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Author Topic: pollutants are not natural!  (Read 4870 times)
BjornBee
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« on: August 31, 2009, 08:36:06 AM »

Oxolic acid, pheromone lures to capture mites, Queen pheromone boosters, synthetic brood pheromones, Formic acid, and a host of other things are from time to time, are mentioned as "natural". I've heard that the acids are "natural" due to them being produced on some level in nature, and so the rationale is that huge quantities, are also considered "Natural".

Arsenic is natural, as well as salt. Both in high enough amounts can kill. Both are needed for life. But even lower amounts cause damage in many forms, once you go above the limits found naturally.

Definition of a pollutant: A pollutant is any naturally occuring substance that is in the wrong place or is found in excess. Seems many thing we place in the hive and try to justify it's use, can be classified as a "pollutant".

And many times, pollutants are found to be a danger in so many ways.

Something to think about.
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« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2009, 03:46:41 PM »

  One of the first things I was told in Pesticide class was that a rose growing in a wheat field was just a weed.
  It all comes down to the point of view.
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« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2009, 04:36:42 PM »

...isn't that essentially what i posted the other day?
http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,18024.msg190007.html#msg190007

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« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2009, 04:41:10 PM »

i wonder what bees think of a sheet of foundation preventing them from clustering properly...pollutant?

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« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2009, 09:03:36 PM »

I raise my own pyrethrum carnations and concoct a "stew" with the petals to spray on my organic garden (it's the only thing I've found that works on shield bugs and is listed as organic...pyrethroids are synthetics and are not). The stuff breaks down within a very short time when exposed to UV and is safe for use even on the day of harvest. I guess under this definition it would still be considered a pollutant, but not necessarily a harmful one.

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« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2009, 09:27:04 PM »

Hello Wayne. Did your class give you any information about a safe pesticide to use on fruit trees ? After I started to keep bees I have not sprayed any kind of pest control on my fruit trees and this year the fruit looks like crap.
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BjornBee
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« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2009, 06:27:39 AM »

...isn't that essentially what i posted the other day?
http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,18024.msg190007.html#msg190007

deknow


Sorry about that. I had not seen your very good comments on the matter. I have not paid attention to that particular thread, after the first page which gave the indication of going round and round about "stuff"... grin.
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« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2009, 06:50:56 AM »

i wonder what bees think of a sheet of foundation preventing them from clustering properly...pollutant?

deknow

What is "proper clustering"?

Bees after a swarm may cluster around anything (car bumper), throughout many things(many branches) or even a comb pattern made by another colony (old hive with comb).

You concentrated on "foundation". And although the dynamics of being able to put their heads in the cells with normal heat production, I think the bees produce this same heat in cluster without foundation or comb. So if you are suggesting a sheet of foundation is a pollutant from the angle of it being foundation and contaminated, that may be one thing. But from the point of it being a pollutant from the sense that the bees can not cluster properly, I wouldn't really say that.  

It's funny that people would think of other things other than the original point, that being applied chemicals and treatments.

One of the recommendations for CCD control, and really ANY disease control, is the idea that many hives packed very close to each other is a source for increased outbreaks, or the ease to which disease spreads. I guess it could be said under the definition of a pollutant in regards to the environment, that a grouping of colonies is a pollutant. We know that disease spread and outbreak is easily seen more prevalent with pallets of bees, holding yards where many hives are grouped, and even in backyards apiaries where nice hives are lined up in rows. It certainly is not natural. And by our keeping of bees, we certainly many times add to their problems with disease.

From the angle of a "natural" balance of nature, it could probably be said that large groups of maintained hives, has detrimental impacts on competing insects when it comes to the available resources such as nectar and pollen. Having 20 hives in one spot, pushed out other insects, and possibly effects the balance of nature in many ways. I guess that could be considered a environmental "pollutant".

The original post was in regards to "thinking" because one thing is found in nature, that ANY amount then could somehow be considered "natural". Like pumping in large amounts of acid treatments, and somehow thinking this is natural. Which for me, is quite different than calling beekeeping itself "unnatural".

I think the beekeeping industry has been for too long, fixated on calling one thing or another "natural". Maybe if we can define certain areas of "natural" and look at other terms like "pollutant", a better understanding can be achieved.
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« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2009, 06:34:44 PM »

i don't agree bjorn,

...and i'm not talking about contaminated comb.

although wax is found in a beehive...and even a swarm might find a deadout (or weak) colony to take over drawn comb, no where in nature do bees encounter (or make) sheets of wax with hexagons embossed on them.

when bees draw comb freely, they cluster, and draw both sides at once as they work down.  they don't start with a midrib and then draw cells out.

they certainly never use wax that has been melted, sheeted, and embossed.

i don't really care about the definition of "natural"...what's the point?  but foundation is not something the bees encounter in nature.  not something that would be in their hive.

foundation is a naturally occuring substance (beeswax) that is in the wrong place (where bees will be drawing comb), in excess, and in an unnatural form (embossed foundation).

i'm not sure how this could not be considered a pollutant by your definition.

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BjornBee
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« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2009, 07:40:23 PM »

i don't agree bjorn,

...and i'm not talking about contaminated comb.

although wax is found in a beehive...and even a swarm might find a deadout (or weak) colony to take over drawn comb, no where in nature do bees encounter (or make) sheets of wax with hexagons embossed on them.

when bees draw comb freely, they cluster, and draw both sides at once as they work down.  they don't start with a midrib and then draw cells out.

they certainly never use wax that has been melted, sheeted, and embossed.

i don't really care about the definition of "natural"...what's the point?  but foundation is not something the bees encounter in nature.  not something that would be in their hive.

foundation is a naturally occuring substance (beeswax) that is in the wrong place (where bees will be drawing comb), in excess, and in an unnatural form (embossed foundation).

i'm not sure how this could not be considered a pollutant by your definition.

deknow

Is this classic sandbagging gone bad?  Wink

I didn't really say foundation was a pollutant, or was not. I just mentioned that I did not see it mattering one way or the other as the bees see it. It's funny how I threw in my opinion after you asked "i wonder what bees think of a sheet of foundation preventing them from clustering properly...pollutant? I suggested it probably meant little to them and mentioned them clustering in many different forms. You then somehow took that as a position of myself on the matter of whether foundation was a pollutant. a little mixed up I'd say. I only was looking at it through the eyes of the bees, as was your question. Hmmmm...

If I was to ask bees, and they had the ability to answer, I'd bet they would say "foundation is just fine and dandy, as long as you knock off the acid treatments!"  shocked  And it is these treatments that I hear over and over again, being called "natural" in one form or another. But I guess discussing anything, gets mucked up.

But to further the discussion,

It's klnd of like asking if the paint on the outside of your hive is a pollutant. Except for the really wacked out crowd, most would agree that it is not a pollutant. Take the same amount of paint however, and pour it in a stream, and it is a pollutant.

I look at foundation the same way. It may not be damaging, natural, or even considered a pollutant. The definition I gave was....a pollutant is any naturally occurring substance that is in the wrong place or is found in excess. Maybe you could convince which part would be considered a "pollutant". Is the foundation in the wrong place, or is the foundation in excess? I really would have to take it to the extreme, as you are suggesting, to call foundation a pollutant.

I have a stack of wood in the backyard. Not natural, and could be considered in the wrong place and excess to what nature could of stacked herself. But do I call it a pollutant? No. But is this really the point needed, or the rationale we need to include in discussing this stuff.

Like the paint. I guess someone could suggest anything painted is polluted, or any foundation in a hive, by the mere fact that it IS foundation, is a pollutant. I may think extreme at time, but I don't think this is one of those times. Just like the usefullness of the painted hive, I look at the usefullness, and even impact upon bees when it comes to using foundation. I do not think the bees have a clustering issue, anymore than they would if the same cluster was already on comb.

If your angle is that NO foundation should be in the hive, why stop there? The bars in a TBH are not natural and would be a "pollutant". Forcing bees to draw straight comb is not natural and could be consider a pollutant.

I suddenly realized why I do not read the whole sugar contamination thread..... rolleyes

If you want to take it to the extreme and call foundation a pollutant by the fact that bees did not make it themselves, that is your choice. If I did that, I'd be soon talking about wood bars, paint, nails, metal tops, etc. I'll draw the line, and allow others like yourself to take it those further levels.  Wink
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« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2009, 02:38:05 PM »

You guys and your chemicals and artificial hives!  Wood?  Metal?  Then you stick your honey in a glass jar.. have you ever seen a glass jar in nature?  They don't pick those off of glass jar trees y'know...

I only harvest honey naked (no artificial clothes) by poking open-air hives with a stick that I knawed off a tree until a honey comb falls to the all natural dirt!  Then I squish out the comb with my bare hands into a leaf. 

Sales have been slow lately, though...I'm not sure why, but people tend to run from a naked man holding out a leaf filled with a dirty golden liquid  rolleyes
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Rick
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« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2009, 04:44:34 AM »

You guys and your chemicals and artificial hives!  Wood?  Metal?  Then you stick your honey in a glass jar.. have you ever seen a glass jar in nature?  They don't pick those off of glass jar trees y'know...

I only harvest honey naked (no artificial clothes) by poking open-air hives with a stick that I knawed off a tree until a honey comb falls to the all natural dirt!  Then I squish out the comb with my bare hands into a leaf. 

Sales have been slow lately, though...I'm not sure why, but people tend to run from a naked man holding out a leaf filled with a dirty golden liquid  rolleyes

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!
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bigbearomaha
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« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2009, 06:52:55 AM »

Quote
pol⋅lu⋅tant


–noun
1.    something that pollutes.
2.    any substance, as certain chemicals or waste products, that renders the air, soil, water, or other natural resource harmful or unsuitable for a specific purpose.
Origin:
1890–95; pollute + -ant
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009.

I have checked a number of dictionaries, the most common definition being that quoted above ( highlighting, my own).  Is the definition you give your own interpretation?

Quote
Definition of a pollutant: a pollutant is any naturally occuring substance that is in the wrong place or is found in excess. Seems many thing we place in the hive and try to justify it's use, can be classified as a "pollutant".

Not that  I am disagreeing with the sentiment, If we try to put our minds where we think the bees minds would be, we might consider all those things pollutants as well.

To any bee handler, wax, honey, anything the bees make in their hive would be considered a 'natural resource", therefore pollutants of any kind, especially as introduced by people, should be kept to a minimal/'none-at-all' level.

Some might say taking caramelized honey and putting in a feeder would be a pollutant as well.


Big Bear


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BjornBee
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« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2009, 09:08:50 AM »

Big Bear,
The definition I used was quoted in a state/county conservation program literature.

It was pointing out environmental concerns, from anything from a man-made dam, which inhibits the natural migration of fish and limiting the florabunda, to the overuse of chemicals which create devastating effects in the ecosystem downstream.

There are probably many variations of a pollutant, and many point counter point discussions can take place.

My angle was from the many comments over the years of one treatment or another, especially the acid treatments, that claim "all natural", due to something being found in nature.

One hive sitting in a Field, may be called natural by most. Dumping 200 hives in a holding yard may easily been seen as a pollutant not just to the surrounding countryside, but we also know that close quarters with about anything in nature, spreads disease in levels far greater than normal.

What I wanted to do was point out that maybe the discuss about what is, and what is not "natural" may be best approached by looking at the impacts of such items.

For some, rationalizing because the ants use acid in nature, that using an amount a thousand times more powerful and dumping it into a hive, should also be considered natural. And I do not agree. Of course then others will throw in the use of sugar or foundation, sometimes really trying to justify their own use of other items. It becomes a tit for tat type thing.

If you look at the "parameters" of the definition I gave, it probably fits inside the definition you gave. Your definition is really broad and may encompass many other more defining explanations. Of course the details will be lost in the "harmfull or unsuitable" as many will suggest that acid treatments are not harmful. Afterall, that is exactly what the manufacturers state on the box... rolleyes  And we know where that always leads us in a few years.

But like the small earthen dams across the country, many are being taken down. They were built with the best of intentions for a few different reasons. But now, we realize that ecosystems, flood control, and other issues are being hurt. Many efforts in restoring streams are underway. Compare that to strip application. For years, we followed the label instructions. Now, many studies show devastating effects of comb contamination in regards to bee longevity, queen viability, etc. I know I'm flipping back and forth, from hives to dam. I just liked the definition used in looking at a stream, and think it applies to hives as well.

I find it sometimes best to look ahead of the going bandwagon. 5 to 10 years ago, anyone even suggesting illegal chemicals being used in the industry was black balled. But oh have we cracked that door. Some are still pushing it closed. But with CCD, we now know that this stuff can not be denied anymore. So perhaps we need to quit following the trends, the manufacturers suggestions as to what is safe, and start looking at what is best for the bees. Time and time again, we have done what was thought to be best, only later to find out how unsafe or contaminating the stuff really was.

Sorry for the rant. I just woke up..... grin
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« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2009, 09:11:21 AM »

BT is used as an organic pesticide.  From my understanding, growers may use BT and still be considered organic.  Not according to you though.
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« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2009, 10:10:42 AM »

Quote
I find it sometimes best to look ahead of the going bandwagon. 5 to 10 years ago, anyone even suggesting illegal chemicals being used in the industry was black balled. But oh have we cracked that door. Some are still pushing it closed. But with CCD, we now know that this stuff can not be denied anymore. So perhaps we need to quit following the trends, the manufacturers suggestions as to what is safe, and start looking at what is best for the bees. Time and time again, we have done what was thought to be best, only later to find out how unsafe or contaminating the stuff really was.

Sorry for the rant. I just woke up....

Actually, I agree with you.  I try my best to follow the KISS method. (Keep It Simple, Stupid)

Fads and the 'latest, greatest' are things  I try to leave alone.  keep things to the basics, try to stick with what comes 'naturally'  and I think we are better off most, if not all, of the the time.

Big Bear
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« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2009, 10:46:25 AM »

You guys and your chemicals and artificial hives!  Wood?  Metal?  Then you stick your honey in a glass jar.. have you ever seen a glass jar in nature?  They don't pick those off of glass jar trees y'know...

I only harvest honey naked (no artificial clothes) by poking open-air hives with a stick that I knawed off a tree until a honey comb falls to the all natural dirt!  Then I squish out the comb with my bare hands into a leaf. 

Sales have been slow lately, though...I'm not sure why, but people tend to run from a naked man holding out a leaf filled with a dirty golden liquid  rolleyes

Your honey sales might stink, but I bet you could earn a lot more by charging admission to this fascinating scene you describe!  evil
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« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2009, 11:20:21 AM »

BT is used as an organic pesticide.  From my understanding, growers may use BT and still be considered organic.  Not according to you though.

Good comments.

BT, is designed to target very specific larvae for control of certain pests. BT comes in many forms, like "Kurstaki", etc.

Testing under normal conditions have shown no danger to bees. But lab test and actual Field application usually is a different thing.

If you understand that the spores in BT products "activate" or are designed to grow in very narrow pH levels within the gut of specific larvae, then you must also consider what may happen IF you change the internal gut pH level of bees from outside sources. That could be from unnatural monoagriculture limiting the nectar being brought in, to also include acid treatments. If you change the internal gut pH of bees, it could be a real possibility of them being susceptible to damage from Bt products.

Here is a past article I wrote for the state newsletter addressing some of these thoughts.

Thinking Outside the Box  #2

Some time ago, in a discussion I have lost track of, someone made the comment about the length of a blueberry contract out in the Midwest. Not sure what he was suggesting, I asked what the purpose of such contract was, being no longer than 5 days in blueberries. He went on to explain that many beekeepers in the Midwest would not allow their bees to be on blueberry pollination longer than a 5 day stretch. And if they were needed longer, additional fees would be charged to the farmer. I asked why? He commented that if the hives were on pollination any longer than 5 days, an increase in AFB would be seen, with many hives being diagnosed.

It made me do some thinking. I know blueberries require a certain pH level for the soil they need for providing the best growth and blueberry production. I wondered if that pH level could be seen in blueberry honey. And could a certain crop, by the nectar being collected, change or allow certain disease and other problems to outbreak at increased rates.

I guess everything in the hive has a pH level of same level. So what else could change the ph levels inside a hive. The possibilities could be many. What about the recent increase in acid treatments placed in the hive? Could those very treatments change the makeup and ph levels of wax, the organic matter inside the hive, the honey stores, or even the internal makeup of the bees themselves?

I’m not a fan of acid treatments. I have said many times that there is a fine line between enough acid to kill a mite, and enough not to harm a bee. I also highly disagree with those applying these treatments late in the fall, after the fall brood has been already raised and effected by the mites. And then to subject the bees to being “aged” by hitting them with an acid treatment, only makes me wonder. Whether one uses these treatments is an individual choice. But my opinion is that treating prior to the fall flow is still the best option, if you choose to go down that path..

If it’s true about blueberries effecting hives by allowing AFB to increase in hives, then is it so far fetched to think that maybe the acid treatments are also effecting ph levels of all the matter within a hive? I know several beekeepers in  the southeastern section of the state has commented on the high levels of AFB in recent years. Seems also that in recent years, the acid treatments were being promoted and encouraged. I wonder if there is a connection.

Seems many treatments of the past were claimed to be safe. But we also know the toll that some of these chemicals have done over the years. And we can also see these same chemicals have been shown to effect queen viability, the queens lifespan, and other aspects of a hive’s health.

I don’t trust marketing. I do not trust the “safeness” of any treatment out on the market today. What was once safe, has time and time again shown to be unsafe years later. What I do know, is that my hives have done rather well without the standard chemical. And I think they will do just fine without hitting the bees with an acid treatment as they prepare themselves to go into winter.

In thinking about ph levels within the hives, I also now wonder about the radiation treatments being promoted. I wonder how it changes the organic matter within the hives, as it remains after the treatment. It does not make chemicals go away, or anything else. But it certainly may change the chemical makeup, the ph levels, and who knows what else. I guess as with everything else, we will find out down the road whether it was worth it, and if it has long-term negative consequences.

Mike Thomas - Bjorn Apiaries
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« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2009, 11:40:38 AM »

I'm just a bit bemused by these postings.

Some beekeepers get so caught up in the "all natural",  not putting anything in the hive except wood and nails, and then brag about how natural and wonderful it all is.

As they type on the plastic keyboard, staring at a moniter filled with chemicals, wearing synthetic fabrics, sitting in synthetic chairs, eating potato chips and other foods with artificial colors/ingr.(maybe) , driving vehicles and trucks that spew exhaust (some of that wafts near the hives!), living in houses covered with paint and tar shingles, surrounded by magnetic fields generated by the electricity surging through the wires,etc.

But at least that one little piece of their life is all natural.  Sort of.

There are lots of tools in our lives.  Some are metal, some are chemicals.  We take antibiotics when we have infections. We pound nails with a hammer.  They're tools.  

Just as somebody can use a hammer to smash a window, or pound a nail in with a sledgehammer, antibiotics and medicines can be abused/misused.  Both hammers and medicine can kill people.

But that doesn't make the tool bad.

And just as a hammer isn't so necessary anymore for framing a house now that we have nailguns, doesn't mean that hammers are bad.  And sometimes we still need the hammer to do the things a nailgun can't.

Just as with anything used in a beehive.  Those tools were and still are necessary, but people are finding new tools to replace them.  Apistan saved beekeeping [edit: ok, maybe a stretch, but it did save a lot of bees when the mites came over].  Pesticides and fertilizers have saved millions of people from starvation.

New methods come and go, and when one is used to a tool it is hard to change to a new tool.  We're on the way, but it takes time to make those changes.  It is good to get people to think about it, study, and try stuff.

But to discard anything because it isn't "natural" is just plain silly.

Rick
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« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2009, 11:49:08 AM »

some people are that way yes.  others try to keep their lives with natural products and style as much as possible.

Technology and what I like to call 'simple life' are bound to intertwine, that doesn't mean one can't strive o keep to the basics and 'natural' items as often and wherever they can.

In today's society, most people are at the whim of manufacturers in how the items are made.  If someone gets the opportunity to stick to their ideals, they will take every advantage.

Life itself is not without conflict, nothing wrong with that at all.  We are living and dying at exactly the same time.  can get much more conflictive than that.

Big Bear
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