Go-beekeeping  [a site established in 2004 and is privately supported]

By a beekeeping Heretic with the bees for 70+ years

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Beekeeping has changed considerably since the 1850 when most bees were kept in log gums and box hives like the one shown.  They all had one thing in common:  The bees built the comb in these hives naturally.  All a beekeeper had to do was find a tree to cut down and move the "gum" to a new location.  Or a person could construct a box much like the one shown here of wood and gather swarms to put into it.  The straw hive was not much used in the early days of American beekeeping.

The bees lived in these hives just as well as modern day hive equipment.  In fact, honey bees overall have not changed in the hundred years or more from that period of time to today.   Honey bees have been selected for various characteristics by modern beekeepers but they still sting, gather nectar and pollen, and behave as honey bees do.   The only major change in honey bees has been the attempt to artificially inseminate queen bees to genetically select for various traits.  But left to themselves, honey bees revert to pervious levels of bee behavior and trait.  As long ago as 1951 a nationally recognized honey bee genetics expert stated that he doubted if there existed at that time any pure race of honey bees in America.  (From a series of articles written for Gleanings in Bee Culture beginning with the June 1951 article titled "Breeding Improved Honey Bees" by William G. Roberts and Otto Mackensen.)

Friday, December 19, 2014