Permaculture in Action

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Queen of the Sun

Last week we received our new DVD 'Queen of The Sun -What are the bees telling us"

It is a profound, alternative look at the global bee crisis. Taking us on a journey through the catastrophic disappearance of bees and the mysterious world of the beehive.

Many of the people featured in the film are biodynamic practitioners. Rudolf Steiner warned of  the collapse of  bee colonies that we are now experiencing way back in early 1900's. He said that the mechanisation of the bee industry would destroy bees.

Bees were once looked upon as a sacred and honey as a  gift from the bees, so sacred that it was never sold, but only given away as a gift until the 19th century. At this time hives were forced to conform to farming practices that made it easier for bee keepers to maximise profits. Sound familiar! But bees are not your ordinary farm animal. Our very existence depends on them. Bees pollinate 40% of our food. In the U.S. alone 5 million colonies have been lost.

Challenges for bees:

  1. Mechanisation-
  2.  Mono cultures- habitat loss. The almonds of California is a great example of this. Hives have to trucked in every year for pollination of the trees because the monoculture is so vast that there is nothing for the bees once the almonds have finished flowering.
  3. Migratory bee keeping- bees from all over the world are brought together for pollination purpose which brings together any pests and diseases that the various bees may have.
  4. Pesticides.
  5. G.M. plants- compromise the immune system of bees.
  6. Varroamite.
  7. Artificial insemination of the Queen which leads to decreasing strength of the Queen. The lifespan of a Queen has decreased from 5-6 yrs to 1yr if she's lucky. The Queen is deeply connected to the sun forces. She flies 600ft into the air and will mate with up to 1 doz. drones. She will receive over 1 million sperm and produce millions of eggs, laying 1500 -2000 eggs a day  if allowed to reproduce naturally. 
  8. Swarming is prevented.- A swarm is the hives natural way of procreation. After a new queen hatches , the old queen flies out of the hive with almost half the workers. They find a new place to build a hive and leave the old hive for the new queen.

The very next day after watching this wonderful film, one of our hives swarmed. Mark put a little honey into a bee box and coaxed the bees into the box. A few days later and another hive swarmed. We now have 6 hives. Today a friend rang to say that their hive at swarmed and could Mark help. They now have another hive. Bees are a very important part of our farm. We plant a diverse range of plants so that they always have forage, even in winter. And their honey is very precious. We often give it as gifts.


  1. I used to be frightened of bees and saw them only as a 'pest' until I learnt all about gardening. I now rejoice when my orange tree is in blossom and I can hear a steady buzz coming from the tree.
    I sometimes think we forget just where that sweet stuff comes from when we pull it off a supermarket shelf. I only buy local honey now (I am still afraid to have a hive incase they sting me!) and it makes us remember just what honey is and what hard work goes into making it.
    A very interesting post.

  2. This is a really interesting post and something to think about. A few years ago there was a local problem with not enough bees pollinating the local vegie gardens, but they seem to have come back in the past year or so. If we had more land I would love to keep some bees. The best honey I ever tasted was a man down the coast who sold his own honey door to door and knew all the intricate flavours of it.

  3. Until you see it in black and white the average Joe Blow (myself included ) wouldn't realise just how important the humble bee is to our survival...........

    At the most basic level, no bees, no pollination, no food.

    I admire these little hard working creatures and love being out in the garden working away with them humming merrily in the background.

    A very interesting post Kate,

    Claire :}

  4. Hi Kate, I really enjoyed this post. As a beekeeper I would love to see the movie. Every movie you have mentioned has had me intrigued. Where do you find out about them and access them? Do you have normal hives or Warre hives? Tania, I know people in Melbourne, on tiny blocks in suburbs near the city, that keep hives. It's always scary when you have young kids, but if you put a hive somewhere where their flight path is out of the way and educate the kids to respect them, you should be fine.
    Thanks again Kate. Great post!

  5. Thank you for sharing this interesting post Kate. I have learned something today and feel a little sad at what the world is doing to all our precious creatures, everything thing has it's place...

  6. Where do you find such interesting doco's? This is something that I would love to show our young ones because it really could become a serious issue. The whole bee dilemma is quite frightening really and needs addressing now - before it's too late.
    Thanks for sharing this, Kate.

  7. I'm so glad you have that movie. It's on my 'must watch' list. Are you having a movie night for it?

    Enjoy the weekend with your daughters x t

  8. We will be showing it as a Movie that Matters Tricia. Shall keep you informed. The web site for the DVD is We are recommended most films through the various associations we belong to. We have normal hives at the moment but have done things like remove the queen excluder to make things less stressful. Mark used to keep his bees on his roof when he lived in suburbia, so that no one could walk in front of their flight path. Glad you all liked the post.

  9. Hi there, I have just found your great blog via FaceBook !
    Great post, I saw the film `Oueen of the Sun` afew months ago and it reafirmed my belief in natural beekeeping. I run work shops on TopBar hives, talk to groups and schools and teach beekeeping and organic gardening at night school, plus have my own TB hive - my kids say I`m obsessed - probably am, but it is a great thing to be obsessed about!!
    Another excellent dvd to watch is `Nicotine Bees` by Kevin Hansen. I brought it thru Amazon along with acouple of other dvds, one about TopBar hives.

  10. Thanks Marcia for that info. We are looking at top bar hives at the moment.