Ok, nothing funny happened on the way but something kind of dissapointing happened AT the Symposium. For the second year we had a local Bee Symposium here in Santa Rosa, Ca. yesterday. Randy Oliver came up from Grass Valley and gave a really informative presentation about the state of the honey bee and how to take care of them and treat naturally i.e. Oxalic acid and p. sugar. He stressed the importance of diverse genetics and working with the natural instinct of the bees-very informative and i actually learned a few new techniques. Later Serge LaBasque spoke and said much the same with the exception that he adamently stressed NOT treating your bees AT ALL and letting natural selection and consious management weed out the bad genetics-he said this is the only way we are going to salvage the declining bee situation-very thought provoking and i can see the merit in this. What i was sad to see is the presentation become polorized (or at least the audience seeing it that way), the point seemed to be missed somewhere. Here were two speakers, highly admired and knowledgeable (and friends i might add) and the crowd just jumped all over the one difference in opinion the two had. Now granted, this is a big point of discussion and passionate thinking and feeling in the world of beekeeping but come on! What ended up happening is minds were being closed, sides being picked and the speakers being put on the defensive, especially Randy who was the 'commercial beekeeper' in the bunch and taking quite a heavier hit. Everyone seemed to ignore the fact that these two were saying 98.9% of the same. I personally was happy to have a wide range of speakers with differing opinions because this is how we will figure out how to proceed in a difficult time.
So ok, i have spouted but i would really like to know if this is what people are experiencing at these meetings or what? It certainly won't stop me from attending and i sent an e-mail of thanks to both speakers just to let them know i really appreciated their bold presentations and look forward to hearing them again. But i can't help wondering if this could have gone better and people could have walked away with more.