Now it is official! We have become hobby beekeepers! My husband has been dreaming abut this for months and after attending courses for beginners he has obtained two young beehives last week-end. We put them in a young forest on the border of Düsseldorf – only 15 minutes by bike from where we live.
I am not an expert yet to explain every technical detail, but I very excited about this new hobby. In fact, it is much more than a hobby – it is an important contribution to ensuring our food supply because without pollination our agriculture would collapse. Today honeybees increasingly suffer from this same agriculture with its high use of pesticides and monocultures. Einstein is believed to have said that if the bees die out, humans will have only four years to live. This topic is discussed in much detail in a great film by Markus Imhoof More Than Honey. For example, I was shocked by the fact that in China there are regions where no bees are left because of their pesticide use. So it is China’s cheap labour force who pollinates the fruit trees – by hand, which is much less efficient. If we had to do this in Europe, imagine how much an apple would cost?! I was also terrified with how bees are treated in the US – not like amazing living beings, but only like pollinating instruments.
Today beekeepers associations all over Germany are trying to attract more young beekeepers to increase the honey bee population in Europe, which is also suffering greatly because of varroa – a parasite that was introduced in Europe from Asia. European honey bees cannot survive without us and we cannot survive without them. So if you also admire these sophisticated social insects (and would not refuse some honey as a reward) please come by at one of the seminars and consider becoming a hobby beekeeper. In the meantime you can enjoy these pictures. Below you can easily spot the queen – with a blue spot on the back and a long abdomen.
As it is a young population, they still cannot find enough food for themselves so we brought them some sugar syrup – I hope they like it. Let’s see in two days how they are getting on in the new place.