Print and Internet Resources for Natural, No-Treatment Beekeeping


Image: Backwards Beekeepers.

Nassim Taleb invented the word “antifragile” to describe systems like beehives that benefit from adversity. Challenge bees with an invasive parasite such as Varoa mites and they’ll eventually figure out a strategy to deal with them. That is, unless we humans decide to prop up weak colonies with misguided interventions. Taleb says,

Crucially, if antifragility is the property of all those natural (and complex) systems that have survived, depriving these systems of volatility, randomness, and stressors will harm them. They will weaken, die, or blow up. We have been fragilizing the economy, our health, political life, education, almost everything . . . by suppressing randomness and volatility. Just as spending a month in bed . . .  leads to muscle atrophy, complex systems are weakened, even killed, when deprived of stressors. Much of our modern, structured, world has been harming us with top- down policies and contraptions (dubbed ‘Soviet- Harvard delusions’ in the book) which do precisely this: an insult to the antifragility of systems.

There’s not much information on antifragile beekeeping. To correct that, here’s a buzzing hive of natural no-treatment beekeeping resources for your consideration:

Web Resources


You’ll find a range of ideas in these books and websites particularly when it comes to hive types–everything from Langstroth boxes to top bar hives to hollowed out logs.  What matters more than the type of hive you use is having a long range view and a recognition that too much intervention leads to the sort of antifragility Taleb is concerned about.

Your local club or beekeeping association may or may not be open to natural techniques. It could be difficult, depending on where you live, to find a mentor. That’s why I put this list together.

Let me know if I left out any resources in the comments  . . .

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  1. I really like Michael Bush’s style.

    He also is the first to say that most of what is in his book can be found on his website. He is also a frequent commentor on the organic Yahoo group, and has even answered random emails.

    • Indeed–I forgot to note that the book is kind of a compendium of the website.

  2. Michael Bush answered an email from me last night within about 15 minutes. I’ve been frequenting his site for several months now. Thanks for posting some additional natural beekeeping resources.

  3. Great list of links. I’m starting a couple of no-treatment hives in April and a few of these are new to me.

    The Organically Managed Beekeeping Podcast has been very useful. It doesn’t seem to be currently in production but the existing episodes are a nice resource. (

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  5. Thank you for your list of resource material. Our county has recently formed the Scott County Beekeeping Association. I believe that I am the only natural beekeeper there. I am grateful for the information! I live in Tennessee near the Big Southfork River & Recreation Park, that runs through Tennessee & Kentucky. A beautiful place to bee, naturally!

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