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What This Site Is About

This is not a “How You Should Keep Bees” site; rather, I’m a proponent of “Whatever Works for You” beekeeping.

In short, this site is a record of my learning process as I try to understand aspects of colony health and productivity, and the reasons why various management techniques work (or don’t).  My writing is a digestion of the scientific literature, relating it to my day-to-day hands on experience and observations in my 40+ yards of bees, and then sharing what I’ve learned about the biological processes happening in the hive with other beekeepers.  I then leave it to each beekeeper to make their own informed management decisions.

If you are a beginning beekeeper looking for basic information, or an experienced beekeeper looking for a summary of mite treatment options, I suggest that you go directly to Basic Beekeeping.

I started keeping bees as a hobbyist in 1967, and then went on to get university degrees in biological sciences, specializing in entomology.  In 1980 I began to build a migratory beekeeping operation in California, and currently run about 1000 hives with my two sons, from which we make our livings.

In 1993, the varroa mite arrived in California, and after it wiped out my operation for the second time in 1999, I decided to “hit the books” and use my scientific background to learn to fight back.  I started writing for the American Bee Journal in 2006, and have submitted articles nearly every month since then (see “Articles by Publication Date”–scroll to the bottom for the most recent).

My writing for the Journal brought me requests to speak at beekeeping conventions, which has also allowed me the chance to visit beekeepers from all over North America and several other continents.  I read most every scientific study relating to beekeeping, and regularly correspond with researchers worldwide.

What I try to do in my articles and blogs is to scour scientific papers for practical beekeeping applications, and to sort through the advice, opinion, and conjecture found in the bee magazines and on the Web, taking no positions other than to provide accurate information to Joe Beekeeper.

I regularly update the articles on this site as new information becomes available, and solicit constructive criticism or comments.  Perhaps the best venue for such discussion is at the Informed Discussion of Beekeeping Issues and Bee Biology.  Be sure to subscribe to updates, and I’ll email you monthly when I add content to the site http://scientificbeekeeping.com/scientific-beekeeping-newsletter/

Please Donate Here

If you find this website to be of value, please support it (and my independent research projects) with your donations.  You can donate via Paypal here:

Or Personal checks can be mailed directly to me at:

Randy Oliver
14744 Meadow Dr.
Grass Valley, CA 95945

Thank you!

 

News and Blogs

I occasionally comment on bee issues or the news, or link to interesting blogs by others on beekeeping, bee biology, or the environment. The latest is my comments on the new study from Dr. Lu at Harvard Medical School.

Read all at here:

http://scientificbeekeeping.com/news-and-blogs-page/

To see recent updates to this website, go to http://scientificbeekeeping.com/updates/

Dec 2, 2013 If you have interest in the recent petitions to ban the neonics, I recommend reading a letter to the respected journal Nature by a British bee researcher, Lynn Dicks, in which she points out the problems with hurried setting of policy based upon political pressure rather than upon careful scientific evaluation of the evidence  http://www.nature.com/news/bees-lies-and-evidence-based-policy-1.12443

Such a careful evaluation of all evidence is what I’m all about, even if that is unpopular with those who don’t want to be confused by the facts.  I currently feel that the problem with planting dust from corn seeding has finally reached the point where the manufacturers either have to take responsibility for compensating beekeepers who suffer losses due to the application of their products, or EPA and PMRA need to restrict the use of neonic seed treatments to only planters that pass dust emission certification.  However, I feel that to date there is not enough evidence to call for a complete ban on the neonics–there are simply too many beekeepers successfully keeping healthy hives in areas of seed-treated crops.  Clearly this is a hot issue, and the neonics, along with all pesticides need to be closely watched and regulated.  It appears to me that our regulatory agencies are doing a good job at this, even if progress seems to be excruciatingly slow.

 

The most recent blog of interest is on the real people involved in biotechnology (GMO’s).  Steve Savage writes:

“As with any new technology, the development and commercialization of biotech crops is a story about people.  Its a story about people with ideas and vision; people who did hard and creative work; people who took career or business risks, and people who integrated this new technology into the complex business of farming…  Their story is important, but it tends to get lost in much of the conversation about biotech crops.

Many narratives about “GMOs” leave out the people side, presenting it instead as some faceless, monolithic phenomenon devoid of human inspiration, intention and influence. Thats not how it happened.  Other narratives about “GMOs” demonize those who made biotech crops a reality. Such portrayals are neither fair or accurate.  The real stories of these people matter, because trust in a technology is greatly influenced by what people believe about those behind it.”

Read the rest at:

http://appliedmythology.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-people-side-of-gmo-crops-part-i.html

 


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