Update on the Honeybee Crisis

Although the news has not covered the state of the bees lately, we know that the crisis has progressed. Commercial beekeepers are losing colonies in great numbers and they can’t keep up raising enough queens to replace failing ones. Some already foresee bankruptcy in the near future.

A crisis is not only a threat, it is a great opportunity and serious call to change habits, procedures, and especially one’s mode of thinking. The latter is priority #1, since we can’t solve the problem in the same mindset that created it! Whereas most people look at neonicotinoids and varroa mites as the main causes of the honeybees’ demise, it is clear to most that exploitive beekeeping practices contribute to the honeybee’s compromised immune system.

Focusing mainly on the role agriculture plays and the changes that are needed seems to allow the beekeeper have a clear conscience and continue with the same old practices. Let it be said: present-day beekeeping practices have been developed with one goal: to make bees more profitable. Bees share the fate of the suffering cows, chickens and pigs in factory farming!

Do we continue viewing the honeybee solely as a honey producer, pollinator par excellence, as a commodity that serves to let us make a profit off her activities? Or can we turn to ask what attitude, conditions and practices are needed to let her regain her health and strengthen her immune system? This alone is the road that leads to a healthy future.

We at the Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary in Floyd, VA, have over 4 decades of bee-friendly beekeeping experience which we love to share with people near and far. We offer classes for beginners and for experienced beekeepers who are frustrated with their annual losses of colonies or who sense that the bees deserve to be respected and treated differently.

Our basic two-day class in March, “Principles and Practices of Biodynamic Beekeeping” gives a thorough introduction to beekeeping history, the current crisis, and all the considerations for getting started keeping bees. On the second day we examine the core practices of the Spikenard Method of beekeeping, including working with natural comb, natural queens, and presenting principles and practices that honor the honeybee hive as an organism, not as a mere mechanism. This March two-day workshop can also be taken at a discounted price when paired with the two follow up Principles and Practices workshops, one in May and the last in August. We hope you can join us!

Please visit www.spikenardfarm.org for more information or call us in the office at 540.745.2153.

By Gunther Hauk