Jürgen Küppers (Ed.): Development of beekeeping and its future. Bindingen: self-published 2018
Mankind in its arrogance, limited point of view, even stupidity has not yet exterminated the bee (and thus itself), but has already massively damaged it (and itself). Beekeepers have no influence on industrialized agriculture with monocultures and the use of pesticides, but can critically consider their own farming methods and, if necessary, make changes. Jürgen Küppers wants to encourage this in his book in order to secure the future of beekeeping. First, he gives an overview of the development of beekeeping and its different modes of operation. He shows alternatives to conventional beekeeping, which are more beneficial to bee health. “Being a beekeeper nowadays means being a doctor at the bee’s bedside. The goal of every good doctor should be to make the patient healthy again. Keeping him permanently on medication isn’t.” (p. 19f.) He describes the varroa mite as beekeeper trauma and introduces us to the pioneers of resistance breeding: Ed and Dee Lusby, Kirk Webster, John Kefuss, Ingemar Fries, Erik Österlund, Josef Koller, Paul Jungels. Juhani Lunden himself gives us an insight into his nearly 20 years of breeding work, enriched by quotes from his breeding diary. The ways of beekeeping in Finland, France and Armenia are presented, embedded in their respective scenic characteristics. Cameroon is an example of the profound effects of beekeeping in Africa on society as a whole: as a means against hunger, for health promotion and for landscape conservation, due to the associated reforestation. The establishment of Mongolian beekeeping is the merit of Ms Selenges, who has been researching and teaching for over 40 years. She managed to breed a bee that can withstand frost and drought as well as half a year of winter. For her bees are not purely a means of profit and she demands the urgently needed “reconciliation of man with nature” (p. 133). Beekeeping is also here a good possibility to add something essential to a meagre existence. “You see, these people, they’re poor, but they never cut down living trees, they just collect the dead wood for heating. Because they know how precious the forests that cover the hills are. If they disappear, the place will disappear. “Well, I think these people have a more developed sense than others, rough and noisy, who drive around in jeeps and even cut trees full of life indiscriminately.” (p. 133)
In his conclusion, the author and publisher also notes that long-term success is not possible without a change in society as a whole – away from mass consumption towards greater sustainability. Beekeeping today faces the greatest challenge in its history and this also offers the possibility of a complete reorientation. The way in the right direction always consists of single, and also of small steps. And the more beekeepers set off, the more joyful and pleasant the journey together becomes. With more careful editing, reading this booklet would be even more enjoyable and pleasant – and it would really be worthy of it!