Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Natural Beekeeping

This is a great post from Bernhard, that I picked up in a discussion board:

An interesting discussion. See:\

My answer:

Yes, I think that is the problem nowadays, that such appoaches can't be practised because of the pressure applied by strong lobbyists and other beeks.

I know of many cases, where all the other beekeepers stalked people going natural. I know of cases where the hives were knocked over, where the entrances were sprayed with an insecticide spray (=all bee colonies dead), where hives were opened up and queens were killed regularily. Quite shocking, like a war between beekeepers. The researchers, the lobbyists of the chemical industries, some (=not all) authors in bee journals and other cause fear of natural beekeeping. Natural beekeeping spreads diseases and such. Natural beekeeping is evil. Same with ferals.

So fear usually turns into hate. Hate turns into violence.

On the other hand I see many many people interested in beekeeping. Especially newcomers and new beeks are interested in natural beekeeping. More open minded.

I wrote a little text which was turned into a book by someone elses. I got an E-Mail last days, where that person thanked me for my lines. She also told me, that she and a lot of friends started naturally beekeeping. They never would start beekeeping without that Warre/natural approach, because conventional beekeeping wasn't their liking. She told me, that this little book she created was very helpful when talking to conventional beekeepers.

Because without the book, she only got strange looks with questionsmarks in the eyes ("Ah, another newbie with silly ideas. I stick with my own experiences and there is nothing next to it"). But with the book the other beeks grasp what the concept is. Hey, there are pictures which help to imagine things. (Today very few people train the art of imagination).

So here we are with a start.

We have those five groups opposing our approach of natural beekeeping. It still is an approach, no more. Has to be emphasized, I suppose. Lower expectations, rise results is usually a good advice. (sorry roughly translated from German)

The five groups are:

1.) print media (journals and books)
2.) large and medium-size bee businesses
3.) farmers needing pollination services
4.) markets demanding regularity of supply
5.) pharmaceutical/chemical companies + researchers/scientists

So that is the path laying before us.

First we should write books and we should establish an own journal, international and national. The biggest bulk of beekeepers don't have internet/web access! We should write articles in conventional journals, too. There is some interests, even if it is the slightest. Do it.

To get more confidence there should be a network of natural beekeepers. Because the natural beeks are so scattered the network should have newsletters written monthly. A newsletter where every beek can write his thoughts. It shouldn't be electronic only, it should be printed.

Secondly large and medium sized bee businesses should get informed, that there are much more bee products than honey and pollination. Beside that there is much potential in apitherapy! Those people live from the bees, we shuĆ³uld show them that there is much more diversity in bee products. When honey and pollination plays a lower role in income, those beeks will be much more open to natural ways of beekeeping. In apitherapy the following bee products are used:

- propolis
- bees wax
- bee bread
- bee pollen
- bee larvae
- gelee royal
- honey
- hive air (to breath it; good for a lot of pulmonary illnesses)

So many products from one hive! Those products can be transformed to a huge range of end products! You can't imagine! From shower gels, tooth paste (with propolis), to many more. This is a huge potential for those making a living from and with bees.

Maybe there are more ways to make an income with bees. We should discover them and offer them to the professional beeks.

Third the farmer's need for pollination. Actually farming and beekeeping is interconnected since the very beginning of farming. Thus a farmer should be a beekeeper as well. Every farmer should be encouraged to have bees. This can be achieved when beekeeping is teached in agriculture schools and education institutes. Beekeeping should be a compulsory subject like in the old days.
Beekeepers should stop moving bees to big monoculture fields, because they shoot themselfes this way. A round table, where beeks and farmers talk about ways to a more natural agriculture are discussed are needed.

Fourth the markets. The markets should be re-localized. That way the demand for huge amounts are splitted into pieces. Local production will serve the needs by producing little but many amounts. The first thing to do is to cut the license for big companies to sell their honey with the national bee association stamp on it. (This is the case in Germany. The bee associations' biggest income comes from the honey "bottlers" companies, which use the license of the stamp "genuine German honey").

Fifth all the chemicals should be driven out of beekeeping practises. There should be voluntary agreements between beeks and farmers of not using chemicals and genetic engineered stuff. This can be achieved locally only. But if it spreads from region to region you'll take the nation.
Live and let live is usually a good advice. So we beeks should think about ways to get the companies into the boat. There is a lot of knowledge and powers in those companies. In permaculture such a force is turned from the bad to the good use of such energy. I'm very unsure if that works with the concept of such companies, producing 25% more every year. But one should try. Why don't let them produce organic fertilizers? Why not let them produce organic solutions for pests? They have much knowledge about pests which can be used for new organic solutions. Why not turn the chemical production into consulting products? Those companies already consult farmers. Now they could consults how to produce organicly and how to ensure soil health with natural methods? Just a crazy idea, but worth the try?

Same with the research. We can't fund those researches against the chemical companies. So we have to turn the thinking of those companies. So research is done for natural ways, which still can be profitable. Why not?

This are the things which have to be done. The tasks are our tasks. We have to do it, every single one of us have to take action. Because we are like a bee colony. We are all bees. The mission is our queen.

Let's swarm!


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