I refer to myself in regard to beekeeping in a variety of ways. Master Beekeeper, Professional Apiarist, Bee Conservation Technician. I personally put a lot of meaning into bee conservation.
I believe that it is ideal as a beekeeper to work and manage only so as to facilitate the bees being able to successful on their own terms. Because we are putting bees into places they may not h,ave selected themselves, we are obligated to make sure to do some work to ensure their self-sustainability.
At the same time, we are beekeepers because we want something. Honey, wax, pollen, propolis, a sense of peace and satisfaction, etc… Because of our intent, we manipulate hives to maximize those outcomes. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as we are not compromising bee health and a sustainable hive.
We coerce the bees into creating more than they might normally produce. It is coercion because it is often an artificially created set of circumstances or environment that we create in order to achieve production from those hives they might not have produced left to their own decisions.
Bees need to be healthy and have certain necessary resources made available to them. We need hive structures that facilitate our ability to work with hives. Therein lies the compromise. Beekeepers who lean more to the bees needs consider themselves to be organic or natural. Beekeepers who lean more towards achieving their own production goals are more conventional.
I personally lean to the organic and to the extent where I prefer to nadir boxes and go no treatment inside the hives. However, I am also practical and realize that according to my physical health and range of abilities that nadiring is not practical for me to pursue any longer.
So I continue to compromise. I still use 5 frame boxes and no treatment inside the hives. I still pursue scientific organic goals. However, I will go forward this season not nadiring but supering instead. It is less physically challenging to me to super the boxes.
I believe still that it is more organic to nadir hive stacks as that mimics their natural behavior. I also believe that it is proven after 150 plus years that supering does not harm bees necessarily or prevent them from self-sustaining behavior. It does mean that I need to bear in mind my manipulations and observe more closely when I do inspections.
All in all, it’s a reasonable mutual agreement the bees and I have. I will manage their hives as responsibly as I can to achieve my production goals and they will sting me to let me know when I screw up.