Natural Beekeeping Isn’t
Natural beekeeping isn’t:
- a cheap way to push the bees
- a silver bullet for all beekeeping problems
- about methodologies
- let alone beekeeping
- grandpa’s beekeeping
- small cell
- another version of organic beekeeping
- immortal beekeeping
Natural is not a cheap way to push the bees, the beekeeper, and the environment out of balance for maximum production/profit. If feedlot, commercial factory farming style beekeeping is your goal, you’ve probably read enough here. And it’s probably best to head elsewhere.
Pushed bees are stressed bees. And stressed bees are susceptible to all kinds of problems. It’s just not natural.
Want quick and easy methods that can be applied with little analysis or understanding? Want a sure fire cure for all diseases and pests? Want a silver bullet? That’s just not natural.
Quick, short term fixes are just that. They mostly focus on symptoms rather than the underlying causes. And their unintended consequences are often worse than the symptoms they change.
Long term solutions require analysis and understanding. And that takes an investment in time and energy.
Natural is not about methodologies. Methodology based beekeeping tends to become inflexibly stuck on measurements of wax and wood, or the pronouncements of some beekeeping personality.
Let Alone Beekeeping
It’s not let alone beekeeping. Going natural requires fewer and less frequent hive manipulations than is commonly practiced. But hives are opened intelligently and only when absolutely necessary. They are not opened out of curiosity. And certainly not out of ignorance.
It’s not grandpa’s beekeeping. Although some natural beekeeping equipment superficially resembles the simpler equipment used before Langstroth invented the modern hive, grandpa’s generation thought:
- nature needed to be conquered
- resources were seen as unlimited
- it was man’s divine right, by his superior moral and intellectual position, to utilize all as he saw fit
- maximum production was the measure of success
- environmental and systemic consequences were problems to be flushed down the river or sent off as smoke into the sky
Small Cell – Organic
It’s not just another version of small cell, organic or sustainable beekeeping. Although these superficially resemble natural beekeeping, they also lack natural beekeeping’s unique focus.
Without that focus, bees can be run on smaller comb and in a cleaner, more natural way. And that’s a good step in the right direction. But bees can still be exploited for short term productivity gains. And their health and the environment sacrificed in the long term.
Natural beekeeping is not a way to keep beehives alive, without problems, forever. Everything living thing must go through it’s life cycle and die. A colony of bees is no exception.
Normal losses should be expected. Fortunately, when healthy, bees are vigorous, resilient, prolific creatures. With proper management, it’s easy to replace those losses from the survivors.