So. All I can say IS THAT THIS IS THE MOST AMAZING PLACE I HAVE EVERY BEEN TO…. EVER! Boulder is a great place, but let’s be honest, a dead-end road that buts in to the ancient canyon of the Rocky Mountains with climbing and hiking literally out your back door. Need I say more?
This place is incredible. So the day yesterday ended up being awesome. Karen, Corwin and I met up to go and check out some of Corwin’s fetchers. These fetchers are little TBH’s made of cardboard and packed with a package of queen pheromone. The packages of pheromone are used for exterminations by other beekeepers to lure in rogue hives for the slaughter. Corwin on the other hand is using it to lure in the swarming hives to bring them home! These fetchers are fantastic and work really well. Corwin is supporting the swarming behavior of bees because he feels that swarming is not only a natural behavior of the bees, but a spiritual necessity; without the swarming behavior, the bees lose their opportunity to choose which bees are going to go where. When the hive is manually split, the bees are forced by an external power to belong where they are put, and usually remain close neighbours with their sisters (beekeepers keeping their splits within the same beeyard). Let compare this interaction with human reactions. You take a region, in lets say Africa. Instead of considering the peoples wants, needs, and individual characteristics, an outside power chooses a boarder-line for the creation of two separate nations. How productive will the new governments be at creating unity? How productive will the queen be at ruling over her harem? This is not a trick question, its obvious.
Now, the impressive aspect to these fetchers is that they are strategically located by Corwin to very old wild beehives he has kept an eye on in the area. The idea is that within the success of these wild hives’ DNA is the encyclopedia of information about how to successfully survive throughout the Colorado winter. Sharing this DNA with his other hives passively allows for Corwin to actively support the survival of the bee species, that is, the wild and unmodified (and quote “the bees they havent fucked up yet”) bees.
Something of note. Before the development of the Langstroth Hive in the USA, the most popular bee kept was the Black Bee. This bee species was popular because of its heartyness for overwintering. They are a variety eager to seal all cracks and crannies with propolis. Well, once the Langstroth came in to popularity, so too did the Carneolin variety of bee. These bees may not be as hearty, but they made managing the hive easier because they didn’t seal the whole thing up. That is why today, Corwin is in search for the Black bee, the oldest and less desirable bee by commercial beekeepers. Because if he finds them, he finds the wisest DNA encyclopedia available to him. It is not about production, and it is not about making money. Bees for Corwin is about taking a stand, and fixing what is wrong. Us. How we look at the livestock and the livestock handling methods is out of control. No longer are we seeing the bee as a super-organism sustaining the Earth through the loving embrace with flowers, but as an industrialized method of maximizing productivity and surplus for the benefit of the cash cow. More more more more more more more. Need I say more?
So we moved the fetcher in to Corwin’s beeyard and added it to a topbar hive. We had a look at his beeyard. These are bees which he sees as having the most potential for survival information. These hives are the strongest, oldest and wisest that Corwin has worked with in the last 11 years. Corwin is not forcing their mating behavior. He does not kill the queen to ensure that another will be made for inter-mating between hives, nor does he offer any other inputs to ensure their connections. He simply brings them together to heighten their chances of communion…. that is if the bees want to.
This is Corwin’s little beeyard:
There are 8 hives in total at this location, and many others hidden in the mountains near by: under logs, in trees, ditches, and hillsides.
This is how beekeeping was done, at a time in the past when bees were revered for their simple bounty, their unique offering of delectable goodness incomparable to any other product in the world. The bees wants and needs were respected. Their welfare protected. That is why Corwin and thebackyardhive are bee guardians. They serve and protect the right for bees to remain wild.