This is a picture from a beekeeper friend of mine. William Gorsich who lives around St. Louis has been keeping bees for the past thirty years. He doesn’t keep bees the way we have been keeping them though. Sure he uses Langstroth hives, because yes they are more economical when it comes to pure honey production, but He can’t stand the sight of a gentle bee.
“Why would anyone put a bunch of bees that can’t defend themselves around skunks, badgers, and deer? It just don’t make any sense.” says Will.
Instead of breeding the fight out of bees so we can have a few less “owwies” on our wittle fingers, Will goes around his property and surrounding Western Illinois and Missouri and captures wild hives. He then takes those hives and puts them in a langstroth. His logic is that it saves him a ton of money from not having to buy packages, and it saves him time and resources from trying to raise his own bees. I want to point out that he still raises his own queens and bee packages for sale, but capturing swarms alleviates that strain.
An interesting thing that William has pointed out was that of his bees, he has not had nearly as many pest problems, and a miniscule amount of hives have failed due to outside controls, such as the fabled CCD (AKA pesticides).
I ordered three packages from him last year and man are these babies awesome. within six weeks, one of the hives filled out ten top bars. They just wouldn’t quit. And guess what, of all the times we were messing with the hives, taking video and pictures and trying to manipulate the comb, I only got stung twice. The whole myth about an angry hive is simply untrue. We need to keep the fight in our bees, Why would anyone want to combat CCD with a hive that can’t even defend itself from robber yellowjackets, because that’s all we’re doing. Sure the bees are gentle towards us, but if you follow logic, a bee that won’t defend a human taking honey, definately won’t defend a yellowjacket or other robber bee from taking honey.
We need to be the ones that take extra precautions such as more protective gear and maybe the use of smoke. Smoke is beneficial because it distracts, but it shouldn’t be used primarily. Just take your time and enjoy the ride.
Anyways this picture is of a bumblebee hive that Will captured. Yes you can capture bumblebees, if anyone is interested in capturing a bumblebee hive, let me know. I’m going to try it this spring.
and if anyone is interested in getting bees from William, let me know as well.