Decline of the honeybee

“The more you investigate these creatures and the manner in which they live, the more you will come to the conclusion that there is a great intelligence in how they work and what they accomplish.” —Rudolf Steiner

The closing statement in the video is attributed to Einstein but there is no evidence to suggest that he said or wrote it. There is no record of it anywhere before 2002: that is not to say that he would not have agreed with it. Bees were not his speciality but one man who did know a great deal about bees was Rudolf Steiner.

In 1923 Steiner gave a series of lectures at the Goetheanum, Dornach, Switzerland, about bees.

At this time Steiner predicted that the honeybee would disappear within 80 to 100 years; he believed the industrialization of bees would lead to their demise.  As I have pointed out elsewhere, we interfere with nature at our peril because we can never know the full consequences of that interference.

Pick a fight with nature and nature will always win!

It looks as though he was right and a quick tour of the internet brings up these alarming details-

Again, reasons for these declines are complex, but changes in land use and the intensification of agriculture appear to be the main causes.

Global Envision

This bit of that article was also a worry- wheat, maize and rice are in fact wind-pollinated – what does that mean for trials of GM crops? How can Monsanto and others possibly know the extent of cross contamination? Buffer zones are all very well but what if there are high winds such as we have seen lately.

In its starkest warning yet over the phenomenon known as “Colony Collapse Disorder”, the British Beekeepers Association said it now believes the country’s honey bee population could be reduced to just a fifth of current levels within five years unless millions of pounds are spent on research.


The honeybee decline, which is affecting domesticated and wild bee populations around the world, is mostly the result of diseases spread as a result of mites and other parasites as well as the spraying of crops with pesticides, scientists say.

National Geographic

How do the scientists know this? If they know then they will know what to do about it. But this has been happening for a long time and the decline in bee populations continues.

So they call it “Colony Collapse Disorder” as if they understood it and were working to find a cure.  And they think have found one by breeding genetically modified bees to help clean up the hives.

Clean-up bees. Now one sort of mind says great, a solution through human ingenuity. Another says haven’t you done enough damage? And you want to introduce yet another foreign species?

So we cure one problem which we don’t really understand by interfering with nature once more.

The most recent story is here and this new film, Queen of the Sun, takes a look at the problem.

Steiner blamed industrialisation but his main wish was to emphasise the spiritual/metaphysical importance of bees.

”A beautiful story tells us that when Christ hung on the cross, bees came and drew honey from his bleeding wounds, as from red roses otherwise. The blood’s composition had changed through the sacrifice and had become like the sap of red roses.”

And, on the subject of the close links between humans and bees, here’s a curious footnote-

Russian baby Vanya Maryin was born with a five chambered heart, a structure only found in bees. Oddly enough little Vanya comes from a family of bee-keepers.

Of course, such a condition is not a desirable one. Being perpetually doubled over was the only way Vanya’s heart could pump oxygen to the rest of his body.

Fortunately, a six hour heart surgery was able to transform Vanda’s bee heart into a four-chamber and little Mr. Maryin into a normal boy.”

3 comments for “Decline of the honeybee

  1. Rossa
    January 12, 2012 at 09:24

    I saw a report recently (can’t find it online) that they have found a parasitic fly that lays it’s eggs in the worker bees. A researcher had left some dead bees for a few days and when looked at again there were loads of larvae in and around the bodies.

    This would cause the collapse of the colonies because in the US, hives are trucked around the States, which spreads the problem across the continent. May not be the only reason and don’t know what it will take to reverse the problem but may be another piece of the jigsaw.

  2. January 12, 2012 at 21:55

    Genetically modified bees is not the answer. Nature knows best, always.

    I wrote a little bit about Varro the parasitic mite here.

    The relevant quote:

    “In a recent article in the National Trust magazine, Emma Hill, the head gardener for Dunham Massey, explains how the bee keepers at Dunham Massy deal with the virus by using icing sugar to treat it. The sugar is sprinkled onto the bees through a fine mesh. This encourages the bees to groom which removes the mite.”

    I think that is a far better way of trying to deal with the problem. Even better still would be to find out what the cause of the problem is.

  3. January 13, 2012 at 04:59

    Always this interference when nature could do it itself.

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