It’s winter in the Northern Hemisphere, and it is a season of holidays around the world. Cold temperatures keep the bees clustered inside the hive and the beekeepers out. Winter is the slowest time of the beekeeping year, and it provides an opportunity for reflection and for spending time with friends and family. The holidays are also a time of sharing. Today, Rita pours beeswax Christmas tree ornaments to give to friends.
Many people say they never see bees; however, the honey bee shares a close relationship with humans and other creatures in the environment. We rely upon the bees to provide the pollination necessary to produe much of the food we eat. Without the bees, our diet would be extremely bland and starchy. Through pollination, the bees also help feed wildlife and livestock that complete our diet. Other networks of relationships exist: Beekeepers rely upon researchers to identify complex relationships between bees, pests, pathogens, nutrition, and the weather; researchers rely upon beekeepers to gather data necessary to reveal these relationships. Honey bees are resilient, and beekeepers are as well. Bees adapt to their environment, and beekeepers adapt their management practices in accordance with the developing scientific understanding of bee biology. Beekeepers around the world rely upon each other for sharing information related to honey bee health. An important benefit results: sharing information provides a basis for understanding among people of different backgrounds. I am pleased that portions of these blog writings are in use in beekeeping training. I have a great appreciation for the friendships that I have formed in beekeeping and the related communities. These include beekeepers, honey customers, chefs, gardeners, horticulturists, farmers, researchers, extension agents, media reporters, writers, photographers, and “electronic” friends around the country and around the world with whom I communicate. The Underhill family that operates Peace Bee Farm offers to all of these friends and to each who follow the world’s great religions, philosophies, and traditions a joyous holiday season: Peace be with you.--Richard