Honey bees have accompanied mankind since ancient times yet today they are stressed and more dependent on human care than ever before.
Bees are, like humans, creatures of warmth and maintain a constant temperature in their hive. This warmth helps bees to create wax for their comb, maintain their organisation and keep healthy. It is also through this warmth that the colony finds its identity. The bee colony is an organism with each bee and bee activity integral to the whole. No single part, not even the queen, can be seen as isolated from the whole.
Biodynamic bee keeping is an approach which respects this integrity of the colony. Its aim is to minimise stress factors and allow bees to develop in accordance with their true nature. Bees are allowed to build natural comb, swarming is acknowledged as the only way to rejuvenate and reproduce a colony, the queen is allowed to move freely throughout the hive and sufficient honey is retained in the hive to provide for the winter. A system of bee keeping that respects a colony's natural integrity will not only reduce stress and encourage healthy bees, it will also be commercially viable. The carefully developed Demeter Bee Keeping Standards provide clear guidelines for biodynamic management. For bee keepers setting out on the road towards this kind of bee keeping some Frequently Asked Questions are answered by biodynamic bee keeping consultant Michael Weiler.
Several books can be strongly recommended - all of them can be easily purchased from our online shop or by calling the BDAA Office 01453 759501. Prices given are plus P&P
Bees and Honey from Flower to Jar in which Michael Weiler describes in loving detail the life of a bee colony and indicates the approach needed for successful biodynamic bee keeping. £8.99
Bees by Rudolf Steiner, nine lectures offering fascinating spiritual insights into the world of bees, wasps and ants. £10.95
Buzz of Bees by Jürgen Tautz which is filled with beautiful pictures and describes the bee colony as a super-organism comparable to a mammal. £23.99
Towards saving the honey bee by Gunter Hauk £8.99 -
'The Bee-friendly Beekeeper - a Sustainable Approach' by David Heaf
"A radical rethink of beekeeping principles and practice along natural,
bee-appropriate lines that accord with the species-specific needs of the
honey bee." £25
'Beekeeping for All' by Abbé Émile Warré
"The development, construction and use of the storified/tiered 'People's
Hive': easy and cheap to make; uses natural comb on top-bars rather than
frames and wax foundation." £11
Most of the problems facing bees today are caused by stress of different kinds including that inflicted upon them by misguided management techniques. Many environmental factors have also been identified. The most serious is undoubtedly that of pesticides. The neo-nicotinoid range are particularly damaging and have been banned in many parts of Europe. Please support the petition launched by the Soil Association to ban their use in the UK.
The Natural Beekeeping Trust runs lots of wonderful courses - see our events page and click on the link on the left hand side or go to their website at www.naturalbeekeepingtrust.org for full details
Sustainable, bee friendly beekeeping with the Warré hive: http://warre.biobees.com
Now available: Warré's book 'Beekeeping for All - from BDAA webshop
Bees Action Network: www.beesactionnetwork.org Campaigning for natural bee keeping, more flowers and no chemicals