The Pfeiffer Center’s apiary of about 30 hives demonstrates how a sideline bee operation on a small, diversified farm can succeed following humane organic/biodynamic principles and practices. The bees also provide a key animal element to our biodynamic farm organism; support our vegetable production; and are central to our beekeeping workshops, children’s programs, and farm internship.
Pfeiffer Center beekeeper Bill Day has kept bees following biodynamic principles for more than fifteen years. He conducts beekeeping workshops for the Pfeiffer Center and at PASA’s annual winter conference. On a consulting basis, Bill revitalized the apiary at the Center for Discovery’s Thanksgiving Farm in Sullivan County, NY, training a new beekeeper there in the process.
Beekeeping has always been central to the work of the Pfeiffer Center. Our founding program director, Gunther Hauk, had been keeping bees according to biodynamic principles for more than twenty years when he arrived at the Pfeiffer Center in 1996. The Pfeiffer Center soon had a thriving apiary and became widely known for its pioneering workshops on natural beekeeping methods.
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 formic and oxalic acid treatments have since become essential alternatives to chemical miticide treatments.