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Thursday, May 31st at 9am US PDT (16:00 UTC) with Gaia U Associates Carolina Winter and Mona Speth

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Honey bees play a crucial role in the human food-chain. In a time of industrial agriculture, monocultures and pesticides, many pollinators are in danger of becoming extinct. In this context we want to ask what we can do to support honey bees to recover and to develop resilient populations.

Today one of the major threats for honey bee populations and a huge challenge for bee-keepers is the ecto-parasitic mite Varroa destructor. In the 80‘s this mite began to spread from Asia to Europe, Africa and the Americas following the globalization. In many industrialized countries, the response was strict treatment to „save the bees“ – resulting in an ever increasing dependency of the bee populations on bee-keepers.

In contrary, in regions where bees were mostly left by themselves, they quickly recovered and developed a resiliency. What is different in the living habitat of wild, “resistant” populations and what can we learn from them? What is our role and responsibility to support honey bees in the presence of the Varroa mite and other complex challenges?

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Carolina Winter is a Bachelor associate of Gaia University in her second year. She lives in a tiny house in Austria with her little daughter and her boyfriend, developing a Permaculture garden. She has studied and worked with “resistant bees” in the Permaculture Garden Steyerberg and is now starting her own apiary in Austria. She is part of the network “Blühende Landschaft” which contributes to the blossoming of landscapes.

Mona Speth is a Permaculture-Diploma associate of Gaia University from Southern Germany. She has grown up with bees and bee-keeping and as a teenager she founded an educational bee-keeping project with children that she facilitates until now. As part of her Permaculture Diploma program she redesigned the apiary on her family’s land in France where she will work with a local bee species towards a resilient system.

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