Rusty Burlew

Joined: Jun 28, 2018 Last Active: Nov 18, 2019

I have an undergraduate degree in agronomy and a masters in environmental studies. My mission during the last decade has been to urge keepers of honey bees to recognize and respect the other pollinators in our environment.

In North America honey bees and a few other species are managed as livestock, a necessary component of our current system of agriculture. But in my opinion, the movement to Save the Bees has been a mixed blessing, raising the awareness of bees in general while increasing the incidence of poorly managed and disease-ridden honey bee colonies.

Honey bees harvest freely from anyone’s land and their keepers benefit from that collection—a situation unheard of in any other husbandry. But while the honey bees are busy among the flowers, they have the potential to spread parasites and pathogens to wild species.

Because of the vast number of honey bees in a colony, all of which compete on some level with native bees, I believe beekeepers must embrace management practices that limit the honey bee’s impact on wild species. Through my website and other writings, I try to encourage ethical, responsible beekeeping and respect for the entire suite of bees they compete with.

When you can name a thing, it becomes your own. When it’s yours, you care about it. For this reason, learning to identify bees is an essential part of what I do. When I visit with beekeepers or land managers, I make a point of identifying their pollinators and explaining their role in the ecosystem.

Although I am new to iNaturalist, it already has become my most valuable resource. I’m a beginner at identification and I make plenty of mistakes. But with your help, I learn more with each passing day. I can’t thank you enough.

Rusty Burlew

My website: https://honeybeesuite.com

My articles have appeared in American Bee Journal, Bee World, Bee Craft, Bee Culture, Countryside's Bee Life, Countryside & Small Stock Journal, The Serbian Beekeeper, The Irish Beekeeper, and others.

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