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Arboreal Apiculture Salon

Kelsey Zaavedra

Over the weekend there was the first ever Arboreal Apiculture Salon. This was an international meeting with bee advocates all over the globe. We met online via teleconference and it was pretty impressive. Technology isn’t my strong suit so I was amazed with the abilities of an iPad and 30+ willing participants to all log in and have a meeting almost as easy as if we were in person.

You can see here where all our faces were on the screen. People from various time zones were “present” and was ranged from the USA, UK, Franc, Germany, Portugal, Poland.. the list goes on.



This teleconference stemmed from the Learning from the Bees Conference that was held last September in Holland. Despite it being the perfect conference for me to attend, as it was started from a group of folks at the Natural Beekeeping Trust in Sussex (that I worked with while I lived in the UK) I wasn’t able to attend. I’m hopeful that the next conference because and many other people that share the same passion and work as I do. Let’s hope it doesn’t fall in the middle of the harvest season!

The focus of this first salon was to look into the arboreal aspect of apiculture. Many people might not know that bees have evolved with trees. As bee advocates, we are concerned with best practices and how we can be of service to these creatures instead of the other way around. By hosting a primal type of habitat for them, they are allowed to live in a way they wish. Have you ever seen a swarm? Think about where they go .. most times in a tree. Think of wild colonies or the remote honey hunters in the jungles.. they are always climbing trees and carefully finding their ways in the the colonies. The bees are telling us what they want but many times we do not hear it. Isn’t it funny to think about how bees are now in boxes? And on the ground!

This brings me to the next topic we touched on: Rewilding. I suppose by default if we are trying to learn from the bees by observation, that it brings us back to the questions of where did it begin and how do we do live with bees now. If we can keep in mind the beginning stages of honeybee evolution, we can work with the bees instead of against them.

One of the things I love about the Sun Hive is the way it hybridizes a primal way of living with bees. The form and volume reflects the function they wish to live by. However, it’s in a hive that we can live closer to and manage if we see fit. I feel that it’s a respectful way to “keep” bees in this day and age. The beauty of the hive creates a platform for us to honor Her and help guide us to think in a different way. It’s very inspirational. I feel that this is a critical step in the way forward with apiculture.If we do not shift the way we think, and quickly, we are in trouble. Although this is a very alternative hive, I believe that it’s tangible for many people to grasp, which points us in a progression each direction.




Going back to the salon.. It was only an hour and a half and felt like 2 minutes. It was encouraging to talk with likeminded apiculturists and hear what they are up to, why and how they are practicing they way they are. I thought it was very interesting to learn about how bees found people and people found bees. Some people had no background or idea to work with bees but they were called on and are taking action. I’m already looking forward to the next one in February! Hopefully we can dig deeper into the topics and I can report back.. For those of you who participated, thank you for sharing part of your day with me and making this all possible!