Letters to the Editor

 Letters to the Editor - March 2015


March Cover Picture

The cover photo for this issue is actually a beautiful watercolor work by artist Jim Whiteside.
When I met Jim I was looking for another friend of mine who is also an artist and my visit was to commission a painting to raise funds for our National Honey Bee Day event to be held in Ocala, Florida.

I told Jim about the honey bees and how we all can help protect and save them by just doing small things like planting a bee friendly garden and maybe stop using so many chemicals.
As we talked, Jim made it very plain to me that he is a very caring and loving person and he offered to do a small painting for our auction.

To make a long story short, the auctioneer Laurence Cutts was the high bidder and now owns a very nice piece of art. But that is not the end of the story. Jim has decided to help more by donating the painting you see on this cover. It was purchased at the American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) auction for $700.00 by Mary and Dave Mendes from Florida to help raise funds for the Honey Queen Program. Thank You Mary and Dave!

And still even more….. you too can have a print of this beautiful watercolor with your own logo, business card, or whatever you would like Jim to put into the large square box in the painting.

Just send an email to Jim along with what you would like him to place into the painting and you will receive your own personalized print in the mail.

And last but not least, Jim is donating a portion of all sales to the ABF Honey Queen Program as an ongoing effort to support beekeeping. He has lowered his prices to help the ABF.
These will make great gifts for your beekeeping friends, awards for dedicated workers in your clubs and associations, or just a personal keepsake from a true friend of the bees, Jim Whiteside.

You can contact Jim at http://www.dailypaintworks.com/artists/jim-white

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Chappie McChesney

An Experiment Regarding Beehives and Climate Control

I’ve started a project regarding air-conditioning systems for beehives, and would like expert opinions and feedback. Currently, I’m enrolled at the College of Applied Technology in Nashville, pursuing a degree in HVAC/R technology. My father and a few relatives have been beekeeping for years, and robbing the hives attracted me to the study of bees. My goal is to create a system that cools hives during the hottest months of the year, freeing up the bees who spend their time regulating the temperature of the hive to aid in the honey-making process. The article at the bottom is one I will cite as my inspiration for this. My only improvement to their system is to incorporate a specially designed circuit board to keep track of data, like temperature and humidity, operate the thermostat of the system, and potentially notify my phone via SMS message with the data; the thermostat could theoretically be controlled by a smartphone, too. I spoke with Barry Richards from the NABA website and he referred me to you, while providing me with insight about the natural circulation of beehives. I’d like to feature my experiment, research, and findings in your magazine. Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I eagerly await your questions and feedback.


Joseph Rice

Honey Bees Are Not Disappearing

For most of a decade now people have been saying the bees are disappearing. You can ask just about anyone on the street and they know the bees are disappearing. They can usually tell you that bees are endangered and will soon disappear unless we quickly find a smoking gun and slap a ban on some pesticide, and if we don’t, “Einstein says if the bees disappear, mankind with follow within three years.” We as beekeepers are only too aware of our consistently high winter losses. The losses hurt, but we have all benefitted to some degree from the upsurge in public interest in beekeeping, and it has translated to more government funding for research to solve our problems.

Here’s the thing with those facts though. In 2005, when this whole thing began, there were 2,410,000 managed hives in the United States, and now (as of 2013) there are 2,640,000. You don’t have the be a physicist to see that the second number is higher than the first number — almost 10% higher in fact. And if you look at a graph, the number has gone steadily up almost every year during that time. If you look at a graph of the world bee population for the last 50 years, it’s going up and up, if you look at a graph of the US bee population since 1900 … well it goes up to a peak in 1947 and then comes back down again. This is mostly relevant because a very selective graph of the bee population going back to 1947 specifically is frequently attached to stories about the coming beepocalypse. In fact, even the Einstein quote is incorrect – a quick googling easily reveals that there’s no record of him saying this. And why would he? He was indisputably a very very smart man, but he was a physicist, not an environmental biologist.

So the question is, why are people perpetuating this alarmist and misleading story of a coming beemaggedon? It would be nice to think it’s all just an innocent misperception or at worst people in the bee community who enjoy the increased attention too much to correct the illusion, but unfortunately there are some people profiteering off the whole story.
The first major category is people with an agenda to ban ...