This will be amusing to those who know something about beekeeping.

The Washington Post has published a photo essay under the headline: How Italian honeybees in Main are helping to sustain our food supply.

The photos are very good. They were shot by  Andrees Latif of Reuters. The story’s editor at the Post is Nicole Crowder, editor for the Washington Post’s photography blog, In Sight. The story says:

In the summer, photographer Andrees Latif followed beekeepers who have been trekking large crates of Italian honeybees across the country from one farm to another in the effort to pollinate crops. (quoted)

Italian honeybees, of course, don’t come from Italy. That’s just their name. Somebody — the photographer or the editor — got it wrong and leaves readers with the impression that we’re bringing over bees from Italy to help us solve our food problems.

Several commenters on the story pointed this out, and one of them (identified as “beezations”) took the opportunity to go on this anti-commercial beekeeping rant:

This is terribly misleading. Italian honeybees are nothing new, but many of us backyard beekeepers have learned the hard way that they tend not to be as hardy in northern climates as the Russian and Carniolan bees.  
But that’s beside the point here. The practices described here are utterly unsustainable and these commercial beekeepers are a large part of the problem. Small farms traditionally included local hives to pollinate their crops, which also tended to be far more diverse. (Think of the wide range of vegetables that show up at your farmer’s market) Commercial beekeepers load hives on pallets, truck them under a plastic wrap in all weather conditions, drop them in the middle of monocultures — the almond groves of Central Valley in CA is responsible year after year for killing more than 75-percent of the commercial hives that are brought there — where they’re fed corn syrup with a ph that wreaks havoc on their guts. The die-offs are astronomical. You’re just seeing the same people import more bees so they can continue the same unsustainable practices. (quoted)

Well, anyway, take a look at the pictures. They’re very nice.

Key words: Washington Post, Andrees Latif, Nicole Crowder, Italian honeybees, beezations, beekeeping, commercial beekeeping, beekeeping in Maine, photos of beekeepers

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