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Unbelievably, humans have succeeded in destroying half of America’s honey bee colonies in 2022. I know what you are thinking. Humans killed them? What? My rebuttal is, if not humans, who, then, killed them?

Honey bees do not need us; we need them. To better understand this dichotomy, we must look at facts and history.

Ever since homo sapiens discovered that apis mellifera produced a sweet thick substance that they named “honey”, our upright species began killing honey bees to get at their food inside of feral hives, then, inside of skeps. Because honey bees sting, humans had to kill the bees to get to the honey. Fastforward to current times, aren’t humans doing the same thing with Langstroth-type hives/any hives, really. In the process of “keeping” honey bees in modern hives, honey bees are dying by the billions worldwide.

Even the Australian government is actively, deliberately, killing honey bees by the millions, if not billions.

We eat chickens before they are born and after they die.

We eat cows and their calves’ food.

We kill sharks so we can eat shark-fin soup.

We eat the eggs of sturgeon.

Now ‘they’ want us to eat bugs!

Our species relies on the flesh and production of a wide range of animals.

Disclaimer: I eat poultry, beef, fish and, yes, honey, so I am in no way attacking eaters of honey. I am also not singling out any beehive type, brand or model; I’m only stating the facts so we can analyze the problem and its scope.

Beyond the drama, I’d like to share how I’ve learned to stop sweeping the dirt under the rug, instead, figuring out how to pick it up and dispose of it immediately and properly. I summarized my approach in four steps when I, begrudgingly, started to embrace problems and searched for solutions. In the process, I became an independent inventor, albeit, unwittingly. I faced a specific and annoying problem at least weekly as an HVAC technician and sole-proprietor. The problem haunted me spiritually and psychically, and in only two and a half years, I solved the problem (and many others), then licensed my “solutions” to a market leader and was paid royalties for some years to come.

The 4 steps:

  1. Admit there is a problem
  2. Admit there is a solution
  3. Commit to finding the optimum solution
  4. Commit to implementing the solution

Pick any problem in the world, and begin to break it down into these steps, so that further understanding can be organized and first steps can be formulated.

That was HVAC. So what about honey bees made me invent solutions to many problems affecting them?

A friend. She stood there in awe, witnessing the splendor of my early-season wildflower and vegetable gardens, being buzzed by so many native pollinators, and said:

“This is amazing! All that you need now are honey bees!”

I responded. “You know, I have thought about that.”

She supported my casual interest. “I’ll buy everything that you need!”

“Really?” I wasn’t expecting her offer to be a serious one, and wasn’t sure if she was thinking it completely through.

She was serious and emphasized her interest in helping to bring honey bees to the community in which we lived. “Sure!,” she said. “What do you need?”

I lead her to my PC and we found everything that I needed to become a beekeeper, including a three-pound package of Italian honey bees. In a week, I was a novice beekeeper.

I kept my first colony in a Langstroth hive at her mother’s house, four doors down in a New Hampshire seacoast town. Her mother had just undergone spinal surgery, and my friend thought it a good idea to keep them in view of a front window, to perk up her spirits during convalescence.

Sadly, by the last week of December, my first colony of honey bees were dead, when the weather had been in the fifties and sixties, then, suddenly the temperature plummeted to minus fifteen degrees below zero, Fahrenheit. I opened the hive, knowing already what I would see: tens of thousands of bees covered with frost, frozen solid.

Since then, I’ve refused to buy another Langstroth beehive, knowing full well as an HVAC systems designer and inventor, that I could, and would solve the problem that I had just given the new name I would come to use: the bee coffin. That’s right, the Langstroth hive, patented in 1852, is the essence of the modern hive that my bees died in, albeit, redesigned to accommodate modern manufacturing processes for maximum profit margin.

Yes, I contributed to the death of my bees by not shoring up the hive stack to include improved R-value and humidity absorption, but the extreme weather is what would have killed any colony of bees if they, too, were in those conditions in a ‘Langstroth’-type beehive. And, honestly, name a single hive insulation with an R-value more than zero to 1!

It is apparent that Lorrenzo Lorraine Langstroth was a very adept and creative “apiarian”. I’ve read and understood his Letters Patent and it is clear that he was, indeed, a gifted and experienced beekeeper and independent inventor. We should all applaud his achievements, as I do. Also, he had a limited number of construction materials options and technology at the time, and they were definitely not perfect! Who knows. Would he have created a better hive, as I have done with the Fortress Beehive, had he been alive today with access to modern construction materials?

Why then, are honey bees, today, facing such catastrophic losses in the face of superior construction materials than Lorenzo had available to him in the mid 1800s? Let’s, now, admit there is a bigger problem with modern beekeeping than there was in 1852. Any suggestions what they might be?

Most beekeepers know what these problems are, but how many are willing to admit that the modern pine-box-called-a-beehive is partially to blame?

That is the first of four steps to problem-solving in the beekeeping industry.

The problem list is very long when it comes to causes of honey bee mortality. But I assure you, many manufacturers would cannibalize their own existing products if they made a bee hive that met the needs of honey bees, rather than the needs of beekeepers and the honey industry itself.

Then there are the sugar companies, the chemical companies, and the pine wood companies who dominate the industry, keeping innovators with solutions out by out-competing with them, and there you have it: 50% of bee colonies in America died last year.

Let’s focus on admission of the number one problem adversely affecting honey bees: varroa destructor mites.

Why is it that with decades of chemical treatment, bees are still dying at ever-greater rates with time?

I can tell you why that is. There is no chemical that will ever eradicate varroa; there’s no magic bullet. Incredibly, apiarians kill thousands of bees in their apiary just so they can determine if their colonies are infected with mites. Then, they poison their colonies with toxic acids and un-natural chemicals to kill a small percentage of mites, temporarily, killing brood and bees in the process. No wonder billions of honey bees are killed by humans around the world every year! This is sad and extremely unproductive. Is this the best we humans can do?

And there are the other killers. A long list of them can be seen hare, at Wikipedia, so I won’t list them here.

So, we know what the problems are, but what is/are the solutions that will stop the honey bee die-off?

Action to get started, which is why I have spent, since 2018, over a quarter million dollars on Research & Development of bee hives and hive shelters. Who does this? Problem-solvers. Yes, solving problems associated with products costs money.

Every entrenched problem requires many open minds and creative spirit to find optimal solutions, and the determination and commitment to bring these solutions, even incrementally, to public consciousness. Big business will never do this – pioneering – unless it sees greater profits than it presently experiences. Most in industry won’t ‘go there’ because it will cannibalize their present sales revenue and reduce their holy grail bottom line – their apprehension feeds the doom loop that honey bees are on. Instead of revering the honey bees (which have made them and their businesses what they are today), by doing everything possible to save them, they proceed full-speed ahead doing the same thing that brought the crisis of phenomenal honey bee deaths to its present state: terrible hives, white sugar, toxic chemicals inside and outside of the hive, rough treatment, intentional killing of bees to find out if they are ‘sick’, electro-magnetic radiation poisoning, deliberate wholesale murder of colonies by sociopathic government agents and policies, and the list doesn’t stop there. The treatment of honey bees is nearly on-par with other livestock abuse and factory farms and factory torture.

The Bee Fortress prototypes have inched forward toward the optimal solution. The closest I’ve come to the greatest solution yet is the Fortress Beehive. The videos and text on this site and on social media express the achievements that five years of deep thought and creative imagination have brought forward through hive shelters and hive designs.

The first prototype of the Fortress Beehive is displayed on this site and on social media, and the next prototype coming in September 2023 is my greatest achievement to-date. I’ve made over 25 revisions to the first Fortress Beehive, and I can’t wait to show the world what the next Fortress looks like and all that it entails.

It takes difficult acceptance to overcome habit. “I was just following orders” is the same as “I was just doing what the industry told me to do.” This is where that mentality finds us and the specter that 50% will next become 60%, and then 85% of bees will be dead.

This is why I had to act.

The Fortress Beehive kills varroa mites without chemicals, with just the flip of a couple of switches. Then, imagine that this same system, with more testing, might prove to kill wax moths and hive beetles in the process of killing mites.

I am also creating The Varroa Destructor – the best thermo-therapy system for killing mites ever created. This, too, is forthcoming in 2023.

The Fortress Beehive is weather-resistant, bear-proof, and thief resistant.

The Fortress Beehive has an adjustable hive volume method, so one stack is all you’ll ever need and you won’t have to buy any other accessories, in most beekeeping situations.

The Fortress is heated and ventilated with solar power and/or utility power.

The Fortress has a solar-gain system to help heat the colony in the morning, and that keeps the hive cool in the afternoon.

The Fortress includes a moat so crawling insects cannot enter the hive.

The Fortress has a double anchoring system that attaches it to the earth and keeps the hive boxes attached to the Foundation.

The Foundation is 4 things at once: A hive anchor; a hive box anchor; a hive stand and a hive moat.

The Fortress includes a liquid and solid feeding system, and this Feeder is also a Combination Box that acts to ventilate the hive at a preferred rate, adjusts the hive volume based on the size of the colony, to assist in prevention of swarming, and to facilitate efficient heating of the brood box(es).

The Fortress includes and Upper and Lower Screen to make beekeeping tasks easier to perform by keeping the majority of the colony in place inside the hive boxes.

The Fortress Hive is virtually in-destructible, as its primary construction material is comprised of 1/8″ anti-bacterial stainless-steel.

The Fortress has a Condensate Drain so humidity is automatically vented and drained out of the hive.

The Fortress Beehive can be locked up to make it very difficult for any unauthorized person to get into the hive.

Is the Fortress Beehive the optimum solution to what ails honey bees? Soon, we will all find out.

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