Last weekend I took my first course in Biodynamic bee keeping. There are three classes in the series. The next one is in June and then September.
The honey bee is vital to our future. Without the honey bee we cannot grow food. In many countries around the world they are passing new legislation to protect the bees from chemicals that are depleting their population. Without honey bees we will starve. That is the absolute bottom line truth. Over the past 10 years there has been an epidemic of bees vanishing from hives due to poisons that either confuse them or kill them. Bee sanctuaries are places where humans can provide an organic, healthy environment for the bees so that they do not travel to areas where they become exposed to anything that could damage them or their hives.
I’ve inserted some links below which are videos of a man with a vision. He created Spikenard Farm to save the honey bees. Gunther Hauk has also written a new book entitled, “Towards saving the honey bee”. Gunther practices Biodynamic bee keeping and that’s why I really respect his work.
If anyone raises bees and you’re searching for a better way to handle them, Biodynamic is the answer. You can find books on bees that Ruldolf Stiener authored for Biodynamic bee keeping. Stiener also has some very interesting views on the bee that can only bring you into a broader understanding of the bee, yourself, and the world around you.
Biodynamic farming does not practice anything that does not occur naturally. There are biodynamic guidelines for bee keeping as well. Biodynamic bee keepers are swarm catchers and one would be amazed with what ease these keepers can catch swarms. There are several reasons to utilize swarm collection to create hives for your gardens and farms. Swarms are from a healthy hive. The bees are living in an area in which you want to keep them so they are familiar with weather and food sources. The more ferrell the better. It seems that ferrell hives are surviving many of the issues killing the hybrid bees. It is essential to have hives with strong queens to create offspring that are healthy to perpetuate the future life of the hive.
If you are contemplating becoming a keeper of bees, you may want to learn how to catch swarms to fill your hives. One of the links below shows Gunther in action. There are hot lines in every community where one can get added to a list to collect swarms in your particular area. When the police, fire and pest control workers are notified regarding a bee swarm, they will forward the call to the local call center for the bee keepers in that area. So if you happen to be on that list, you’ll most likely receive a call. Swarm collecting is the preferred method in biodynamics to create hives.
The brood chamber is very important because it is the part of the box or container where the bees live, where they make wax, collect food, nectar and raise there young. It has to be a super chamber to fit the bill for Biodynamics. The super chamber is a chamber that’s long in length. The queen loves to inspect the wax chambers before ever depositing an egg in one. Since she lays many eggs a day, her natural way of doing her work is to go up and down the full length of the waxed area of her hive. She needs a lot of room. The longer the chamber, the happier she is. I have added a link for the uk demeter standards for Biodynamic bee keeping in case anyone is interested in learning more about this.
There are NO artificial queens allowed in Biodynamic bee keeping and NO synthetic chemicals of any kind. Most Biodynamic bee keepers never use even an organic-based chemical. There are NO artificial drone products.
The bees are never fed anything but “bee tea” which is a tea made to feed the bees during times where food is limited — and no wax foundations. Bee tea is a combination of clean water, organic white sugar, salt with minerals, a selection of herbs, chamomile, and, at the end, 10 percent of the mixture should be honey from the hive you’re feeding. Using what is called a Top Bar Hive is really the only way for bees to do what they do in wax production so that wax foundations are not used. Most of the time we have no idea where that wax is coming from. In Biodynamics, the farm is considered an organ and anything brought in from the outside could severely cause an imbalance.
The wax is a major component of the hive. The bees communicate through vibrations to each other on the wax. It sends out waves of information essential to keeping thousands of bees working together. Bees know what to do and the best thing we can do is give them what they need. The wax serves so many important functions and the bees know how to make it on their own.
I have changed my direction in what kind of hives I will eventually be collecting my swarms for. I tend to gravitate towards the traditional ways. I really love the old school German hives that are hand woven with cow manure on the outside.
In the future I will write more about bees, but for now, I will keep it short and sweet. Plus you have all of these great links to check out!
Grow Food, Be Free & Live for a Living!