102 Beekeeping Controversies With Susan Rudnicki


Behind the headlines about bee die-offs is an untold story about the methods of conventional beekeeping. There is a sharp divide between mainstream beekeepers and natural beekeepers. In this episode we delve deep into the controversies over how bees are managed with beekeeper Susan Rudnicki. We recorded this episode in front of a live audience at one of Honey Love’s monthly symposiums. We get into a lot of detail on beekeeping methods, so consider this episode a kind of natural beekeeping 101. During the podcast Susan discusses:

  • Why are all the bees dying?
  • Treatment vs. non-treatment.
  • Why most advice is pro-treatment.
  • Keeping feral stock.
  • Africanized bees.
  • Mistakes.
  • How often to inspect.
  • Swarm prevention.
  • When to take honey in a Mediterranean climate
  • Dodgy bee removal services.
  • The “Complete Idiots Guide to Beekeeping.”
  • What’s wrong with package bees?
  • The difference between swarming and absconding.
  • That Flow Hive thingy.
  • Darwinian concepts in beekeeping.
  • “Scientific” beekeeper Randy Oliver’s change of opinion on feral stock: here and here.
  • Bee Audacious conference.
  • Foundation vs. no foundation.
  • Reducing entrances.
  • Queen excluders.
  • Screened bottom boards.
  • Straightening crooked comb.
  • Eight frame boxes.
  • The problem with organic treatments.
  • Les Crowder’s “Top Bar Beekeeping.”

If you’d like to leave a question for the Root Simple Podcast please call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to [email protected]. You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store and on Stitcher. The theme music is by Dr. Frankenstein. A downloadable version of this podcast is here.



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  1. Many thanks for this podcast !
    It’s great to hear that the conventional beekeepers are opening up, ever so slightly, to alternative management techniques

  2. It’s hard to taken anyone seriously that refers to “genetically modified honey bees.” There are currently exactly zero commercially available genetically modified honey bees.

    • Seems you did not listen carefully to my explanation of the “genetic bottleneck” that exists in the commercial package bee breeder industry. These bees are being bred from a limited pool of around 600 queenlines, artificial insemination in labs using genetically selected drone traits is NOT uncommon, and the traits being selected for are narrowly judged by human scientists and breeders to be those most commercially useful, while ignoring the loss of traits that serve Apis mellifera in resilience that are TIED to these “valuable” traits. Go back and listen or read the links Erik posted from Randy Oliver, the Scientific Beekeeper website, which will fill in your information shortfall regarding the heavy commercial manipulation of honey bee genetics.

  3. Great podcast! I’ve been a fan of the treatment-free beekeeping podcast for a while now. I think that it’s important to decide what kind of beekeeper you want to be from the beginning. The idea of treated bees in my organic garden is bizarre.

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