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RE: beekeeping course

From: Jim and J.
Sent on: Sunday, July 13, 2008 5:05 PM
Andrew said:
> I think that Jim and I probably take care 
> of our hives in a fairly similar fashion.  

Sure!  I have hung back and watched so far
on the grounds that these are not my hives,
nor has anyone told me much about the status
of the hives.  Anyway, Andrew has waded right
in and done such a fine job, I felt no need
to insert myself into the process.
> We would teach to the Langstroth, I expect, though 
> we could certainly talk about TBHs if there is interest

I think that Dana's comments of weeks ago, combined with
the claims made by the Chris Harp fellow at Wave Hill 
prompt one to at least highlight the differences/similari­ties,
and debunk the untrue claims made about TBHs as being any 
more "worthy", "natural", or "wholesome" than other types
of boxes.

> Organic methods and non-organic methods could be discussed 
> And pros and cons explained - but not allowed to be completely 
> debated or to dominate the proceedings.

I think that we may need to also cover this stuff more
completely these days, as there seems to be a generalized
vague perception that just as anyone wanting to start a
garden would of course want to garden "organically", these
same people would of course want to keep bes "organically".

The problem here is that we legitimate beekeepers have stood
by and let people with agendas of personal profit and/or
self aggradizement do all the talking about "organic", and
thereby create the false impression that we don't know 
anything about organic beekeeping, and are ignorant fools
who have not just poisioned our hives, but created the
"CCD" or "Disappearing Bees" problem with our own ignorance
and lack of enlightenment.

For example, the most recent Wave Hill seminar was a good
introduction by John Howe and the lady who he has been
mentoring at the East Brooklyn garden, but then Chris Harp
positioned himself as being an "ORGANIC beekeeper", thus
making everyone else look NON-organic, and thereby
unenlightened, igornant fools.  While we have always been
very tolerant of divergent views within beekeeping, we
(John Howe and I) decided to be polite, and not contradict
Mr. Harp, which left his often wildly inaccurate statements
unchallenged, and left the workshop attendees with the
impression that Mr. Harp was not just "correct", but clearly
offering a superior approach to the entire craft/art/science
of beekeeping, rather than a jumbled assortment of nonsense
phrases and outright myths about bees.

> I do not live in the City so we will have to talk times, etc.

Most people have day jobs, so I'm guessing that we are limited
to nights and weekends.  I'm thinking seriously here that we
want to use Kim Flottum's "The Backyard Beekeeper" as a primary
text, and either Diana Sammataro's or Dewey Caron's books for
the more detailed technical stuff.  For classroom lectures, 
I'm looking at taking the VA/NC/Long Island official slides and
course syllabus, and adding a bit on "rooftop" and "urban"
concerns, such as our need for a very aggressive approach to
swarm "prevention", by doing things like splitting everything
in sight every darn spring, and requeening everything in sight
every darn fall.

I'll tell you right now - if we want legalized beekeeping in
NYC, we are going to have to self-regulate, and self-educate
so as to be able to make assurances that scary-looking swarms
do not start appearing everywhere.  We also need to bite the
bullet, and admit that the postage-stamp sized gardens are
NOT the place for full hives of Apis mellifera, but instead,
are the place for bumble bee colonies, carpenter bee logs,
Osmia tubes and other less numerous pollinators.

This sort of approach also implies that 4 hives do not belong
in a 1/4 acre garden like the one where we have the last 
meetup.  While I helped move the two extra hives in, I think
they need a new home pronto, and that even 2 hives is more
than is really required for such a small garden.

In general, bees need rooftop sites NEAR community gardens.
We need to make friends with building owners, and the 
gardens will get all the visits they need even if the
hive is 100 meters away.

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