A beekeeping with only gentle interventions of the beekeeper is possible
If we give nature more scope and follow nature more closely, we can alleviate some of the honeybee’s problems:
Wintering the bees on their own honey is certainly the best way for the bees to eat and is the basic condition for honeybees’ health. If the bees have had enough time to remove the moisture from the honey and if the bee hive is properly insulated, the honey stores also act as a moisture buffer, which in winter ensures constant relative humidity in the sensitive areas of the hive and prevents condensation water from accumulating.
Allowing natural selection seems to be the key to non-treatment beekeeping. It is probably the only way to establish less aggressive Varroa mites in the long run. In natural selection, nature determines which characteristics prevail and which do not. Allowing this natural selection has the long-term chance of an adaptation between host and parasite. Natural selection seems to be the key to such an adaptation, as we know it from various studies. “One does not have to have a purely materialistic conception of evolution to accept that any organism has to adapt to the conditions in which it finds itself, or become extinct…”, writes David Heaf in his article “Dealing with Varroa: natural selection or artificial selection?“. The content of this quote should actually be a consensus and does not require further discussion. This makes it all the more incomprehensible that natural selection has been almost eliminated in recent decades and that swarming has only marginally taken place. Despite the appearance of the aggressive parasite Varroa, the artificial selection was intensively used and the natural selection was largely prevented.
With suitable constructions we make it easier for honeybees to create and maintain their hive climate, thus saving them time and energy.
Last but not least, gentle beekeeping methods avoid stress for honeybees, which is probably an underestimated factor for bee health.