Honeybees and Humans: A Key Relationship to Life as We Know It
Humans and honeybees have had a close, long-term relationship for 10,000 years. We have domesticated this remarkable species, and today our agricultural and food systems are very much dependent upon the honeybee.
Bees keep us alive. Without their pollination services, there would be no almonds, blueberries, strawberries, apples, and a host of other fruits and vegetables that make up 40% of our foods. We can no longer take the bees or these foods for granted.
Each year since 2006, one third of all managed commercial beehives have died in the U.S. and beyond, victims of a mysterious ailment called “colony collapse disorder” (CCD). This situation is not sustainable.
Perhaps the best answer lies in the hands of backyard and rooftop beekeepers, especially “apiators” who are using top bar hives, which allow bees to build their own combs. By creating sustainable backyard gardens and apiaries filled with growing flowers and vegetables, we provide a sustainable habitat for honeybees while they share their honey and help us grow food for our table.
Patrick Pynes has been teaching beekeeping and sustainable gardening for the past 20 years. He believes beekeeping can be a part of our global solution. Honeybeeteacher.com is about teaching people how to establish and care for their own top bar beehives. This enterprise is also about learning from the bees, for they are excellent teachers, and there is much to be learned from them. Join Patrick in making a difference for yourself, for your family, and for our planet. Y viva las abejas!
In the center of this icon is a queen bee, surrounded on all sides by her daughters, or “attendants.” The queen’s attendants encircle, groom, and feed her, for she is the life force of the hive.
Encircling this circle of honeybees is a circle of corn. These red, white, blue, and black ears of maize correspond to the four sacred directions and symbolize the peaceful, harmonious synthesis of indigenous American and European agricultural traditions. Spaniards and Englishmen first brought honeybees to the Americas, while indigenous Mexicans created maize by domesticating a species of wild grass. The colonists had never before encountered corn; indigenous peoples had never before encountered honeybees, or Apis mellifera. Now they are part of the same living whole.
The honeybee is the Fourth Sister. With her origins in Africa and Europe, she has crossed the Atlantic to join her three indigenous American sisters (corn, beans, and squash) and to become part of the same intercultural, archetypal, global family. The honeybee is a sacred expression of the Feminine Divine.
Eat Local, Be Happy by Alyssa Burkett featuring Patrick Pynes