Wild unmanaged colonies are often characterised as ‘pathogen reservoirs’, something to be feared, sometimes a target for destruction enforced by harsh veterinary regulations. However recent long term research reveals a very different picture: strong healthy colonies, resisting disease and pests that regularly overcome managed colonies.
There is a growing understanding that the ways bee live in the wild is very different to how they live in managed hives.
We will discuss what we can learn from wild bees and how they survive. Is it possible to promote wild unmanaged colonies of honey bees in countries where they have been pushed to the margins? For those who try to re-wild bees in their locality, how would one go about designing a project and what obstacles could a project face. Starting from the experience of two established wild reserves in the USA and South Africa we work back to projects in more developed landscapes commonly found near human settlements.
What guides our beekeeping? Are there ways of penetrating through the multitude of individual busy creatures to grasp the single being that animates the life of the bee colony? Comprehending the wholeness of the hive may open the door to different ways of “handling” the bees. What are the methods used in our search for the “Bee”, its nature and integrity.
Much recent science confirms that the future resilience of the honeybee largely depends on how beekeepers will let the principles of natural selection guide their beekeeping husbandry choices, allowing the bees to find their own balance with the known challenges to colony health, such as the varroa mite and associated problems.
Many aspects of conventional beekeeping hinder this. The objective of healthier bees and sounder beekeeping practice can only be achieved if beekeepers start working together towards the higher aim of achieving treatment-free husbandry and bee-centered beekeeping in given geographical regions.
In this session we will present a successful community endeavour currently running in Poland, report on the criteria for successful treatment free beekeeping, including hive considerations and engage our audience in a fruitful discussion about the challenges/successes of their own treatment free practice. We aim to offer a vision of how beekeeping aligned by the natural life habits of the honeybee could be adopted on a large scale provided that beekeepers work in a spirit of mutual support and shared insight.