Permaculture in Action

Monday, July 11, 2011

Principle Two - Catch and Store Energy

Bees are very efficient at converting the sun's energy, which , through photosynthesis can be found in plants, into a nutritious food i.e honey. They store it in wax within their hives as a food source for themselves, they have in effect caught and stored energy.We have 4 beehives here on the farm. The bees do a great job of pollinating our plants and twice a year we are able to rob the hives of the excess honey and store it throughout the year as food for ourselves and our CSA members.
Mark is the bee keeper and he goes onto to talk a little more on the value of honey.

Steiner stated in lecture five on bees that “basically, it is truly a wonderful thing that such small creatures exist that are capable of extracting from blossoms, flowers and plants that substance that they transform into this extraordinarily healthy honey, a substance that could play a more important role in human nutrition than it does today.”

It was fascinating to learn that the time a bee spends as lava differs with the type of bee that is produced. A worker bee develops for 21 days which is the time the sun revolves on its axis so “the worker bee has experienced every different effect the Sun can have on it, and all of these effects are now within the bee.”
The queen takes only 16 days to mature.
“it doesn’t even finish the sun cycle of 21 days. It lags behind and remains forever a Sun child.”
The drone spends 28 days and moves beyond the Sun to be influenced by the earth. “it is definitely an Earth animal, while the worker is a sun child, complete within itself.”
He spoke of “social medicine” and the role honey could play in the development of a child if couples ate honey as part of preparing to have children “because there is in honey a force that can affect the reproductive power in human beings, who then in turn transform this honey power further so as to give the offspring a proper bodily form”
Steiner talks about the importance of honey as a food – especially as we grow older. For children it is milk. “Honey contains the power to maintain the shape and form of the human body, to give it solidarity”
He says that we need to be most careful when we interfere with Nature and that the intrusion is often detrimental. “Despite these constraints, Nature operates in the best way it can. We can remove certain limitations and thereby make things easier for Nature. We have, for instance, seemingly really helped Nature very much in regard to bee keeping by using, instead of the older beehives, the newer type of bee hive boxes that are arranged with comfort in mind for both bees and humans.”
But as for artificial breeding – the strong bonding of a bee generation, a bee family, will be detrimentally effected over the longer period. “we will have to wait and see how things look after fifty to eighty years” …… NOW!!

For me honey is a little like compost in that it is hard to put a value on it. There is really no price that would represent the value of either honey or compost and as such they are both best given as gifts to valuable friends. Having said that we are happy to distribute our excess honey but we should never lose sight of the intrinsic value in the “nectar of the Sun.”


  1. Lovely post. I have often thought of reading Steiner on Bees, but imagine it to be hard going. I am waiting for my bees to arrive, but it may not be until next summer. The queens were not able to go on their mating flights due to the bad weather in may, so the colonies are not strong enough yet. Ah well, I think I have plenty to keep me occupied. xx

  2. Really enjoyed reading what you put there about bees and honey. Thank you.

  3. bees .... on the list of must's .... and you have only reaffirmed that for me. thank you!

  4. I find reading Steiner quite difficult. Mark is much better at it than me, so mainly I read someone elses interpretation. 3 of our hives have come from the bees swarming. People ring when they find a swarm and we go get them. Sometimes they are too weak by the time we get there and don't persist, but sometimes we are lucky!