Ecovillage Bhrugu Aranya, Poland
Spring has arrived at Ecovillage Bhrugu Aranya in Poland and it’s a joy to see our bees flying busily back and forth, returning to their hives laden with yellow pollen to feed their new emerging brood. Activity is high now as they rapidly build up strength after a long Polish winter where temperatures dropped to as low as -30 Celsius (-22 degrees Fahrenheit).
The barely audible hum that the tight cluster of bees emits during those winter months gives way to a roaring song of communal joy as they energetically get to work on housekeeping, collecting pollen, nectar and rearing young. As the days warm up, there are few things more comforting to a beekeeper than that healthy buzz emanating from a hive.
Sadly, according to bee club members who meet in a nearby town, many hives are silent this March. Starting last autumn and through the winter, conventional beekeepers in this area of Malopolska have lost many colonies. One experienced beekeeper tragically lost all his bees. It appears that Poland is reflecting the same declining state of bees found in much of Europe and America today.
Twenty years ago the average winter losses that a beekeeper could naturally expect was 10%. Over the past few years, it has risen to between 20-30%. Now beekeepers are also experiencing higher levels of colony and queen bee losses during the summer months. When winter and summer loss reports are combined, the figure is closer to 30-50% average, depending on the country.
As bees are responsible for the pollination of a third of the world’s vegetable, fruit, nut and herb crops, this information is sounding alarm bells from the point of view of the environment, food security and economy. Due to wide media reporting, most people today are aware of the decline of the honeybee and other species of wild bees that pollinate the countryside. ‘Colony Collapse disorder’ is a general term used to describe the sudden death of a family of bees, the cause of which has been broadly attributed to the use of agrochemicals in conventional farming, monocultures providing low nutrition, environmental stress, Varroa mite infestation and other increasingly transmittable viruses and diseases.
Beekeepers are able to replace dead hives, so there is no immediate threat to food security as such, but bees should not be dying in such numbers. The demise of the sensitive honey bee may be a precursor to the total collapse of the environment in the future. It is obvious that an urgent solution is required.
I am grateful to say that out of our 17 hives we lost only one family over the winter, and that was down to beekeeping error. But what our general experiences tell us is that here at our organic farm we are having amazing success with Homa Beekeeping. This success is being confirmed by other Homa beekeepers around the world.
In Homa beekeeping there is a major emphasis on healing the environment by using the ancient Vedic science of bio-resonance known as Homa Therapy. Nature is increasingly out of balance due to the high levels of pollution in the atmosphere, soil and water. This imbalance is being reflected not only in bee and insect numbers worldwide, but also in the declining populations of birds, frogs, butterflies etc. Homa Therapy is able to rejuvenate and restore the balance in nature by neutralizing the effects of pollution and creating a nutrient rich, highly energized environment.
The main process of Homa Therapy is the practice of Agnihotra, which is a method of purifying the atmosphere through a specially prepared fire performed daily at sunrise and sunset. According to the millennial knowledge of the Vedas, at sunrise there are many electricities and energies that flood the Earth at the point where the sun is said to rise. These life-sustaining forces can be used to neutralize pollution and radiation in the atmosphere, and consequently the soil and water.
With daily practice of this Vedic fire, a healing cycle is established. The central idea of Agnihotra is:
“You heal the atmosphere and the healed atmosphere heals you.”
The effects of Agnihotra can be further enhanced by other fires known as Yajnyas or Homas, and these make up the complete process of Homa Therapy. It has a tremendous beneficial effect on the environment, humans, animals and plants. With daily practice of Homa Therapy, diseases and plagues decrease, and gardens become lush with renewed vigour and vitality. A unique microclimate is created and wildlife, birds and beneficial insects are drawn to this rarefied atmosphere.
In Homa Beekeeping, therefore, we create the perfect landscape for bees to thrive.
We have observed that Homa bees have strong immune systems. This is due to various reasons. Firstly, the effects of Agnihotra radiate outwards up to around 1 kilometer, so bees are able to forage from high-quality flowers and trees free of harmful substances. Bees collect pollen and nectar from flowers and these can become toxic due to the use of herbicides, insecticides and fungicides in conventional farming. This, combined with atmospheric pollution, weakens the bees’ immune systems, leaving them susceptible to diseases. Tests on wax comb are showing higher levels of agrochemical buildup in the wax caused by foraging bees bringing in contaminated pollen and nectar. This creates an unhealthy environment within the hive and disrupts the beneficial microbe balance that bees need for optimum health.
Secondly, tests have shown that Agnihotra reduces the levels of pathogenic bacteria in the vicinity. In addition, the healing vibration of the Agnihotra fire is locked in the resultant ash and in Homa Beekeeping, this ash can be sprinkled around the beehives and entrances. Agnihotra ash can also be added to sources of water where bees drink. The ash and the vibrations created by Agnihotra fire have an energizing effect on the bees, making them strong and resistant to any disease that might occur.
The growing toxic environment within the hive is also one explanation why queen bees are dying more frequently. The other reason is probably due to unfavourable queen rearing techniques that are used commercially to breed maximum number of queens for sale. In our Homa apiary I have had experience with both bought queens and with our own naturally produced queens. Without a doubt, our own queens have been stronger and more successful.
Varroa mite is a huge problem in Poland, as it appears to be in most of Europe and the Americas today. This mite attaches itself to bees and brood, sucking their lymph and often spreading diseases and viruses. Varroa mite infestation is probably the primary cause of colony collapse. Although we still have problems with Varroa, I have observed with regular monitoring that there has been a noticeable decline in levels of infestation. Apart from the Varroa mite, we have never noticed any of the common bee diseases in our hives, such as nosema, dysentery, chalk brood or foulbrood.
Last summer we had wonderful weather that should have been ideal for bees. However, all the conventional beekeepers in our area were complaining about how the flowers weren’t producing nectar, resulting in very low honey harvests. We do not know the reasons for this, as there was no drought, but it seems to further demonstrate nature’s imbalance. They were surprised to hear that we had a very good honey harvest, even after leaving a fair amount for the bees to consume over winter. Thankfully, the flowers here must have been producing plentiful nectar in our Homa atmosphere.
Homa Therapy and additional Vedic techniques are also being applied by gardeners and farmers around the world with great success. However, good organic practices such as weed control, compost making, etc. are still needed to have a successful garden. In a similar way, for healthy bees, good organic bee-centric practices also go hand in hand with creating a Homa atmosphere. I have found beekeeping to be a constant learning curve with wonderful Aha!moments and tough lessons as I strive to put into practice more natural and bee-friendly methods. The bees themselves are the best teachers and Homa beekeeping should support as much as possible the natural tendencies of the hive.
There is a saying that if you ask two beekeepers the same question you’ll get three answers! This is because there are so many possible variations, philosophies and goals in beekeeping. Also some beekeepers are conservationists, preferring to leave the bees to do their own thing 100% percent, while others are maybe hobbyists, or some supplement their yearly income selling honey, and a few have full-scale commercial bee businesses. Each has slightly different needs and objectives.
At whatever level one keeps bees, I believe Homa Beekeeping practices can easily be incorporated to offer a solution to the problems affecting the honeybee. In return we get high quality, medicinal, organic honey, beeswax and propolis, plus our orchards and gardens are heavily pollinated.
The symbiotic relationship between bees and flowers is one of the miracles of creation, but I would not be surprised if bees were not more vital to the balance of nature in ways that we yet do not understand. Whether you keep bees or not, anyone from any walk of life can perform Agnihotra to help heal the environment and themselves.
Ecovillage Bhrugu Aranya is an international Homa farm community in the mountain region of southern Poland. Read about us and feel free to write us and visit!
Fundacja Terapia Homa – www.homatherapypoland.org (English/Polish)
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