I consider myself an organic beekeeper. My beekeeping efforts prioritize conservation and sustainable hive management. Because of these things, I spend a great deal of time and interaction with each hive.
A hive itself is only a shelter for the nest of a colony of honey bees. Honey bees consist of three types of “castes” of bees that cannot exist without each other. They depend on each other for survival. The colony is itself a “super-organism” that in my experience has shown that as a colony, expresses a singular identity and even it’s own personality.
Every colony having it’s own personality and seen as such is easier for me to identify with. Because bees usually build their nests inside enclosed void spaces, like those made by beekeepers, seeing the hive as one entity is, for me, easier to make a personal connection with. I see each hive sort of as a representation of one creature. As in, there’s a dog, a cat, a deer, and look, a hive of bees.
That’s one of my hives of bees. I have interacted with her, I refer to all of my hives as a “her”, and watched her over a period of time. I have seen her sick and attacked by pests. I have seen her strong and healthy and vibrant and alive.
She has a unique personality. Just like each of my other hives. Because of these interactions and truly, building a relationship with these hives the way I built a relationship with my dog, I give my hive a name. I give every hive a name.
That’s how I approach being a beekeeper.