We follow the three pillars of The Sweet Life Philosophy:
- Honour the Bees
- Organic is Beautiful
- Honour the Planet
Honour the Bees
A beeCentric approach means we listen to the bees. We study their behaviour, work to understand their biology, and analyze the influence of our actions as beekeepers.
Our goal is to get out of their way as much as possible, while doing what we can to make it easier for them to do their bee stuff.
One way we have done this is to redesign the bee hive to more closely meet the criteria that honeybees are known to look for when selecting their own homes in wild.
Organic is Beautiful
The techniques we use as beekeepers to keep our bees happy and healthy follow the following organic principles:
- While it's typical for beekeepers to use anti-biotics prophylactically, we have not needed to not use them at all.
- While it's typical for beekeepers to provide a plastic or industrial wax foundation to their bees to control comb building. We allow the bees to fully build their own combs.
- We prefer non-chemical approaches to controlling parasites such as breeding from resistant colonies. We use organic mite treatments only when necessary to maintain bee health.
- While it's common to for beekeepers to remove honey and provide their colonies with sugar syrup and pollen substitutes. We simply allow the bees to feed themselves. We harvest only when there is more honey in the hive than the bees need.
Honour the Planet
Our primary reason for keeping bees is to lower the foot print of our diet. To this end, we to continue to experiment with ways to minimize the environmental impact of beekeeping.
Originally, we were able to travel to our apiaries, and move honey using bicycles. We've produced thousands of pounds of honey without any use of fossil fuels. We continue to prioritize environmentally friendly travel and are seeking beekeeping opportunities closer to home to facilitate this. We will never practice migratory beekeeping.
Our hives are designed and built in a way that minimizes waste. For some components we've been able to use upcycled materials. We have used: offcuts from woodworkers, old printing press plates for roofing, burlap bags from coffee shops and left over saw dust to insulate, and paint that would otherwise end up in the waste stream (though we prefer testing out ways to avoid paint all together).
We try to remain cognisant that every ecosystem has it's carrying capacity. We seek out locations for hives with plenty of forage and maintain a small number of colonies at each site to avoid overburdening ecosystems.