Honeybee colonies are superorganisms that have survived through eons of climate and environmental change. During that time, numerous complex relationships evolved that help the honeybee continue to adapt and survive survive today. A natural beekeeper first responsibility is to do no harm. To not interfere with those natural relationships. To let the bees do what they do best.
And it’s just this simple:
Bees do everything inside the hive best.
A colony of bees is a superorganism. This is the most important and fundamental concept a natural beekeeper must know. All natural beekeeping is built upon it. Every management practice springs from it.
The entire colony, including the cavity, the comb, associated life forms and the bees themselves functions as single living entity. It breathes, feeds, reproduces, thinks, survives and is selected for as a single entity. As a colony, a superorganism, it organizes and accomplishes more than just the sum of the individual bees could do.
It’s easy to think of a colony of bees like we think of our own bodies. A colony’s cavity walls, comb, and the individual bees function much like our skin, skeleton and cells.
And like our bodies, where only about ten percent of the DNA necessary for life and health is human, a colony is more than just the sum of bees and bee created structures. A colony’s health and function depends upon a multitude of other living organisms and their relationships to each other functioning as one.
What Bees Do Best
For eons, bee colonies have been assaulted by pests, climate and environmental changes. Yet, they have adapted and successfully survived with thriving populations entrenched across most of the old world. Beeing is what eons of time have proven the bees do best. And they are good at it! They:
- select a suitable cavity
- establish a functioning, reproducing superorganism
- maintain adequate food reserves
- balance colony dynamics with seasonal needs/resources
- defend the colony from diseases and pests
That colony will:
- be located in a suitable location
- have an internal nest structure with form mirroring seasonal function
- breath, ventilate, cool and heat itself according to it’s needs
- allocate the proper resources and time to reproduction, foraging, overwintering
Anything less and a colony’s health and survival are put at risk.