Objectives and aspects of sustainable beekeeping
Sustainable socially responsible beekeeping (or beekeeping) can be understood as a concept that is not based only on maximizing profits from bee products or the sale of bees itself. It is a concept that focuses its activities on both environmental (creating an environment for beekeeping) and social (human health and safety) objectives and aspects.
The following information we provide is our subjective-objective view of the issue of sustainable beekeeping. These are not advice or recommendations on which direction every beekeeper should go. It’s just the direction we decided to go and how we react to different areas and problems. Recent years have been special and beekeeping interesting (climate change, nectar and pollen outages), when it is necessary to react, have knowledge and put it into practice.
Aspects of sustainable socially responsible beekeeping
Aspects of sustainable socially responsible beekeeping: quality bee products, healthy bee colonies, gradual development and expansion of beekeeping, creating an environment for bee life (creating conditions so that they are not hungry and sick), removing pesticides and chemistry, training beekeepers (building crisis management and critical thinking), the production of pure bee honey and long-term sustainable beekeeping.
Each beekeeper should identify with the given aspects, or define his own. Yes, they may be perfect, but they predict the direction in which beekeeping should go. Beekeeping / beekeeping that has perspective and can advance. It can combine the classic beekeeping of our ancestors and modern conveniences in support of beekeeping and bees.
From minimum to maximum. We want a gradual expansion of breeding
Certainly the goal of sustainable beekeeping is not really to get the most out of the minimum. It is not about the more per season to create bee families and have as much honey and profit as possible. It’s nice, but first and foremost, everyone should be responsible. Create such a number of hives that the beekeeper will be able to handle in time, financially … Create such a number of hives that they can produce and be in full force during the season, but also after the season and are ready for winter. Because to a large extent, if a new beekeeper says „I want to have a lot of hives and I will learn with them“ and I want a lot and more. This is not the direction or philosophy that beekeepers should follow. Because this fact, if the beekeeper does not manage the breeding and does not manage, he will not be the manager of the bees, but will be subordinate to them.
It will not manage them in time or money, and also if it does not create the conditions for their lives, the bees will not be able to produce, they will starve, they may be affected by diseases. The fact that they are affected by disease is quite likely if the bees are not in good condition. Beginner beekeepers, whatever I know or watch in different groups, do not manage the situation. I often see that they ask for advice only when it is too late. Photos of them not knowing what happened to their bee colony ask for advice on diseases and the like, but it’s too late. They do not try to prevent diseases, but solve the situation of diseases only when it has occurred. A clear reason for not managing the situation. It is neither sustainable nor socially responsible.
Because if there are other apiaries in the vicinity of your apiary within a radius of 5 km, it is likely that the bee has transmitted the disease to his hive and it is already chained. It’s nice if people want to beekeeper, but they should respect other beekeepers and behave responsibly. Therefore, I recommend 2 beekeepers to new beekeepers, a maximum of 3 hives for the first year. You can playfully manage the hives.
Creating an environment for the life of bees
The environment of bee environment is very important nowadays. It is necessary to create species diversity around the hives, the trend today is the creation of monocultures (rapeseed plantations, corn, etc.). The diversity is important, the diversity of the country for bees, because of the choice of quality food. People also don’t always consume the same food. This species diversity is an important factor that also affects the health of bees and their energy supply. It is an activity to prevent diseases in bees, this also prevents starvation of bees. Another essential thing is that the bees have enough food and a supply of quality food throughout the season. We achieve this by planting such species of plants and trees that will bloom gradually and can cover periods of food shortages.
Beekeeping 100 years ago in Slovakia and beekeeping today are different. Beekeeping is also dynamic and what has been true for 100 years does not apply today. There are many variables that affect this fact, and one of them is the climate and its change. Change of seasons. We mentioned one single and very important factor of influence.
Healthy bee colonies generally follow the environment for the environment for bees. Healthy bee colonies will only be provided if they have a good diet and are in full force to cope with disease. Diseases are in every hive, but if the hive is energetically at a good level, in good condition and has a good immune system, it can handle diseases. Of course, it is currently necessary to help bees to remove the Varroa destructor. It is also necessary to take preventive measures in the field of other bee diseases, if possible. Disease prevention is sustainable, but the late response and finding out why the colony has died is not sustainable. The immune system of bees and their level of condition are directly affected, as well as pesticides and the already mentioned intake of food quality.
There is no 100% advice in this area on how to prevent diseases and what effect genetics and the like have on it. . It is clear that it is necessary to take reason into the hand and create preventive measures and create a quality environment for the life of bees. It is also necessary to remove chemistry from bee medicines and focus on natural remedies. Maybe it’s not possible nowadays, or drug manufacturers have so much good business that they don’t want to look for natural-based drugs.
Education of beekeepers
The education of beekeepers is important because it is necessary to know a certain basis in the field of beekeeping. I know beekeepers who wanted bees quickly by force, they knew nothing about bees. Then it looked like that, the bees never survived the winter, and it is quite likely that they spread the disease to other hives. Beekeeping and beekeeping is not about wanting bees because my neighbor has them, it’s about doing it as an honor, as a mission, to do it with joy, with love for nature and bees, and also as a hobby and a way to relax. It is necessary to have a basic education in this area, at least a regular meeting with the beekeeper, also to read the professional literature in this area and to learn the basic tasks in the practice of the beekeeper. Surely one needs a way of intelligence and a sense of nature for this, it will not work without it.
It is possible to really focus on bee genetics, and beekeeping may take this direction in the future. No one knows what it will be like with bees in the future. We will certainly return to sustainable beekeeping, an area that is vast.