In the spirit of the “This I believe” Essays first published in the 1950s and most recently broadcast on National Public Radio, I offer the following:
- The adage “all beekeeping is local” is a phrase that must be kept in mind when reading Internet articles regarding beekeeping. Screened bottom boards and top bar hives may be just the ticket for some folks, but they don't work for me.
- Treatment Free or Natural Beekeeping is a worthwhile goal, one which I'm glad for the efforts made in that direction. I am concerned by some of the claims (small cell) and find denigrating actions/words by all sides of the TF issue repulsive.
- Healthy honey bees need healthy habitat. If in providing healthy honey bee habitat I/we also provide healthy habitat for native pollinators, so much the better!
- Honey that is sold for human consumption needs to be processed to meet health and governmental standards. I may disagree with aspects of food processing regulations as being over blown for honey, but I can't escape the basic thought that responsibility for providing a safe food supply is a governmental responsibility. Hence regulations that are sometimes onerous.
- By deciding to start on the beekeeping adventure, I committed to overseeing the welfare of my bees, and doing what my best judgment says I must to keep them healthy and productive.
- The results of scientific studies are not automatically good or bad. Science is a way that humans advance knowledge, and arguing about the results of scientific surveys is part of the knowledge building.
- Human knowledge about bees is dynamic not static. I have faith that we will know more about bees and beekeeping ten years from now than we do now.
- Beekeeping is an agricultural endeavor, subject to the continuing evolution of agriculture world wide. Should I be fortunate and have an agricultural product (honey) to sell, my operation becomes a cog in the wheel of worldwide agriculture. Knowledge of, and participation in groups working to identify and support best practices is part of the deal.
- Short of a world wide apocalypse (my wife is convinced there won't be power in the grid in another ten years) it seems naive to me to believe that methodologies that were state of the art 100 years ago represent the best solutions to our modern day challenges. I cringe at some of what was done as best agricultural practices in the past, and am grateful that the most environmentally damaging practices have fallen from favor. I have confidence that environmental impacts will continue as a most necessary criteria when evaluating new products and methodologies.
- As “all beekeeping is local” I have a responsibility to help pass on the local knowledge.
In all of this I try to be guided by a quotation attributed to George Fox: "Walk gently on the earth. You will come to walk cheerfully over the world answering that of God in everyone."