Professor Frank Drummond on the Health and Welfare of Bees

Frank Drummond: “It masks any alarm pheromones.
So, if you squish a few, they can’t detect it as well and then it also causes them to
start sucking up nectar and eating a lot because it is thought that in a case where there is
a forest fire, they eat as much nectar that they can to go find a different home. It’s
only about 75 percent brewed…” “You know, in the lab they drop insecticides
on the bees to see if it directly kills them. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t sell
the insecticide. They’ll just have a label, you know, ‘Please do not spray when bees are
out foraging.” “Oh! She’s up at the top now, there she is,
right there. The idea was sort of that the queen ruled the hive and dictated and determined
everything, but now it’s thought it’s really much more of a bottom-up control, that the
workers control everything.” “Before they started bringing bees in, they
were using insecticides. And back in the old days, they would use insecticides like arsenic
and then DDT, which had pretty good long residual. And then they started using herbicides, so
they were eliminating much of the bee forage, and so they are impacting the native bees.
And so yields were starting to get a little depressed and then they brought in honey bees
and boom!” “The confectionary sugar forces the mites
to come off and so then you can count them. It’s thought the mites compromise the immune
system of the bees. With that, then all sorts of other maladies tend to take down the bees.” “I mean, you could, if you were very large
scale, still just depend on native pollinators. I mean, that’s what always used to happen
before the 1960s pretty much, but you know, your yields are way down. So, maybe instead
of 8,000 pounds of blueberries per acre, you’ll get 1,500. Also, if they’re an organic grower
and they can only sell 5,000 pounds and they’ve got 10 acres, why should they produce 50,000?
You know, they just won’t be able to harvest it all. You know, it really depends on if
someone is trying to maximize their yield and profits or if they’re trying to limit
capital investment and not pay for bees. So, it sort of depends on their operation and
what they are happy with.”

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