Steiner gave these lectures to the workers at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland. Among the workers was a professional beekeeper, Mr Müller, who contributed to these lectures in the form of insights and questions. However, Mr Müller rebelled vehemently and showed no understanding when Steiner explained the intricacies of the queen bee, mentioning that the modern method of breeding queens (using the larvae of worker bees, a practice that had already been in use for about fifteen years) would have long-term detrimental effects, so grave that:
“A century later all breeding of bees will cease if only artificially produced bees are used (November 10). . . . It is quite correct that we can’t determine this today; it will have to be delayed until a later time. Let’s talk to each other again in one hundred years, Mr Müller, then we’ll see what kind of opinion you’ll have at that point”.
Seventy-five years have passed and the kind of queen breeding Steiner spoke of has not only continued, but has become the standard, and is now supplemented with instrumental insemination. What about the health of bees now?
· Honeybees are dying in those parts of the world, where these practices are common (USA, Canada, European countries);
· During a period of ten years, 75% of the beekeepers in Quebec, Canada vanished together with the bees (1987: 97,000 hives; 1997 only 30,000 hives);
· In 1997 many German beekeeping journals wrote, “Experts estimate the loss of colonies in Germany to be about 50%, some talk of 70%”;