Davis Bee Sanctuary
Founded in Spring 2011 Located west of the Domes/south of the Orchard Park Apartments
Locally Sourced Honeybees (rescued swarms from Davis) Wood-Only Top-Bar Hives No-Treatment Beekeeping (No Sugar, Chemicals, or Essential Oil used) Allowing for Natural Selection Leading to Adapted Survivor Bees Solar Beeswax Melter Habitat, Food, and Water for 70 different native bee species in Davis Permaculture Demonstration Garden Water-Saving Hugelkultur Garden Beds Healing Herbs for Medicine Making and Soil-Building Workshops and Garden Parties Organized by the Collective Care of the Earth...Care of People...Redistribution of Surplus
The Davis Bee Sanctuary is a solution—a solution to the problems faced by the bees, and ultimately faced by ourselves. It was conceived by members of the Davis Bee Collective and Davis Bee Charmers in 2011 with the intention of fostering a community of people willing to create a more harmonious relationship with our friends, the bees (honeybees and 60 other Davis bee species!).
For so many years—100 million in fact!—the honeybee-ing thrived on its own, building its beautiful hexagonally patterned homes in trees for the most part while collecting pollen, nectar, propolis, and water, while performing an astonishing service to the diversity of life on this planet through their pollination of flowering plants. It is true our very lives depend on beekeeping — about a third of the food we eat (most vegetables, nuts, and fruits, as well as all the dairy—think alfalfa!) would not be available without the services of the honeybee.
In the last 100 years, in conjunction with the rise of industrial agriculture, the honeybee has been treated as a honey-making-and-monoculture-farm-pollinating machine, to the point that one person will "manage" 60,000 hives, trucking them over several thousand miles per year to farms with only one type of nectar, robbing them of honey and feeding them sugar water, dousing them with more and more "treatments" such as miticides to control the varroa mite (in effect creating supermites), and queen breeding for docile traits to the point there is little genetic diversity left — Rudolf Steiner predicted in 1923 that if humanity continued to cultivate the honeybees by artificial means, we would, within eighty years, witness the mass disappearance of the bees. His prediction has come true. In 2006, Colony Collapse Disorder, which continues to this day to wipe out colonies all over the world, has awakened the consciousness of people all over the world to rethink our relationship with the bees.
As demonstrated by the film "Queen of the Sun", there are natural and biodynamic beekeepers all over the world creating bee sanctuaries and helping us to heal our relationship with the bees! Be part of the solution and get involved with your local beekeeping group; for those in Davis, that would be the Davis Bee Collective!
The Bee Sanctuary provides a place for members of the Davis Bee Collective to keep bees safely using no chemicals or treatments. Inspired by Serge Labesque in Sacramento, the following principles provide an easy basis for keeping bees naturally:
-making the bee species an overarching priority over any single hive
-not to interfere with the process of natural selection
-using bees from the local population
It includes a large permaculture designed labyrinth shaped, nectar/pollen providing flower garden to demonstrate the best plants to help our pollinator friends. It provides habitat for some of the 70 native bee species that call Davis home. Here's a more thorough list of what you can expect to find there:
Several observation (with windows you can look into) top bar honeybee hives managed naturally, "treatment free" by members of the Davis Bee Collective
Native bee habitat for some of Davis' 70 native bee species
Solar Wax Melter for purifying beeswax from hives for use in making healing medicine balms and candles
Shared Beekeeping equipment and materials for maintaining the gardens and site
CA native flower garden with year-round blooming times to provide bees with nectar and pollen throughout the year
Demonstration of permaculture gardening techniques such as "hugelkultur" (for irrigation free gardening!)
Medicinal herbs throughout
Shady rest areas for the hot summer days
Biointensive Compost piles
Curvy labyrinth walkways
Peach, Almond, Quince trees, raspberry and blackberry bushes
To those sensitive to bees and for everyone's reference, please note we have a First Aid box mounted on a tree at the entrance to the apiary with an antihistamine packet (to help with inflammation should you ever get stung). Please keep that in mind and share with anyone you see in that area. People allergic to bee venom should carry an epi-pen at all times. We have designed the gardens to have flowering shrubs and perennials that will direct the bees up and over...these plants are still getting established.
Though the Bee Sanctuary bees are friendly, here are some suggestions should you not want to attract bees to you:
Wear lighter colored clothing
Avoid wearing perfumes or strong scents,
Never eat bananas around bees
Calm your mind with mindful breathing
If you are opening up a bee hive, make sure your awareness is with the bees — they are amazing!
THE GRAND OPENING CEREMONY WAS HELD SATURDAY MARCH 31st with over a hundred attendees!,...please join the Bee Collective google group" to stay up to date on the latest workshops and parties and other bee related events. Many newspapers in the area and several area radio shows covered the opening ceremony. Aggie article" "bug blog article"
Resources shared at this apiary include beekeeping equipment, beekeeping suits, extractors, jars, books, and smoker materials, so the usually expensive hobby of keeping bees can be affordable to all. In January 2011, members of the Davis Bee Collective and Davis Bee Charmers hosted a workshop to build top bar hives from scratch...the cost was under $40 for a hive...other materials needed to maintain the hives is shared and free to use at the apiary. Many of these hives are occupied by bees at the Bee Sanctuary.
The Bee Sanctuary provides an ideal opportunity for students and Davis residents to learn how to keep bees...no prior experience is necessary, just a passion to learn. Every week through the spring and summer, there are Sunday 11-4pm workparties (or other days announced to the Bee Collective google group") to tend to the apiary and the flower garden. People who keep hives there take care of the apiary. If you are a student graduating and leaving town, we can make sure to find someone new to adopt the hive...this is a place of learning and many are interested to learn the craft.