All of our bees died over the winter. Again. And a local black bear from the national forest helped himself to some of our honey this spring.
I live and talk a lot of green farming. But its not all roses. Our neighbors who are also beekeepers use multiple potent chemicals, and ship their bees to warmer climates to help them survive. The modern honeybee is a bit genetically fragile, since is not native to this continent, and has been bred for production, not durability. Bees suffer from foulbrood (a bacteria) mites (microscopic spiders) and various to name a few.
Colony Collapse Disorder is the name given to a set of symptoms, where colonies die for reasons unknown. Beekeepers point at chemical farming, and chemical farming hires scientists to point back.
Recently my brother found this article. http://www.bulletinofinsectology.org/pdfarticles/vol67-2014-125-130lu.pdf Now I'm wondering if I need to lock my bees in for the winter or ship them to warmer climates till my neighbors stop using neo-nicotineoids.
Nonetheless we really want to be beekeepers! We will harvest last years honey, procure new hives, and try again. Bees are a key part of a symbiotic farm.
And then we have the more mundane challenge of protecting them from bears. Bears snicker at wooden fences, pick their noses with barbed wire and can destroy a lot in a hurry.
Life goes on on the farm!