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Further reading and references: 

Centre for Ecological Apiculture 2009: Bienenkiste or Tbh? Api Review Letters 8, Nr. 379

Thiele, M. 2012: Bienenkiste, Warré or Top bar hive? - Take which-ever you like best, but which is the best for beginners, gardeners and backyard beekeepers? Press release
 
 
 

 

Organic / Natural Beekeeping


Organic / natural beekeeping -  What does oganic beekeeping really mean?

Organic / natural beekeeping -  Learn more on organic / ecological beekeeping

Organic / natural beekeeping - Further reading and references

 
 
 
 
 

Organic / Natural Beekeeping -  What Does Oganic Beekeeping Really Mean?

In 1998 Michael Thiele wrote about the "need of organic beekeeping"; it was the first step. The former "need for organic beekeeping" is now what we call nowadays the "need of beekeeping considering the character of bees".

Organic Honey and other organic beeproducts do not live up to expectations at all. In most cases organic / natural beekeeping is pretended, in parts even ecological or beekeeping considering the character of bees. You can see pictures of straw hives and so on allthought there is almost no difference between organic and non-organic beekeeping method. The beecolonies are neither kept ecological in organic apiaries nor in non-organic apiaries. The "traditional" framehive beekeeping and sugar feeding allows organic beekeepers to harvest as much honey as beekeepers from other beekeeping associations. Thus there is no reason for higher prices in the organic honey sector, as this kind of organic beekeeping supports the worldwide dying of beecolonies.

In beekeeping considering the character of bees the beekeeper turns one's attention to supporting a harmonical developement of the bee-colony during the year and its natural way of living. Unfortunately, this is being neglected in many apiaries - even in organic apiaries. In the USA for instance apiaries with 50.000 colonies are nothing unusual. The colonies are being loaded on trucks in units of  500 colonies and are being transported with open flightholes for days and more than 4.000 km. The way of keeping bees in Europe or especially Germany is similar; framehive-beekeeping (Langstroth, Dadant etc.) - although the opposite of ecological beekeeping - is widespread, also among organic apiaries(!); travelling with beecolonies is also very common; 30.000 km per year is nothing unusual for such an apiary - therefore "Colony Collapse Disorder" (CCD) may also occur in Europe or Germany.

Making full use of travelling with beecolonies is very common among organic beekeepers; this is a reason why also organic beeproduce such as honey, comb in the comb, beesbread and propolis can be contaminated with pesticides and antibiotics from time time. There are many areas in the world like we have in Baden-Württemberg (federal state of Germany); in this federal state of Germany more than 11.000 hectaria fruit farming regions were sprayed with Streptomyzin. Large amounts of honey and other beeproduce had beed contaminated with Streptomyzin, because main infection time is during flowering time of fruit farming areas. In Baden-Württemberg more than 8.000 kg Honey had been polluted with Streptomycin of more than 0,02 mg/kg. According german regulation on maximum permissible limits this peak load was allowed until September 2008. In season 2009 the new Europien peak dose is 0,01 mg/kg. Diseases of fruit farming regions in Germany is covering only the whole territory of the federal states Baden-Württemberg and Bayern. The use of Streptomyzin in fruit farming regions is strictly conditional; it is only allowed to use it within a special warning system; these warnings normally are very short termed, as they depend on weather conditions. Organic beekeepers of course take care that their hives are being located on field managed organically, but they don't care that their bees also fly to conventional fields or fruit farming areas; this apply especially to organic apiaries who migrate with their hives.

Many authors who write about organic beekeeping or certified organic apiaries, have more phantasy and the ability of pure invention than real specialist knowledge. For instance the German author Claudia Bentzien: do not forget that regarding the organic apiary "the most important aims of an organic beekeeper is beekeeping considering the character of bees" - That would be perfect, if it were the aim of an organic beekeeper! The aims and principles of an organic apiary still remain rationalisation and higher yields at the expence of the beecolony's health, as shown in Apicultural Review Letters. Mrs. Bentzien describes the organic apiary highly imaginative in the most rosy colours; but the reality of organic beekeeping is different: those beekeepers who are allowed to use an organic label are allowed to feed sugar, to carry out artificial insemination of the queen - well, of course an "insemination of the queen without much injuring" should be guaranteed - , to use non natural queenbreeding methods ("grafting"), to add artificially created parts of the comb (which disturbs communication among the colony), to fix these artificially created parts of the comb with wire, even the Pressing-Methode is not prohibited; Some organic beekeepers even clip the wings of the queen to prevent swarming.
 

Organic / Natural Beekeeping -  Learn More On Organic / Ecological Beekeeping

Even organic and bio-dynamic apiaries are allowed to use artificial parts of the combs, to feed sugar and siropes,  to make full use of travelling with beecolonies, to use heat treatment for bee-products. Thats the reason why it is useful purchasing apitherapeutical beeproducts from beekeeping considering the character of bees (certified according standards of Centre for ecological Apiculture); these beekeepers support a "longlasting fertility in beekeeping" in contrast to success in artificial beekeeping for a short time. These products cannot be found in organic shops or supermarkets; they can only be ordered directly in special apiaries. More infos...

Those beekeepers who want more than producing mainstream organic honey and artificial comb honey, who want to stop "traditional" framehive beekeeping and start with organic / ecological topbar beekeeping should start with  distance course No. 19 in organic / ecological topbar beekeeping in the Centre for ecological Apiculture (register now!).
 

Organic / Natural Beekeeping - Further Reading And References

Social Medicine / Natural Apitherapy Research Centre / Centre for Ecological Apiculture 2010: Manuka Health and Organic honey - which Standards are relevant for social Medicine / natural Apitherapy?Api Review Letters 9, Nr. 422

Centre for Ecological Apiculture 2018: Quality of Bee Products. Press release

Centre for Ecological Apiculture 2018: Old Traditions in Apiculture and Viniculture. Press release

Centre for Ecological Apiculture 2009:Bienenkiste or Tbh? Api Review Letters 8, Nr. 379

Thiele, M. 2018: Bienenkiste, Warré or Top bar hive? - Take which-ever you like best, but which is the best for beginners, gardeners and backyard beekeepers? Press release



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Important courses:
Organic / ecological beekeeping: distance course No. 19: "ecological top bar hive Beekeeping for Beginners, gardeners and backyard beekeepers" (register now!). More...
 
Training (#62) Certification Courses for beginners and professionals. More...

Certification courses / Training  holistic healing and natural Apitherapy (#162). More...