In many ways, the 2008 Organic Beekeepers meeting in Oracle Arizona (run by Dee Lusby) was ground zero for the 'modern treatment free beekeeping movement' (if there is such a thing).
These are raw videos, unedited. At some point in the future, we may clean up the audio, and edit out some of the projector problems, but we intend them to be up and free in some form or another.
Randy Quinn speaks soberly of the effect that selecting for a few traits and requeening colonies en-mass with these hybrids from closely mated lines has had on the diversity of the gene pool (both from the selection on the breeding end, and in the introduction of homogenous hybrid stock into apiaries). He promotes an old (and almost never talked about) practice of requeening by making a split to ward off swarming (making sure eggs, honey and brood are present within the split). Simply wait two months, and recombine the two colonies. In most cases, you will end up with a new queen (and in those that you don’t, you are likely better off with the old one).
Kerstin Ebbersten reminds us of what we all know…that no matter where our queens come from, there is an unbroken lineage going back millions of years from queen mother to queen mother. There is no way to maintain genetic diversity if we rear (and introduce) thousands of queens from one mother, especially if they are not open mated. A queen can “father” many brood via it’s drones, but only mother a small number of queens at a time. This is protection against inbreeding as it allows successful genes to spread widely, but not too densely, as in open mating the queen will mate with up to 30 or more drones among whom there is bound to be a diversity of genes.
In his deceptively simple style, Michael Bush gives a complete overview of queen rearing. His talks are like his writing, with more content, detail, and depth than one would think possible with such few words…his website and PowerPoint presentations are the gold standard for diverse and common sense beekeeping practices.
Corwin Bell and Kelly Simmons showed beautifully crafted top bar hives, and spoke in detail on the management and benefits of keeping bees in a top bar system…many of us left the presentation with the desire to try this style of beekeeping, which is especially well suited for use in more populated and urban areas.
(For some reason, this video doesn't seem to have migrated from googlevideo to youtube...I will look into this and see if I can get permission from Corwin to put it back up).
Dean Stiglitz Audio Part1 Part2
My talk focuses on what organic beekeeping is (no treatments “organic” or otherwise, natural sized comb, unlimited broodnest, open mating with survivor and feral stock, and leaving plenty of stores for the bees so that feeding is not necessary), how organic approaches relate to the rest of the industry, why “organic” is not a good term for what we do, why we should keep our organization loose (without bylaws, leadership, regulations, or certification), what the benefits are (to beekeepers, farmers, conservation land, the consumer, and the planet), education, economics, the future, and a little bit of everything else.
Tim Maxwell's photos:
Dean and Ramona's photos:
Dee Lusby’s writings:
Corwin Bell’s website:
The Organic Beekeeping discussion group can be found at: