This podcast with Paul and Jacqueline Freeman discussing bees is one of my favorites and worth listening to, sharing and listening to again. Jacqueline and her "reverence for bees" is a self proclaimed handmaiden to the bees. They discuss her love for all animals on her farm and the interactions with them on a daily basis throughout all aspects of animal husbandry.
Discussion begins with toxins and manufacturers' attempts to save the bees based on short term studies of the effects of bees. Bottom line, user beware as longer term studies show DNA damage. The conventional approach to administer a toxin to kill mites also adds toxins to their food and your food.
One of the biggest problems that Jacqueline brings up is the enormous % of bees on the west coast catering to the almond industry and the short 3-4 week bloom time. It is the epitome of a mono-culture, hosting transient beekeepers to pollinate such a valuable crop and then continuing to caravan throughout the nation. Disease, mites etc travel with them as well and have assisted in the damage to the bee population. Why don't they convert some of the land to polyculture?????
Discussion continues with the natural selection of Mother Nature that the weakest link, be it a vegetable or animal, will be the natural target of pests, bacteria and disease. It is difficult to only hope, assist via plantings and pray for survival, but that's the best approach. Jacqueline talks about the wild bee population in conjunction with her honeybees and the importance of maintaining the natural balance.
They talk about the permaculture or biodiversity approach of ensuring a garden for bees - 3 seasons of food for them with a great variety in each season. Bees will travel miles to acquire what food they need, but they get stressed when food isn't within 1000's of feet and as a result the health of the hive will suffer.
Credits: Marianne Cooper
You can discuss this podcast on this thread at Permies.