Bees Article


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The varroa mite insinuates itself in between the bee's flank and back scales. Then it sucks the bee's hemolymph, the equivalent of its blood
– with devastating consequences.

The organic Biosa is new, organic Probiotic effective in suppressing i.e. varroa mites

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Bees Article

  1. 1. Bees Are Dying Rescuing the Bees Lifesavers for landscapes and humans in danger By Bettina Präder, agricultural engineer, Stockach, Germany. Translated from German by W. Falkenberg and edited by R. Rosenthal English translation copyright © 2006 by NaturPur Publications, Canada. Will bees soon be placed on the endangered species list? Beekeepers are sounding the alarm, for their bee colonies are dying by the dozen. They hold the varroa mite primarily re- sponsible, a pest they fight with chemicals – usually without success. Yet perhaps the solution is not in fighting mites but in strengthening bees. Beekeeper Bettina Präder presents the reasons why bees are dy- spring, the real drama con- cerning the numbers of indi- ing, and useful approaches to saving them. vidual beekeepers' surviving beehives – in various states of properly so that the bees will throughout the winter. Press the Federal Republic of Ger- T he bee year begins in late summer after the end of the honey har- vest, when beehives have been fed and are prepared for safely survive the winter. But at least since last fall, there has been a bitter aftertaste to all this. As early as the very beginning of the new bee releases about residues of caustic and corrosive chemi- cals in honey and about bee parasites and diseases lying in wait meant beekeepers many as well as across Eu- rope – came to light. There are regions now where not a single bee flies. the coming winter. This is a year, heavy losses of bee would not be enjoying a rest- Bees Are Dying Out crucial time, for much de- colonies were noticed. And ful winter. When bee activi- The situation raises many pends on guiding the colony this development continued ties resumed during the questions, and worries bee- Little Encyclopedia Varroa Mite The varroa destructor is a blood sucking parasite from Asia which was probably brought to Germany in 1976. The mite, the size of a pinhead, breeds in the capped brood compartment and sucks the blood from the bee larvae. In doing so, the mite transfers viruses as well as bacteria and fungi to the larvae. The weakened larvae die or develop into bees with crippled wings or abdomen. These bees are able to neither collect nectar nor attend to the brood. The rapid proliferation of the mites leads to a collapse of the colony after two to three years. Beekeepers attack these parasites with synthetic poisons in order to secure the survival of their bee colonies. Over time, some mites have even become resistant to those chemicals, resulting in substantial and ever-increasing losses hand in hand with enormous economic damage. Land- scapes devoid of bees are the consequence. 44 raum&zeit 124/2003
  2. 2. transported to blossoms via decreased supply of pollen that is, they do not change the plants' sap. The bees car- and nectar. plant type when visiting sev- ry the plants' nectar and Unnatural Breeding eral plants, but rather they pollen to the beehive, where A further consideration in- carry the pollen from bloom the highly poisonous chemi- volves the care of beehives to bloom of a single species. cals contained in them dam- and beekeepers’ attitude to- Through their activities – age the brood directly. wards their bees. Many bee- and unnoticed by us – they On top of that, the varroa keepers only have economic give us rich harvests in our mite, which appeared in our interests at heart: the highest region in 1976, is responsible possible honey yield, success- for a drastic reduction in the ful breeding. bee population. Since then, In modern beekeeping, it is bees have needed the atten- normal to divide colonies tion and care of humans and to increase them based more than ever. Without the on profit considerations. In The varroa mite assistance of beekeepers, bee the most extreme cases, is only the colonies today cannot sur- brooding combs with bees external expression vive. attached are arbitrarily taken In providing that assistance, from different colonies and of an imbalance however, beekeepers need to plugged together into a new in the life of The diligent activities of consider whether it should hive in order to breed a a bee hive. bees could soon be a thing consist exclusively of com- derivative colony. The queen of the past. Parasites, pesti- bative measures. For the var- is pulled out of worker bee cides, and profit motivated roa mite is only the external larvae via an artificially cre- behaviour of humans lead to feature of an imbalance in ated emergency situation the disappearing of bees. the life of a beehive, which – and is artificially inseminat- Photo by raum&zeit, Ger- when we look at it more ed with the appropriate fields and in our fruit and many closely – raises a number of equipment. In this kind of vegetable gardens, as well as questions. treatment, the bee is com- the seeds for the coming year. pletely removed from its nat- When bees become extinct, keepers. There have always What Are Bees Lacking? ural environment. fruit blossoms will no longer been heavy losses of colonies Missing Blossoms be fertilised, and there will be caused by nosematosis – the In an initial approach, we Fortunately, some beekeep- no more apples, pears or last time in 1974. Mean- have to look at the “colourful ers are reacquiring a con- cherries. while, bees have had to con- splendour” – at the blooms, sciousness with respect to the tend with various parasites in other words – from which natural life and behaviour of While attending to the and poisons. Farmers spray the bees take their nourish- bee colonies, the natural blooms, bees perform a fur- insecticides on their crops, ment. Bees thrive on the vari- swarm becoming desirable ther task by leaving homeo- for example, which work as ety of blooms in the environ- once again. Colonies are al- pathically fine quantities of poisonous nerve agents on ment. In our impoverished, lowed to build their honey- their poison in the environ- insects. Because of their slow mechanised landscapes, bees combs in a natural way, and ment. Trees and plants do rate of decay, the poisons ac- no longer find the necessary the young queen is permitted demonstrably better in a cumulate in the soil and are variety of nourishment dis- to take her wedding flight to- landscape rich with bees. tributed throughout the year wards the sun while being in- and which ensures a healthy seminated by several drones. Bees even conduct an inti- development of colonies and Every unnatural measure by mate relationship with cows: sufficient food supply for the beekeepers constitutes a fun- they carry the nectar yeast Photo by Niedersächsisches Landesinstitut für Bienenkunde winter. Whenever modern damental interference in the (anthomyces reukaufii) that agriculture has applied chem- bees' lives, which is always occurs on some blooms to ical fertilisers and sprays, the counterbalanced by the bees other plants, which in turn The varroa mite diversity of blooms has been at the expense of their vitali- makes its way to the stom- insinuates itself noticeably reduced. Extreme- ty. achs of cows by way of green in between the bee's ly early mowing of meadows fodder and this produces a flank and back scales. in spring for silage also de- The Tasks of Bees more efficient digestion. In Then it sucks creases plant variety consider- Examining the tasks of bees this way, bees not only ensure the bee's hemolymph, ably, depriving bees of been especially pertinent at the well-being of cows, they the equivalent of its blood colourfully blooming and at- the end of this year's winter. also have a positive influence – with devastating tractive meadow flowers. The The best known task of bees on the quality of the cows’ consequences. clearing and removal of is the pollination of our cul- milk. But due to the fact that hedges as well as fallow lands tivated plants, which they in our cultural environment contributes additionally to a perform very precisely. For cows are often stabled year bees are bloom-constant; round, bees and cows unfor- raum&zeit 124/2003 45
  3. 3. Poisonous pollen? Increasingly sprayed At present, German beekeepers expect a loss of 30 – 40 per cent of their insecticides do harm to the bees. bee colonies. Photo by raum&zeit, Germany tunately hardly ever meet on cultures. Such virtues of theirs Perfect Organisation of constantly rebuilding the pastures. as affectionate devotion and We can get closer to further colony by way of her egg-lay- And finally, there is a deeper selflessness in their activities hidden tasks when we look at ing. She acts like a centre of union in the relationship be- have again and again evoked life in a bee hive. intelligence in the bee tween bees and humans that is in humans a response of ad- There, many individual bees colony, which picks up im- important for the entire devel- miration and amazement. live together with the queen pulses from the periphery opment of humanity. A re- And those characteristics in a working and living part- and from the bees and, view of various mythologies could be a social example for nership. Except for her wed- thereby, she gives direction reveals that bees have been our time. ding flight, this queen to the life and work in the considered sacred and wor- spends her entire life in the hive. Only through her pres- shipped in the most diverse beehive performing the task ence does the colony stay to- Experiences with Vita Biosa L ike many beekeepers, my hus- band and I, are pondering the question of how we can help the bees ed by the ability of the microorgan- isms to form antioxidants. This characteristic is especially inter- themselves close to the beehive whereas in previous years they had been glad to fly a great distance away. in the present situation and what the esting for us beekeepers, when we At the conclusion of the bee year, we possibilities are for strengthening and consider the many chemical pesti- added Vita Biosa to the winter fodder invigorating them. For quite some cides with which bees come into con- in a concentration of two parts per time we have been incorporating ef- tact while visiting the blooms on trees thousand. This is a simple way of fective microorganisms in the care of and plants in the fruit and vegetable bringing the bees directly into con- our garden and our orchard, these gardens as well as in fields, and which tact with the product. The winter having characteristics that promote eventually accumulate in their wax fodder is internally absorbed by all growth in plants and strengthen and honey. We, therefore, decided to bees, converted, and stored in the them. The development of this sym- also employ Vita Biosa in the care of honeycombs. The herbal concentrate biosis of microorganisms is derived our bees after the manufacturer as- passes through the entire metabolism from the research of Japanese biolo- sured us that the concentrate was rec- of individual bees as well as that of gist Teruo Higa. ommended for such use. We mix it the bee colony. This benefits the win- And then, last spring, we came across with water in a proportion of 1:1. ter bees growing up in the colonies. a new product, Vita Biosa. Vita Biosa Last year we sprayed this mixture Even though this application did not is a concentrate obtained from a fer- onto the honeycombs populated by prevent us from losing bees, we, mentation process involving lactic- bees, the landing board, and around nonetheless, found substantial vitali- acid cultures and herbs. It contains the hive opening as well as around ty in the bees at the end of the winter, an essence that is highly alive and that the beehive generally. We also which led to a rapid rebuilding of the invigorates and strengthens the or- sprayed the flowering plants that bees colonies without the need for further ganism it is introduced to. Further- pasture on in the periphery of the measures. more, heavy metals and chemicals beehives. Soon after, during the Also worth mentioning is the spray- contained in organisms are eliminat- swarming period, we were able to ob- ing of Terra Biosa in the immediate serve how most swarms established vicinity of a beehive. There were only 46 raum&zeit 124/2003
  4. 4. The gold pendant from the Iraklion Archaeological Museum Humans have been harvesting honey for thousands of years. Nowa- in Crete depicts two bees. At that time, (between 2,500 and days, however, the dwellings of the bees are usually built function- 1,000 B.C.), bees were considered to be a symbol of woman- ally. oriented community building. gether, only through her maintaining the living condi- survival of life on our planet. The Mythology of Bees does it have a centre. She se- tions for the living bees and This may sound exaggerated, It may imbue us with a sense cures the continued exis- in rearing the next genera- but insofar as bees remain of reverence when we be- tence of the hive and its sur- tion. This concentrated im- alive they perpetuate the re- come aware of how impor- vival by providing for an age of careful self-preserva- production of plants and, tant to our lives are the activ- increase in the number of its tion in conjunction with the thereby, ensure a basic food ities of individual bees and members via her egg-laying; devotion of each individual supply for animals and hu- those of their queen. Seem- she passes on life. to its environment is, in the mans alike. ingly, behind the working The various tasks within the long run, not only important bees there is a comprehensive colony are distributed among for the bee colony but linked being. In old beekeeping lit- the bees. They consist in to the very existence and the erature, we find the term a few losses in this hive. Even very small colonies with only a few honey- combs survived the winter without difficulty. This example helps us rec- ognize how strongly bees are con- nected to their habitat. The application of Vita Biosa during the course of one year is certainly not sufficient for us to make far-reaching statements about its effectiveness. And yet I ask myself how our colonies would have survived the winter with- out our treating them with the herbal and lactic-acid concentrate. In the meantime, most beehives are A first picture emerges for me from which they are missing nowadays and empty. Only through cooperation and these few experiences. Vita Biosa di- which may enable them to survive. a shift in thinking will it still be rectly affects the vitality of the bee This force envelope may be what is possible to save the bees. colonies. Of course, different means required so that the unhindered com- of taking care and guiding the munication of messages and impulses colonies also have similar effects. We within the bee colony can take place still try to strengthen our own bees in once again and bees can once more other ways. And yet we were able to carry out their task in the environ- ther bee-strengthening measures can recognise a difference from previous ment as mediators between the earth- sprout and thrive like good seed. years after only one year of applying ly and spiritual realms. With Vita With that, we help the bees overcome Vita Biosa. Vita Biosa gives the bee Biosa we are possibly creating a basis, their condition of the moment. colonies a kind of a force envelope a living fertile field, on which all fur- raum&zeit 124/2003 47
  5. 5. royal jelly, propolis, bee poi- The Author son – have healing character- istics. Looked at this way, bees are from their origins healthy and effect health. What makes them sick are the imbalances in their habi- tat created by us humans, which they try to rebalance at the expense of their vitali- ty. That is, the problems of today's bees, their suscepti- bility to varroa mites and other bee diseases and their dramatic dying off, in fact originate from short-sighted and consumption-oriented human behaviour. Our attitudes towards bees and our handling of them must be called into question, as well as our interference Agricultural engineer In the fifteenth century, with the environment. The Bettina Präder clever beekeepers had the sidedness in the environ- issue is not the simplistic was born in Essen, Ger- idea of hollowing out tree ment, stemming from hu- combating of bee diseases. many, in 1961 and grew trunks and carrying the man interference, has reper- The issue is rather one of up in an environment portable “bee hiding places” cussions for the entire bee finding reconstructive mea- shaped by coal mines and into the proximity of their colony. The production-ori- sures for the future that will the steel industry, which farmhouses. ented use of our agricultural return the bees to a healthy led her to join the ecology areas, in which bees are only ecological equilibrium in movement during her “Bien” for it, which is de- a sweet addendum, make the which they can once again youth. scribed as the helmsman in external living conditions of find the conditions that are She studied agricultural the bee organism who is bees more difficult to the ex- appropriate for them. science at the Technical filled with wisdom. The Bien tent that bees are facing In the future, we will have to University of Munich/ sends instructions to the emergency situations caused work for lasting changes to Weihenstephan from 1980 earth, which are received by by missing fundamentals of the bees' environment. And to 1986, during which the queen and passed on to life. for that we need a new holis- time she made her first the bees. The bee, as a small tic approach in our handling contacts with organic messenger of the large Bien, Healing Powers of Bees of creation. We humans farming. Practical activities carries on its flights these in- Actually, bees are healthy and must find and realize this ap- in agriculture and beekeep- structions as messages into wholesome or healing beings proach by coming together ing followed, in harmony the environment. imbued with the ability to and mutually inspiring one with natural bee-specific It is questionable whether heal. They live exclusively on another in the exchange of methods, at the Fischer- bees can still fulfill their task delicate and minute sub- our knowledge and abilities. mühle in Rosenfeld in as messengers sufficiently stances like the perfume, Only through that can a far- 1989. well and whether the envi- nectar, and pollen of blos- reaching cultural impulse be Between 1990 and 1996, ronment is prepared to re- soms. All substances that hu- developed for humans and she lived and worked with ceive their messages. Today's mans derive from bees – bees as well as for bees and her family in the Demeter state of imbalance and one- honey, pollen, sealing resins, the environment. farming community on Lake Constance. Since 1998 she has been involved Bibliography with continuing education • Gerstung, F.: „Der Bien und seine Zucht“, Paul Wetzel • Steiner, R.: „Über das Wesen der Bienen“, Arbeitervorträge and co-organising the Verlag, Freiburg i. B. + Leipzig, 1902 von 1923, Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach, Schweiz, 1978 “Study Groups for a Har- • Herold, E., Leibold, G.: „Heilwerte aus dem Bienenvolk“, • Sattler, Friedrich, Eckhard von Wistinghausen: „Der monious Development of Ehrenwirth Verlag, München, 1996 Landwirtschaftliche Betrieb“ Biologisch Dynamisch, Eugen Humans and the Earth,” • Pfeiffer, Martin W.: „Regenwurm – Kuh – Biene in ihrer Ulmer Verlag, Stuttgart, 1985 which motivated her to Beziehung zur Pflanze und zum Menschen“ aus: „Die Land- • Higa, Teruo: „Eine Revolution zur Rettung der Erde“, undertake her own studies wirtschaftliche Individualität – ein Bild des Menschen“ im OLV Verlag, Xanten, 2002 on bees, their habitat, and Selbstverlag Martin W. Pfeiffer, Borchen 1975 • „Der Schweizerische Bienenvater“, Fachbuch für Imker, their relationship with hu- Verlag Sauerländer, Aarau, Schweiz, 1985 mans. 48 raum&zeit 124/2003