>It seems to me that beekeepers are fixated on swarm control, and working the bees for maximum honey production above all else.
I'm not into honey production above all else. Survival is a very nice trait. But controling swarming is how I have the bees in my hives intstead of in the trees.
> Since we are faced with honeybee extinction
Who says we are faced with honeybee extinction? I see more feral bees all the time.http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm#feralbees
>I think we should consider letting the bees do what they need to do. A swarm makes a new colony, after all. Just try to catch it, if you can, and let them thrive as best you can.
But I could have done a split with the same result and much less chance of losing the swarm.
>With your help, feed and treatment.
I don't treat and I don't feed unless I have to.
>I support the theory that bees have been weakened by decades of manipulative beekeeping, aimed at high production above all else.
Certainly. Especially when you keep propping up inferior genetics with chemicals.
> Why weed out the drones?
I never do. As a matter of fact, it won't matter what you do you'll end up with the same number of drones.
Levin, C.G. and C.H. Collison. 1991. The production and distribution of drone comb and brood in honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) colonies as affected by freedom in comb construction. BeeScience 1: 203-211.
So why waste your efforts and the bees efforts trying to change it?
> We don't know all their function yet, but they are there for some reason.
We probably don't know all their functions, but was certainly know some of them. Among others, the colony will spend a lot of effort to get drones until they meet their quota, so one purpose is to satisfy that so the workers can do other things. :)
>The same goes for queen rearing. Maybe in the wild, the mating occurs with a selection we haven't been able to match artificially.
I open mate and recommend it. It's hard to beat survival for good genetics. :)
> Lets all focus on healthier hives instead of high production for a few years, until this crisis abates!!!
What crisis? My crisis was over six years ago when I went back to natural cell size.http://www.bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm