Nature and Art
Michael Thiele
T+T CONSULT - Training/Academy 

Some beekeepers may describe their bees as „small biological robots" (1) and set up their beekeeping accordingly; they may theorize as much they want, the real root of the matter they meet not as a rule - many Eco-beekeepers closed-in. Good advised is, who recollected to the Goethe - word: „Man have heard also a thousand times of an object, the characteristic of the same speaks only to us from the direct looking on ". If now also the thinking get applied in the correct way, we come on the track of the essence of the „concrete and archaic bee 'thinking" (2).

„Nature is the only one book, which offers great content on all pages" noted Goethe in Italy. Astonishing is, that theatre doesn’t give him gladness anymore. The nature and the fine arts became more important to him in Italy: „Their ceremonies and operas, their etiquette and ballets, it flows all as water off an oilcloth jacket to me down. Against an effect of the nature as the sunset, seen of the villa Madama, a work of the art as the much adored juno make deep and remaining impression.. . with operas I don’t have a good time, only that intimate and eternal truth can now gladden me". On december 1787 he resummarized: „The reason and the consequence of the great masters is incredible. If I by my arrival in Italy were like new borne, so now I catch, how to be new brought up". he says of himself, he leads quite a nature living, „as it is only possible on the ground of earth."

A funded understanding of the fine arts and nature Goethe learned on his two years lasting italian journey: „In the art I must bring it so far, that all will become knowledge from one’s own experience, nothing remain tradition and name, and I force it in this half year, also it is not forced anywhere as in Rome". He studies works of art and works the nature - not as it is being tought today many times at universities: „These high works of arts are produced at the same time as the highest nature works by human beings according true and natural laws. All highhanded, prided falls together, there is necessity, there is god". Goethe writes 1787 in Rome, if he were cappable to establish an academy, he'd take care, that his students and sophomores study nature seriously and in the above mentioned sense. Because only in that way originate a fruit bringing, natural art of healing - contrary to modern allopatic medicine, an art of education considering the character of human beings - contrary to the consisting „system of education", an art of country cultivation and beekeeping - contrary to methods used today, socalled „organic beekeeping" closed-in.

The a bit sadly notion, one had in the southerly Italy in the 18. Century from the northern countries: „Sempre neve, case di legno, gran ignoranza, ma danari assai" and which Goethe translates „for edification of all German peoples" with: „always snow, wooden houses, great illiterateness; but money enough“, mustn't delude over that German peoples didn’t know to estimate nature. The new turn in the German climate - and energy politics, as well as the agrarian turn probably leads worldwide to positively resonance. The most think also not thereon because of single Bio-scandals (head-word Nitrofen) to throw the musket in the grain. Also the new „Bio- label " developed by Mrs Künast proves his good services. Nobody came on the idea, to say: „you can keep it or you may put it on the hat! ", or who would take the figure and fix it really on the hat - as a type of happening in the sense of Josef Beuys? It is actual prodigious, that Mrs Künast has presented that happening before all eyes on the „green week“ in Berlin (3).

Actions of this kind are good and helpful, but what about the actors, which are involved in the agrarian turn? Who advises them? How do they carry out their publications? What distinguish the advocates of the socalled „organic“ beekeeping? What about their understanding of nature and art? Here some examples.

The biologists Mrs Keppler and Mister Hähnle, who stir forceful the promotional drum for the Bioland - and Naturland - Association, as well the Demeter bond in their article „organic beekeeping - what does it distinguish?", inform the unsuspectingly reader:

  • „The aim of organic beekeeping is an high quality of the apiculture products, which distinguish from all others by being not adulterated..." (4).

The reader obtains the impression, that beekeepers, being not organized in one of these three Bio - associations, falsify their honey. Honey falsification or adulteration are at least in Germany since 1976 forbidden by the honey regulation and get practised therefore of no one single beekeeper in Germany! Do they have no editors at the German Beejournal? Sometimes I wonder which kind of scribblers are allowed to write something in these Journals. Understandable is the reaction of renowned scientist on such stating. Many times one sees only the big fuss, which is being done about „organic“ beekeeping, and one doesn’t get the idea, that real nature is involved; total in the opposit, one more has the impression that the consumer shall be misled: „Also numerously other honey have according Eco - test no residues, but are according to Eco - test not ‘certified organic’. Won’t the consumer be misled here with doubtfully concepts? " (5)

Though the migration into conventional fruits cultivation territories is prohibited by the above named associations, they prefer to leave themselves a loophole and a way out: „In order to lead the consumer not in the err" (6) - as it is called - one can find by the Bioland - honey on the label the note: „Because of the great flight radius of the bees it isn't to expect, that they fly in any case only, or predominantly to ecologic managed areas" (7).

What about the authors’s understanding of ecological beekeeping? It should „consider the character of bees" (8) for example. What about their understanding of the character of bees? Principally, that one shall not transport the bee from the living to the deads: „A destruction of the bees is prohibited because of animal protection reasons" (9). An amicable intercourse with the bees naturally belongs to the good tone. It is clear, that a mutilation (for example clipping of the queen’s wings) also is excluded - though some „organic“ beekeepers ore of other opinion (10).

In all friendliness, at all love for the bees, in respect of breeding friendship doesn’t go that far: „In respect of breeding there are in the EU - organic rule no instructions. The German Eco - associations recommend certainly the utilization of the natural swarming impulse for breeding" (11). The Eco - associations give admittedly recommendations, but the artificial queen breeding by grafting, and the artificial insemination of the queen with anesthesia, as well artificial breeding methods, „Super- queens "etc. are still allowed (12).

Outwardly they seem quite amicable again regarding the beehives: „The dwelling of the bee shall predominantly consist of natural materials" (13). If the bee hives in single cases are only so abound with wire and small plastic parts within the hive, this should - so the authors - not delude over the fact, that they „predominantly consist of natural materials" (14). - What naturally not means, that the so-called „Eco- beekeeper" itself must hold on to the international usual, or for the bees meaningful hive - and frame dimensions. A certain Mr Knabel, Demeter beekeeper and colleague of Mr Weiler, was so clever, that he has invented just a new measure! - namely the „9- honeycombs ZaDant magazine" by the frames dimensions 42x33 cm (15). Pridely he writes: „From experience Andreas Knabel has made during his two-year training at Günter Friedmann, he developped (as skilled joiner) the system further in small alterations of the construction.. . Thus that of the Knabel apiary offered hive system can refer back on an experience of two beekeeper masters and one skilled beekeeper and joiner" (16). -- Great! And he can already look back to a kind of own history: „At first developed was that nine - honeycombs magazine in the Zander-measure with fold chaplet of Josef Bretschko. Günter Friedmann developed it then 1998 further.. ." (17). Should that mean, that we now have three Dadant - dimensions in Germany? That sounds expected to be record and reminds me to an interestingly preface of the apiculture - technology magazine:

"Nowhere on the world there are so many diverse framedimensions and hive systems as in Germany. That has tradition, that even today is still frisky being proceeded! Therein we are uncontested world champion and will remain it also for a long time. A change in trend is still not in sight. Only a little example: Our European neighbours (France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and the eastern countries) have decided themselves predominantly already for the dadant hive (exclusively Typ sheet). In Germany one has managed to make the so-called 'modified' Dadant toothsome to beekeepers. Now we have beside the whole framesalad also still 2 diverse Dadant-dimensions and Dadant-hives. You won’t find it in no other country of the world! And this not even praiseworthy world champion title no one takes away in conceivable time also! " (18).

Lets go back to nature - for the time being not to Goethe’s perception of nature as I would like to but to that kind of nature being understood by Mrs Keppler and Mr Hähnle together with the „organic“ associations. They at least want a puff of nature: „The association- guidelines of the Bioland - association provide also the possibility of combs drawn out naturally" (19). At least shall theoretically exist the possibility for the „organic beekeeper", to keep himself to nature. But the authors see the risk if too much nature is involved: „You certainly have to count with drone brood" (20).

Mrs Keppler and Mr Hähnle have somehow informed us about the so-called „organic“ beekeeping methods. Now they ask themselves: „What is different? " (21). Truthfully, that question arises sometimes! Till now no engraving differences could be discovered. But it is not yet the end of the article reached. Still absent is the theme honey quality; here they’ll surely have something to say - one must only pay attention, that one not overlooks it!

„On EU - plane no particular regulations will be met for organic honey" (22).

Yes, by the Eco - associations naturally it looks completely different; the authors discuss the Bioland guidelines. Therein it is said: The storage of the honey shall take place „best in the stired condition. For filling it is necessary then only melting of the honey" (23).

The authors are convinced, that so-called „Eco-beekeepers" could maket - according to their understanding - a „highly nutritous product" (24). How little this yet has to do with the above mentioned understanding of art and nature, we have quite distinctly seen and has been discussed further (25); thereof testify also the abstractedly schemes, as they are carried out by the authors to the theme „bee and human being in the balance of nature ".

Thus there are many, who can’t dedicate themselves to a right perception of nature and art, and get channeled to wrong conclusions many times. Goethe meets them always again on his italian journey; he describes them as wasps in his room, „which drive against the window and hold the brightly screen for air, then rebound again and hum at the walls". Goethe has a totally own type of handling with those kind of people: „I am merciless, intolerant towards all, who stroll on their ways, or err and want to be held for messengers and travelers. With joke and mockery I make fun of them so long, until they change their lives, or separate from me." Of course Goethe has done already a preselection, because „people with half- and lopsided heads on their shoulders get without conditions instantly separated with the tub." With it be noticed, that Goethe is peace-loving. On his italian journey he says of himself, he is a child of the peace and wants „peace for and for, with the whole world ", as he had made peace with himself one time.


  1. Gary, N.E., 1992, 1999: Activities and behaviour of honey bees. The hive and honeybee. Dadant & Sons Hamilton/USA.
  2. Lipinsky, Z., 2002: Essence and mechanism of nest abandonment by honeybee swarms. Swarming, absconding, migration and related phenomena. Olsztyn/Polen.
  3. Hansen, H., 2002: Es grünt so grün auf der weltgrößten Agrarschau. Schrot & Korn. Das Naturkostmagazin 3/2002. Schaafheim.
  4. Keppler, C. & Hähnle, A., 2002: Ökologische Bienenhaltung - was zeichnet sie aus? Deutsches Bienenjournal 10 (10): 416-417. Berlin.
  5. Dustmann,J.H., 2002: Honig auf dem Prüfstand. Deutsches Bienenjournal 10 (5): 183. Berlin.
  6. Keppler, C. & Hähnle, A., 2002. Siehe Anmerkung 4.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ibid.
  9. Ibid.
  10. Im Organic Beekeeping Journal 8/2001 ( kann man folgende Empfehlung an Öko-Imker lesen: „The best methods of managing the swarm impulse, is to clip the queens wings and catch the swarm from the ground“. Ins Deutsche übersetzt: „Die besten Methoden den Schwarm Impuls in den Griff zu bekommen, ist das beschneiden der Königinnenflügel und das Auffangen des Schwarms vom Boden“
  11. Keppler, C. & Hähnle, A., 2002. Siehe Anmerkung 4.
  12. Thiele, M., 2002: Discussion of standards for organic beekeeping in Europe and USA. Bad Sooden/Germany. Siehe auch Internet Kurse # 01, #02 und #03. Bad Sooden, Germany.
  13. Keppler, C. & Hähnle, A., 2002. Siehe Anmerkung 4.
  14. Ibid.
  15. Knabel, A., 2002: Neues Zargensystem: 9- Waben ZaDant Magazin. 88696 Billafingen.
  16. Ibid.
  17. Ibid.
  18. Koch, K.-R., 2002: Editorial. Imkerei-Technik Magazin 2/2002. Oppenau/Schwarzwald.
  19. Keppler, C. & Hähnle, A., 2002. Siehe Anmerkung 4.
  20. Ibid.
  21. Ibid.
  22. Ibid.
  23. Ibid.
  24. Ibid.
  25. Thiele, M., 2002: Honeyquality. Bad Sooden/Germany. Und Thiele, M., 2002: Quality of beeproducts and understanding of honeyquality in the "organic scene". Bad Sooden/Germany.