exported pests and problems and then shut the door after the proverbial cow has left the barn. Too little, too late. Beekeepers insist on buying bees from zones foreign to their locality and then wonder why they wind up with someone else’s problems. Governments, both federal and state, are painfully slow and underfunded to be of much help. They are historically reactive but never proactive. Even New York State has defunded bee inspection at a time when it is more necessary than ever!
Mega problems aside, I find it interesting that there are so many new beekeepers every year. Being new to the field, they are painfully aware of the torrent of problems and conflicting information presented to them. You know the story of 10 beekeepers in a room, right? 11 solutions to 1 problem. It’s imperative that beekeeping clubs and seasoned beekeepers alike extend their help, knowledge, time and patience to this courageous bunch of new recruits. It is these people that hold the promise of carrying the craft into the future. A fresh set of eyes is always necessary to solve problems that are too close to the eye of the beholder. At least they offer the advantage of asking “obvious” questions that “we” take for granted. Sometimes we forget to ask those questions of ourselves. The answers of yesterday may not address the questions of today.
This is a time of global renaissance in beekeeping. Often, old methods need not apply. We are all learning either for the first time or all over again. We need to ensure that newcomers to beekeeping are not scared off after a season or two. We need to provide support to this new blood in our chosen craft. The community of beekeepers must grow into a great diversity of talent. We strive to increase the genetic pool of our colonies, so we must regard the pool of Beekeepers the same way. We must be active and vigilant in our efforts to overcome the wave of problems we face. For the sake of the bees and for the sake of those who are learning.