Our bees are in trouble and I’m sure there’s not just one reason for their declining population. We hear about pesticides, lack of wild flowers because of enormous fields with no hedgerows. Mono-culture where only one crop is grown for as far as the eye can see, whereas bees like and need variety. Electromagnetic waves from cell phone towers which could be affecting their navigation skills?
All these I’m sure are having an effect on bees but what about the feeding of bees with sugar which is what happens in hives producing honey. We are now aware of the devastating effect that a diet high in sugar has on human health but at least we have a choice.
Bees produce honey to feed the colony over winter. This honey is full of virus and bacteria fighting substances. It is high in vitamins minerals and antioxidants and probably lots of things that we haven’t yet discovered. It’s a complete food source for the bees. So what do we do? We take away the food they have produced and give them sugar to eat throughout the cold weather. Sugar has calories but is devoid of nutrients. It’s a bit like taking all the food off the supermarket shelves and just putting cabbages there instead. We wouldn’t last long as human beings without a balanced diet so how do we expect the bees to.
I’m sure it must be possible to take a little honey from the bees at regular intervals allowing them time in the summer to replenish their stocks. The hive can then be left full of honey for the bees to feed from over the winter. Beekeepers wouldn’t produce as much honey but surely that’s a small price to pay for the health of our bees.