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Author Topic: While we're talking about talking about bees... "natural" vs natural  (Read 916 times)
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« on: March 18, 2011, 10:05:05 PM »

In the other post,   I was talking more about talking about bees "technically" in other forums.

Here,  I want to hash on the scientific discussion of bees and bee keeping methods/approaches.

Obviously,  I admit to being very technical and specific in using terminology. 

I consider myself to be a very "scientific" person in my approach to working with bees even though my methods may seem to be very "hands off".

I believe in basing my methods on observable and document-able behaviors and actions of the bees.  I watch bees in every situation  I can when  I get the chance to see what they do "naturally" or when they are not being "obviously" manipulated.

Of course, this is all in light of the scientific "truth" that anything being observed is affected by the circumstances of the observers presence.

To me, in my observations and readings of other scientific beekeepers observations, there is a distinction that is not being made by "generic" beekeepers in that they do not separate "natural" materials form "natural behaviors.

by this I mean that when people want to talk about bees being "natural" they suggest (I use that word lightly) that unless bees are living in a tree void or fallen log, etc... that the bees are not being kept "naturally.  As if the conditions or location of the bees nest dictate whether the bees are living "naturally" or not.

 I offer this as my observation of "natural" bee behavior.  Bee swarms have chosen voids for new nests in un-managed situations within voids of various construction.  Ranging from the sides of houses, eaves, porch floors, shed roofs, the sides of motor homes, even within discarded engine blocks and fuel tanks.

I consider those to be "natural" hives because the bees using their natural behaviors selected without a beekeepers influence the nest site.

Something else to take into consideration, the scientific definition of a "nest" vs a "hive".

A "nest" is the wax combs that bees build within a void that the  queen lays eggs in, the workers store honey and pollen in and everything else the bees do in their day to day lives.

A "hive" is the structure providing the "void" which contains the nest the bees build.

Bees build a nest in a void contained within a hive.

A hive can be man made materials or "natural" materials.  It can be beekeeper selected or colony selected.

a nest can be started and drawn out entirely by bees producing wax from their scales.

It can also be started by a beekeeper placing "naturally drawn "foundation-less" comb or with man-made foundation.

scientifically discussing hive management is not necessarily the same as discussing nest management. 

To say scientifically that I am a "naturalistic"  type in my management methods would mean that I facilitate the nest and hive conditions as close to the ways bees would successfully do when they are not under the management of a beekeeper.

Where is the line drawn to separate "natural" meaning providing a housing for a nest and placing a swarm or colony of bees to do as they will without further manipulation by the beekeeper, from  "naturalistic" which might indicate that things are done mostly like "natural" but involving "minor" manipulations like splits or pulling honey when they get honey-bound?

What separates that "naturalistic" from "minor" manipulations?  from medium from "heavy"?

There is a line, but we all seem to draw that line a bit differently as it behooves how we perceive our own intentions and desire to be perceived by our peers.

Why is any of the above important to me?

Because if we are going to talk scientifically and be able to repeat each others experiments and observations, we must be on the exact same page.  We must have the same exact definition of terms and ideas so that those observations and experiments can be readily duplicated  and documented to provide corroboration or dissension in the summaries and results we report to each other.

In putting my thoughts here "on paper" so to speak,  I guess I am asking too much to expect others on other forums to be so specific as I am as those forums and beekeepers are not having scientific discussions.  They are just there to be more social and share comaradery.

To me, I see no point in having a "serious" discussion about bees/beekeeping if it is not a scientific discussion.


Check out my laid back Linux and Open Source Blog in which I manage to talk about both honey bees and Tech stuff at the same time.
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