There are many people who think cows, pigs, goats and chickens are the only animals who suffer from industrialized factory farm practices. In fact, probably a majority of people are not aware that bees are also exploited, and subjected to the most unnatural and unethical farming practices.
Our pollinator friends are in need of assistance: they are vanishing by alarming numbers every day. If they die off, the survival of our species is pretty much doomed. Are you aware that bees pollinate one third of what we eat? Over 100 different types of crops, valued at $200 billion a year, rely on bees to pollinate them. The ongoing death of bees threatens the collapse of the agriculture industry.
They are out there working for us, but what are we doing? We are still spraying pesticides and synthetic fertilizers all over our crops. Scientists have confirmed that chemical exposure leads the bees to succumb to the deadly Nosema Ceranae parasite. Colony collapse disorder (CCD) is responsible for the loss of 10 million beehives since 2006. Scientists from the University of Maryland and the U.S. Department of Agriculture published a study linking chemicals including fungicides to the mass die offs. Researches have found over 21 different agricultural chemicals in pollen samples raging from Delaware to Maine! Many of these toxins have been banned in Europe. Unfortunately, the U.S. does not have laws banning the use of these toxic pesticides that are affecting bees’ health. At least, not yet.
This issue of course affects us all, and we all can do our part. The solution should not be left to farmers and scientists alone. We do not need one person with 7000 beehives: we need 7000 people with 1 or 2 beehives. We all can do this!
Bees were held sacred in ancient cultures, but nowadays bees and many other animals are disregarded and exploited. Systematic suppression favors artificial breeding, which leads to impoverished genetics and disease resistance. Holistic or natural bee keeping practices allow natural reproduction by swarming, and do not feed the bees sugar syrups or worse.
We can help strengthen bee colonies with mindful bee keeping. We must put the needs of the bees first and learn how to collaborate with them. The current crisis is partly a result of the manipulation and domination of nature. We require a radical mind shift. Instead of seeing bees and other animals as producers or commodities, we should learn to view them as sustainers of life on earth.
Sustainable husbandry and biodynamic agriculture promise great contributions to a new culture of holistic bee keeping. It all starts with honoring and respecting the honeybees. I felt the calling about a year ago and a few months back it was confirmed.
I visited a permaculture farming community and, naturally, they had a couple hives. Eager, I sat at a respectful distance from the hive but close enough to hear and see the presentation on natural bee keeping. The gentleman sharing this important knowledge projected the utmost respect and love for these creatures. It was beautiful and inspiring. He wore no protective gear. Bees recognize people, so both beekeeper and bee enter into a relationship with one another. He showed us the hive, and we were able to get close to see the bees at work – simply amazing!
Magic happened, however, when I encountered the queen. There she was, moving majestically about the hive. I fell in love. Literally, my heart began to beat faster. I could hardly contain my excitement. My eyes welled up with tears, and I was smitten. I know this is what I am meant to do in the world. The journey has begun. Upon my return home, I found “The College of the Melissa – Sacred Bee Keeping.” I am happy to say that I will be enrolled and ready to go next February.
Gratefully, I already work on a permaculture farm and we have the space with plenty of food for our dear pollinator friends. It seems true that when we align our thoughts and actions with our heart’s desires life just gets sweeter and sweeter.
“The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.”– Henry David Thoreau
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