More About the Bees…
Oh, the bees…they are literally being crushed. And they are not the only ones! Entire ecosystems are being crushed, and a devastating narrative continues. I’d needed to learn more about the bees ways and suddenly, am completely submerged in their mysterious world.
I was lucky enough to be introduced to this world of bees through a workshop, presented by the urban beekeepers Honeylove. Apiculturist Michael Thiele teaches alternative, bee-centered beehive design, a natural and biodynamic approach, radically different from prevailing practices. Then I saw a riveting but most depressing film on the state of bees: More Than Honey.
So I learned that most of the modern bee industry is just like the modern food industry and the modern agribusiness- it is an uninformed system created for convenience and profit. I know we know this but let’s not stop saying it, it is mechanical, brutally disruptive and completely disconnected from nature; the opposite of the bees’ way of being, which is love. So of course they cannot cope! And so they are gone. Like in parts of China where they’ve been gone for decades, killed off by pesticides and environmental degradation; and now their human ‘bees’ are forced to hand pollinate their fruit orchards! It’s demented.
The biodynamic way is to relate and respond to the bee as one somatic body: the hive; there is no single bee in fact. That, and to keep it simple…the less human interference the better; provide simple hives that mirror the bees’ natural inclination, then let the bees take care of themselves. They will build a natural and strong immunity.
This aligns very much with my own holistic and biodynamic practice, which concerns complete systems where all parts are interconnected. A holistic approach for me is the most direct and practical: observe nature because nature knows best. The less disturbance the better the balance, the stronger the plants, animals and essential beneficial insects. A garden or a farm with a healthy ecosystem, biodiversity and strong, well composted and well mulched soil, takes care of itself, requiring less of our attention, and none of the disruptive toxic inputs. Biodynamic practices restore maintain and enhance ecological harmony.
Wild bees are healthier and better off- they live with less interference! And city bees are better off because they are less affected by farmland pesticides. Urban bees are now thriving.
I see the future: Everyone growing their own food, and a beehive in every backyard!
The bees have always been considered messengers between heaven and earth, guides to a different form of awareness, leading us away from the mechanical mindset of advances science, and towards an understanding of our absolute interconnectedness.
‘If bees were to disappear from the face of the earth, humanity would have no more than four years to live, whereas if we were to disappear the rest of the planet would carry on just fine’.
Read the latest report on the state of bees via Treehugger.
TEN things you can do to help Bees
1. Plant bee-friendly flowers and flowering herbs in your garden and yard. (California Native plants)
2. Weeds can be a good thing, they flower, they attract pollinators.
3. Don’t use chemicals and pesticides to treat your lawn or garden.
4. Buy local, raw honey.
5. Bees are thirsty. Put a small basin of fresh water outside your home.
6. Buy local, organic food from a farmer that you know.
7. Learn how to be a beekeeper with sustainable practices.
8. Understand that honeybees aren’t out to get you.
9. Share solutions with others in your community.
10. Let congress know what you think.
Honeybees are vegetarians. They want to forage pollen and nectar from flowers up to three miles from their hive and bring that food back to provide food for themselves and the beehive. A few tips to avoid getting stung:
1. Stay still and calm if a bee is around you or lands on you. Many bees will land on you and sniffyou out. They can smell the pheromones that come with fear and anger which can be a trigger for them to sting you.
2. Don’t stand in front of a hive opening, or a pathway to a concentration of flowers. Bees are busy running back and forth from the hive, and if you don’t get in their way, they won’t be in yours.
3. Learn to differentiate between honeybees and wasps. Honeybees die after they sting humans (but not after they sting other bees!), wasps do not. Wasps are carnivores, so they like your lunch-meats and soda.