It was around 2006 when I, along with everyone else, saw the first of an endless stream of articles talking about the crisis in beekeeping. I was concerned that Honey Bees were dying in massive numbers. In the early days, nobody knew precisely why. In 2016, there still is not a consensus as to the root cause of CCD – Colony collapse disorder. The label applied to the shocking number of healthy colonies dying winter over winter, and now in the summer.
I grew up in the Far East of Russia, an area famous for it’s bees. This is in fact an area where local bees co-evolved with the prime suspect at the center of the current stone-cold “whodunit” mystery around CCD. The much maligned and hearty “Varoa Destructor” mite.
This little critter is thought to be at the root of the bee’s problems. The area I’m from back home is key because it’s a place where bees have learned to deal with the mites on their own, without chemicals. This is the reason Russian bee genetics are being introduced across N. America presently.
Imagine my delight when I relocated to Terrace in 2012, and found that Fireweed Honey, famous for it’s culinary and medicinal value in Russia, is also highly prized here. I immediately began to study and prepare myself to be the best beekeeper possible. The process is ongoing, and I expect, a lifelong process
Bees and other pollinators are responsible for about one out of three bites of food we take. That’s staggering in terms of implications for human health, to say nothing of the issue of outright human survival. It’s something that effects every one of us.
My partner and I are committed to being part of the solution to this problem by keeping bees locally, and doing our best to educate and assist other concerned and like minded people. This is only economically possible with a honey-centered business model living so far north. It’s also preferable as will be discussed in the 2nd part of this article – as long-distance migratory beekeeping is also a prime suspect in the CCD mystery.
We thank you for your support, and encourage ethical and conscious people everywhere to carefully develop their own local bee colonies if they are so inclined. We realize that this is not possible for everyone – and with our first 24 hives tucked in for winter we have learned first-hand why not everyone is interested in this vocation. It’s hard work, and bee stings really do hurt!! But we’re tough northerners, so we sled on…
We all are beneficiaries of the hard work and goodness of bees. Purchasing local honey and hive products from your neighborhood beekeeper is a concrete way anyone who is interested can participate and help solve this ongoing problem.
We are working to develop this online resource for the purchase of local products, the spread of this important message, and as a contact point where local beekeepers and people interested in any area of apiculture can meet, learn, congregate, share ideas, socialize and support each other.
Our very best wishes!
Daria & Roland Wright