Tag-Archive for » Michael Thiele «

Friday, March 06th, 2009 | Author:
The international Demeter Association certifies Biodynamic® agriculture and its guidelines are considered the highest and strictest inHistory of Demeter the world. The Melissa Garden is utilizing biodynamic agriculture methods and will seek Demeter certification. By extension, our beekeeper, Michael Thiele, is practicing biodynamic beekeeping methods.
  • With the exception of fixings, roof coverings and wire meshing, hives must be built entirely of natural materials such as wood, straw or clay. The inside of the hive may only be treated with beeswax and propolis. Only natural, ecologically safe and non-synthetic wood preservatives may be applied to the hive exterior.
  • Swarming is the natural way to increase the number of bee colonies and is the only permitted means for increasing colony numbers.
  • The system of management cannot rely on the continual introduction of colonies, swarms and queens from elsewhere. Clipping the wings of queens is prohibited. Multiple and routine uniting of colonies as well as systematic queen replacement is not permitted.
  • A locally adapted breed of bee suited to the landscape should be chosen.
  • The comb is integral to the beehive. Therefore all combs should be constructed as natural combs. Natural combs are those constructed by the bees without the help of waxed midribs. Natural combs can be constructed on fixed or movable frames. Strips of beeswax foundation to guide comb building is permitted.
  • The brood area naturally enough forms a self-contained unity. Both comb and brood area must be able to grow as the bee colony develops through building more natural comb. The brood chamber and frame size must be so chosen that the brood area can expand organically with the combs and without being obstructed by wood from the frames. Separation barriers are not allowed as integral elements of the management system.
  • Honey and blossom pollen are the natural foods for bees. The aim should be to winter them on honey. Where this is not possible supplementary winter feed must contain at least 10% honey by weight. Chamomile tea and salt should also be added to the feed. All feed supplements must be of organic if not Biodynamic origin. All pollen substitutes are forbidden.

A bee colony should be able to correct any occurring imbalances out of its own resources. Measures taken by the Demeter beekeeper should aim to reinforce and maintain its vitality and capacity for self regeneration. The occasional loss of colonies particularly susceptible to certain pests and diseases should be accepted as a necessary part of natural selection.

Monday, March 17th, 2008 | Author:

I borrowed my friend’s vegcar to drive up to Santa Rosa, CA last weekend to learn about the CCD situation and meet more local beekeepers at the 2008 Bee Symposium. Quite a niceRandy Oliver at 2008 Bee Symposium, Sebastapol, CA turnout at the Summerfield Waldorf School, and I learned some great bits about dusting for mites with powdered sugar and using a microscope to look for Nosema ceranae from Randy Oliver (scientificbeekeeping dot com). The nice couple from Bee Kind store sponsored the event…. symposium@beekind.com

I have some recordings, and photos. The most interesting presentation that I wished I had recorded entirely was Dr. Ron Fessenden’s 20 minute powerpoint about honey and health, and the first Int’l Honey and Human Health symposium that happened in January 2008. It was fantastic! Click play below for some video from his presentation (shot with Canon Powershot SD1000).


I commented publicly on my observation that most of the attendees were more experienced, and/or older folks and thought that there may be a connection between the disheartening graph presented by Serge Labesque, and the fact that not many younger beekeepers were present (I counted 5 including myself). The response from Michael Thiele and others was “it’s always been that way” and “even in Germany and other Chart of beekeeper decline? parts of the world.” Obviously, according to the graph. My intention is to inspire more “kids” to understand pollination and beekeeping. It’s probably more heroic work, than, say… well, need I say? I encourage potential beekeeper mentors to recruit, get involved with leadership programs to integrate your work to find and plant the beeky seeds in our youth. Gold stars for all who get a kid away from “Play”stations and Second “Life” and turn them on to saving the planet for real!

Many San Francisco beekeepers were there, who I met later in the week at my first beekeeping club meeting. I’ve gained a mentor, and have found a place to put my hives when my bees come in April. We’ve formed a subcommittee within SFBA to examine and understand the apple moth arial spraying slated for the city of San Francisco August 1, 2008. Arial spraying for pests seems to me to be a rather Soviet-era way to handle a bug, militaristic and ineffective, and devastatingly ignorant. There is a campaign to stop this insanity.

As far as CCD goes, Mussen reported that it appears the same or worse than last year. The Vanishing of the Bees crew blogged of a well-known beek bringing them to see his dead-out hives, bee “graveyard” – millions of bees.

-DNR, March 16, 2008


DATE: Saturday, March 8, 2008
TIME: 9:00 am ? 6:00 pm

In this time of global ecological challenges, the honeybee is an indicator species reflecting the enormous changes taking place in our world. Bee populations are dying and pollination ecology is deeply affected. As beekeepers, we must become stewards of the earth and change paradigms. This one-day symposium offers information and speakers with new perspectives on honeybees and native pollinators, beekeeping practices, innovative approaches and ecological strategies for beekeepers.Randy Oliver on microscope


  • Randy Oliver, Grass Valley, Biologist and forward thinking commercial beekeeper
  • Dr. Eric Mussen, Entomologist, UC Davis, CA Beekeeper Association 2006 Beekeeper of the Year
  • Katharina Ullmann, Presenting for Claire Kremnen, Xerces Society, UC Berkeley
  • Serge Labesque, 2006 Western Apiculturist Society’s (WAS) Innovator of the year
  • Kathy Kellison, Executive Director of Partners For Sustainable Pollination (PFSP)
  • Michael Thiele, Holistic beekeeper; Demeter Beekeeping Standards
  • Ron Fessenden, M.D. Co-Chairman of The Committee on Honey and Human Health

Serge Labesque presentation


Two Innovative Movies on Beekeeping presented by the filmmakers

1) Pollen Nation, by Singeli Agnew and Joshua Fischer

2) The Vanishing of the Bees, by Maryam Henein

Doreen Schmid, presenting bee art The Melissa Garden ? A honey bee sanctuary in Healdsburg Rudolf Steiner College, Sonoma County Master Gardeners, 4-H Kids, Sonoma County Beekeeping Association and more.

Natural looking Hive (from Germany)