The Beekeeper’s Companion Since 1861
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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor – May 2020

- May 1, 2020 - (excerpt)

Never Give Up

I promised my step dad I would send this picture to you. His name is Harold Brown and he has H.B. Honey in Calipatria, California, in the Imperial Valley. He has been a beekeeper ever since he was a young teenager. He is now 78 and is still at it. He thought this would be a great photo and motivation. He is tending his bees on his walker. His motto is, “Never give up.”

Thank you very much.
Lisa Smith
Batesville Arkansas

Corrupted by Industry Dollars?

 To Alison McAfee,

Just wanted to commend you on your piece in the April ABJ (“Have Honey Bee Researchers Really Been Corrupted by Industry Dollars?”). People get really weird about “tracing the money.” Research dollars are hard to come by and the idea that money is “tainted” by its source is untenable. We all breathe the same air, anyway. Keep up the good work.

Peter L Borst

Unbounded Admiration


I was pleasantly surprised to discover the nature of the “From the Editor” column in the March ABJ. I have had the same questions regarding some of the authors and their viewpoints in relation to the origin of this marvelous universe that we have the privilege of experiencing every day. I also certainly agree with you that God is mentioned much too infrequently in our daily conversations and most likely for the reasons you stated. This is certainly to the shame of those of us who know God as a personal friend.

I also heartily agree that those who suggest that “evolution is a fact of life, but guided by the hand of a supreme being,” only cause more confusion in a very confused society.

As to your question of how God came into being, is it any question, when you consider the diversity of species and the marvelous design and beauty of nature, that a divine being that created all of this could be nothing but eternal? Eternal in the past as well as in the future?

I also would like to mention your closing statement in regards to the belief that writers and readers of the ABJ have in common: “Whether a product of God or of Mother Nature, the existence of Apis mellifera in our world is nothing short of miraculous.”  I looked up the definition of miracle . . . “A marvelous event manifesting a supernatural act of a divine agent.”

I would just like to note that admitting that this design is a miracle is certainly an admittance to God being behind the design.  Indeed, how could a miracle be ascribed to “time+matter+chance”!!

P.S. I would like to take a guess that your Inbox is even now filling with comments on this column.  Most likely comments from both sides of the spectrum.

To you and to all who may be considering the question, “Is there a divine intelligence behind all of this?” I beg you to consider the following quote from the Word of the Creator to the created . . . For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Romans 1:20 NATURE IS THE PROOF!!!

Jeffrey Detweiler
Elkton, Maryland


Hi Eugene,

First of all, thank you for a great bee magazine. You mentioned God in your letter. It triggered my letter to you. This could only happen in America. If anyone asked me if I believe in God I would have to answer no. Because I know there is a God. Since I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1972, I have had so many experiences testifying to me that this Church  is true, that I would be a liar if I denied it. Now, I do not hold it against you when you express doubts about the existence of God. In America you still have the freedom to have agency, the very basis for progress in humans (Agency-Choice-Consequence).

Keeping it short I would just like to grab hold of the last sentence in your letter: “Whether a product of God or of Mother Nature, the existence of Apis mellifera in our world is nothing short of miraculous.” And I fully agree. What is a miracle other than a natural thing, the creation of  which we don’t know how. Once we know how, it’s no longer a miracle, only a natural thing. You might add though, how was life added? And what happens at death? This summer my friend Ed and I are going to once again enjoy beekeeping. Ed is a retired veterinarian. Last year when we pulled into one of my yards, I blurted out as I got out of the truck, and we looked over the Southern Alberta prairies towards the beautiful Rocky Mountains a few miles to the west: What can be better than this? Ed: Nothing! Now those are the many “miracles” we experience up here in the cold north in the summer.

Kent Skoien
Alberta, Canada


Extracting Honey with Rob Smith

Hi Eugene,

It is safe to say that I find almost every article in the ABJ to be of interest. Even the ones about Varroa which we haven’t discovered. Yet. Some of the messages concerning state meetings in places I haven’t visited get a quick read but, occasionally, there is one that really interests me.

Today’s edition had just such a one, — Ron Miksha’s Paradise Lost — and, especially, his reference to Rob Smith’s record production of 762 lbs. of honey per hive in the 1954 season.

I sailed to Western Australia in 1950 from U.K. as a £10 Pom and, on board the ship, I met another single guy, Dan Drakes. Dan had kept a couple of hives for a few years on the family farm in Lincolnshire..

We met Rob Smith in December 1953 and he offered us a job helping extract the honey from his hives during the forecast Karri flow.

He already had the bees down in the Karri forest on several sites but moving his extracting van around was…