Beekeeping has always been central to the work and mission of the Pfeiffer Center. Our first program director, Gunther Hauk, had been keeping bees according to biodynamic principles for more than twenty years when he arrived to start the Pfeiffer Center in 1996; the Pfeiffer Center soon had a thriving apiary and was widely known for its beekeeping workshops.
Besides an attitude of reverence and care for the bees consistent with biodynamic principles, Gunther also brought innovative techniques, then little known in the US, for addressing the varroa mite. The acids and essential oils were useful alternatives to the then-popular chemical miticides, which soon proved to be ineffective and harmful. More importantly, his work consistently aimed to strengthen the bees’ ability to coexist with the varroa mite and other threats – a holistic alternative to chasing “silver bullets” to eradicate one emerging threat after another.
Today, the Pfeiffer Center’s apiary is a sanctuary for the bees where holistic methods consistent with biodynamic principles are practiced and taught. All Pfeiffer Center interns have the opportunity to learn the craft of beekeeping, our popular twice-yearly workshops are a valuable source for information and approaches not widely available elsewhere, and many young visitors to the Pfeiffer Center first meet the bees in our children’s programs.