Darwinian Beekeeping and Rewilding Bees
On Fridays here at Bee Mission we often share a few short and uplifting videos about bees. Beekeeping is a managed and structured undertaking, and that is how we usually present it.
Today we are briefly introducing two pioneers of different paradigms in beekeeping. These men explore alternative ways humans can interact with bees, becoming bee stewards that watch from a distance.
Let’s take a little detour off the beaten path...
Dr. Thomas Seeley is the Horace White Professor in Biology at Cornell University. Much of his scientific research centers around the phenomenon of swarm intelligence.
He is a proponent of Darwinian beekeeping. This is an approach to beekeeping where the beekeeper lets bees be bees and works with them instead of controlling their environment. It is the returning of the honeybee to its natural environment. Instead of managing the hive’s ability to survive illness and pests, this is a hands-off approach where the weak will succumb. Bees won’t be as productive and there may be higher losses but in the end the strongest will survive and they will be robust.
Dr. Tom Seeley explains Darwinian Beekeeping in this 1:43 minute video so you can hear what it is all about in his words:
Tom Seeley’s recently released book The Lives of Bees: The Untold Story of the Honey Bee in the Wild (Princeton University Press, 2019) takes us deep into the world of wild bees. It helps backyard beekeepers and small-scale non-commercial beekeepers to see that being informed about the behaviors and biology of wild bees can help them better manage their hives and deal with 21st century challenges.
What is rewilding? According to Apis Arborea, rewilding is a conservation strategy based on the premise that a single species in interdependent within the whole. Rewilding is an apiculture approach where traditional log hives are considered the best way to support optimum health of the bee species. It holds a vision for the return to natural conditions of nest site cavities of honey bees.
This 3:38-minute video, Vertical Log Hive in Autumn, gives you a visual snapshot of these vibrant and thriving rewilded bees.
Michael Joshin Thiele is the founder of Gaia Bees and Apis Arborea. He pursues rewilding honeybees to create an innovative approach, a holistic apian paradigm of sustainable apiaries. Apis Mellifera research is pursued through new dimensions of apiculture in sociocultural, agricultural and spiritual contexts.
Michael has helped create honeybee sanctuaries, including Honeybee Sanctuary & Refuge at Green Gulch Farm, near Muir Beach, California. His approach is documented in the brilliant film documentary, “Queen of the Sun.”
Do these back-to-nature forms of beekeeping appeal to you? Feel free to share your thoughts over on our Facebook page with kindness and respect for the many opinions we all embrace!
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