Ensuring locally adapted genetic stock for Napa Valley
A Framework for Promoting Locally Adapted Bees
Purpose of Program;
Promoting Locally Adapted Survivor Stock and Enjoyable Rewarding Beekeeping;
- A key premise of this program is; the health of the apis mellifera species and ability to flourish in the wild is important, the understanding is of natural selection; there are many examples of species that can no longer survive in the wild, although not native to the US, we see value in promoting locally adapted treatment free husbandry as a step that may reasonably be taken to maintain a wild species in contrast to becoming domesticated livestock.
- This said, this premise does encourages intervention in providing an attractive nest site, normal hive manipulation, or by saving a colony of bees from demise during periods of transition or extreme environmental stress. This program does not support a rigid live or let die approach.
- Each individual is encouraged to find balance in and one’s own values considering the range of polarized attitudes.
- It’s intended that hobby beekeeping be rewarding, enjoyable at least most of the time, ouch! It’s not all about the honey. We are community, communicate and share.
Recommendations for host
- Contributing (host) beekeepers should have a couple years of successful colony overwintering, who’s genetic lineage is healthy and presumed from local Napa County sources.
- Survivor bees should have all the attributes of a strong healthy colony, prolific reproduction, gentile, disease free, parasite resistant (varroa, etc).
- A survivor colony is not dependent on chemical treatment, extensive feeding, premature queen replacement; a survivor colony may or may not produce an excess honey crop.
- The host should select a strong colony to be split on the premise above.
- A host meeting these criteria should expect to participate and mentor a new beekeeper based on their knowledge and experience to promote local bee genetic survival, and competent beekeeping.
- Help your split partner to succeed and bees to flourish by working bees together, sharing of brood frames, queen cells or work force.
Recommendations for Recipient
- A recipient should have realistic expectations; a high percentage of colonies perish annually for many reasons, if your colony does not survive it does not necessarily imply the stock is of poor quality.
- Seek an experienced knowledgeable host who is compatible; for the less experienced this endeavor may involve a mentoring relationship.
- A split colony may remain at the host apiary for a period, or be relocated during the process.
- Bees have value; the recipient should anticipate contributing a reasonable (customary) donation to the contributing beekeeper not withstanding financial hardship or youth/educational. Please also consider donating to your local not for profit Napa club, we have no dues. There are also non monetary ways to contribute.
- Continuing communication and working bees together with the host is strongly encouraged for new beekeepers.
- Share your experiences, successes and failures, lessons learned and desire for understanding.
- Queens have a productive lifespan, considering our environment eventual colony failure will likely occur under normal conditions. Treated, fed bees have a marginally better survival rate.
- Read, seek knowledge online and ask lots of questions, filter what is right for your style, one never knows all, be open to other perspectives.