This 1925 film of the Bijenmarkt (Bee Market) Veenendaal, Holland reminded me of a question I often hear: "How many bee hives should I have?". If we take a bee centred view I have various answers:
- 1 to 3 hives per 1 km2 - This is a natural distribution, and one that reduces the incidence of disease transfer between hives
- Less than 10 - As an end of term project, an engineering professor asked his students to make 10 copies of their last project. The students quickly learned that a simple 15 minute processes for a one-off widget soon became impractical for their short assignment. At 10, their widgets turned from crafted items into manufacturing problems.
- No more than you can individually care for - Some people have really big hearts and love and care for each of their hives, and some should not look after any hives. Keep only the number of hives you can truly care for on an individual basis. Each hive and beekeeper is unique.
Roughness and disregard for bees often comes from honey-money beekeepers. The ultimate rough handling symbol is the fork lift truck used in migration beekeeping.
While I find the Bijenmarkt film fascinating, it also reminds me how easily we see without seeing.