I was intrigued to read this letter, and response in the recent edition of BBKA News. The questioner is responding to a previous article on the dangers of unmanaged hives and colonies, which to me sounds as if it could also be a discussion of the differences between conventional and “natural” beekeeping. She states
“My question is this: what, if anything, is the difference between a natural wild nest of honey bees and an unmanaged colony? The paragraph on page 15 suggests nature copes well with pests, predators and disease. In a later paragraph it is said that unmanaged colonies are a problem. Why the discrepancy? Hives are superior hollow trees so I fail to see any essential difference between a wild nest and an unmanaged colony.”
Part of the response to this also raises a few questions:
“Much worse are badly managed colonies where the beekeeper makes no effort to prevent swarming and does not inspect for disease or possibly for any other reason. In this hive…colonies are kept on increasingly old comb. These hives will harbour a disease load on the combs and will get progressively weaker and get robbed out before wax moth can destroy the comb.”
This seems to raise a number of issues, which I hoped someone with more experience could help clarify. Partly, I am concerned at how do we attempt to defend our practice and also educate the conventional beekeeping community.
Graham, Reading Berks