Article Image

IPFS News Link • Bees and Beekeeping

Oracle organic beekeeping 2014

• YouTube.Com
Oracle, AZ - Organic beekeeping 2014 with Dee Lusby:

Dee Lusby has been keeping bees since she was 13 in New York state.  In the late 1980's, she and her husband, Ed, were looking at the cell sizes in family equipment dating back to the late 1800's. They were the first to notice that cell sizes had varied enormously with no rhyme or reason.  Their vigorous (and well documented)  research uncovered a relationship between latitude, altitude, and natural cell size which she points out, is an example of Bergman's Rule.

Ed and Dee never got on the treatment treadmill.  When mites first appeared in the U.S. in the mid-1980's, they refused to treat, and instead began their regression to Small Cell and took the losses upfront.  The resulting bees (700+ colonies) are strong, disease resistant, and magically pull the most delicious honey out of the desert hills.

Dee will be speaking specifically about breeding.  Note that her own breeding program has resulted in a population of bees that are productive, don't require treatments, and can absorb and rebound from challenges quickly.  Dee's management strategy boils down to "Don't Treat", and her bees (named their own subspecies, "Lus-Bees" by the Tucson Bee Lab) thrive nonetheless.  While others use symbolic metrics (mite counts, hygienic "freeze" tests, brood buildup with feeding, etc) to determine the effects of mites and microbes, Dee has stuck to "nature" as a selection pressure, which constantly allows her stock to adapt to conditions and threats as necessary.  Locally adapted stock is essential for sustainable beekeeping, and this will be Dee's focus.

Dee's writings, The Way Back to Biological Beekeeping, and others (published on lay the foundation for regressing bees, and management strategies for the large and small scale beekeeper without the use of any treatments whatsoever.