Natural Bees

kenyan-top-bar-hive1The Idea

The Details

Natural beekeeping is an entirely new way to keep bees. A natural beekeeper:

  • partners with his bees
  • views himself and his bees as an integral element of the natural environment
  • cooperates with the systems and cycles that make life possible on this earth

It boils down to only two concepts:

  • the bees best manage all things internal
  • the beekeeper manages all things external

It’s just that simple.

Compared to conventional beekeeping, natural beekeeping is:

  • smarter
  • healthier
  • simpler
  • more economic
  • and more sustainable

It’s all about keeping bees in a larger context than just honey production. And it’s based on intelligent relationships and responsibilities. It’s not about methodology.

Partner

As a partner, a natural beekeeper’s goal is to:

  • understand
  • maintain
  • cooperate with
  • and repair any damage to the natural systems and cycles necessary for the bee’s welfare

In the process the bees will become as healthy, sustainable and productive as possible. They will fulfill their purpose. And so will the beekeeper.

Integrate and Cooperate

Natural beekeeping is a process of continual observation and growth. And that’s a good thing. Because it’s almost impossible, in a short period of time, to understand, maintain and cooperate with all the natural systems affecting the bees?

Fortunately a beekeeper doesn’t need to understand everything before keeping bees. For bees are adaptable, resilient survivors who for eons, have done quite well without man’s help. And they will continue to do so without man’s interference when kept naturally.

A natural beekeeper begins by focusing on the externals. That gives him time to find his place with the bees. With a willing mind and an observant eye, nature and the bees will teach him what he needs to know. Then, as experience grows, a natural beekeeper is more likely to assist rather than interfere or hinder a colony’s welfare.

In subsequent pages, I’ll share some practical applications of these concepts.

Why Go Natural?

At my earliest age, beekeeping was my passion. Both my grandparents kept bees. And from the 60′s forward, I worked commercial bees in one form or another. During that time beekeeping got much harder as the bee’s were pushed for maximum production, placed in polluted environments, and ended up on the pesticide treadmill. As a result:

  • the bee’s health declined
  • production decreased
  • winter survival rates decreased
  • disease and pests became endemic
  • sugar feeding was necessary
  • winter bee loss couldn’t be made up from spring bee surpluses
  • I lost my passion for beekeeping

In the late 80′s, sensing the futility and the wrong direction that modern beekeeping had taken me, I set up a test yard. And I began experimenting with alternative beekeeping solutions. Alternative soft treatments, then small cell and eventually organic methods were tried. At each step my bees got healthier and my beekeeping easier.

But my beekeeping advanced when I saw that the source of most of my beekeeping problems were the result of my commercial, production oriented focus rather than the lack of some alternative method. Getting to the root of the problem, I went natural.

Since then, my beekeeping, although not free of problems, has progressed in the right direction. It is in tune with what I have intuitively known was necessary all along.

As a result, much of the passion I’d lost for bees, during my commercial beekeeping experience, has returned. And my beekeeping has just gotten better and better.

Who

I’m not the only one who has arrived at these conclusions. Check out these natural beekeepers:

You?

So what do you think? Are you up for it? If so, you’re not alone. Natural beekeeping is beekeeping for the 21st century. And as intelligent, energetic natural beekeepers swell into the ranks of a graying, industrialized, method based beekeeping community, beekeeping will be revitalized much like the bees themselves are.

-bW

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