The real secret to beekeeping is knowing your bees’ custom and following it. Anyone who wants to keep bees successfully should mirror wild bees’ way of life to the greatest extent possible.
~ Nikolay Vitvitsky (1764–1853)
Because in those days people believed they were capable of anything—of yoking nature to the service of humans, of recklessly mowing down forests, of making rivers flow backward, of draining swamps. And—almost as an afterthought—of forcing bees to work “on the assembly line,” filling one super after another with honey, with no negative consequences. Against this backdrop, “natural” single-box hives—just like log hives—already seemed like some anachronism left behind by one’s grandparents.
However, to humanity’s credit, it must be said that it has already begun (particularly in technocratically developed countries) to have second thoughts and, slowly but surely, to change course. This is particularly evident in the fields of agriculture and ecology. You’ve undoubtedly heard of organic food (grown without artificial fertilizers and pesticides), the system of shallow (no-till) land cultivation, organic and biodynamic agriculture, and permaculture.
We’ve gone far astray in our senseless striving to remake nature according to our whim; it’s high time we took a break and reconsidered.
It is exclusively concerned with what I’ve done firsthand, many times over—from building beehives in my workshop to raising nectar-bearing trees in my nursery. In my many years of beekeeping experience, I haven’t used a single gram of medicine, have only propagated my colonies through swarming, and
have never fed bees sugar. And I’ve been convinced through experience that it all works! However, everything presented in this book isn’t a dogma, or some action plan; it’s just food for thought.
“With my 100 horizontal hives, I only spend 6 to 7 days per year on my bees and get a wholesome honey crop. I could not wish for a better hive model.” ~ Andrey Yakimov
The skeptical reader may suspect that all of this sounds a bit too simple. Indeed it is. But then, this search for simplicity and sense is what brings meaning to my life. What about you?
What do you think—why were human beings endowed with intelligence? To complicate our lives, or to simplify them? To create new problems by violating nature’s laws, or, by going with the natural flow of things, to achieve our goals simply and easily?