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Johannes Wirz is a molecular biologist on the staff of the Research Laboratory at the Goetheanum, Switzerland. He edits the journal Elemente der Naturwissenschaft, and  is a co-founder of Ifgene, a scholarly network exploring the implications of genetic engineering. He is a board member of  Mellifera e.V. where his efforts are directed at developing criteria for beekeeping that do not include chemical attacks against the varroa mite.

Abstract(s) for Parallel Sessions

Lessons from the Hive

On my relationship with the bees

I relate to honeybees in three ways: 

First, they are a permanent source of magic and wonder some of which are unraveled by colleagues and friends in the scientific literature.

Second, my hives invite me to learn their language and wisdom from colony to heart. I create moments in my work where I expose myself with devotion and unbiased attention to warmth, odours and humming sound. I admire the warmth flowing out of the entrance hole as symbol of abundance, a gift to nature and man. The odours of a hive recall its entire biography - prominent "letters" tell about the recent forage activities; delicate ones tell stories of the months and years before. Sound: I connect to the heart of the colony in the winter cluster and to the giants of the hives in the summertime - feeling one with them.

Third, I feel connected to the spiritual level of my colonies when I think on the non-violent encounter between flower and forager bee, when I reflect on the fact that the activity of a single bee is service to her yet unborn sisters and that bees are beings of plentifulness - without which the future of nature and man would be at risk.

Johannes Wirz

Johannes Wirz

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