Books, workshops look at holistic approach to keeping bees

Albert Einstein once said that if the world's bee population were to die out, humans would be extinct four years later.

That's why beekeeper Werner Gysi is on a mission to save the bees, and he's doing it through books and workshops promoting a chemical-free way to keep bees and homestead.

"We need to care for the bees. They are a link in our food chain and our food chain is about 30 per cent dependent on that insect in direct ways," Werner said during a phone interview from his home in Salmon Arm.

"If we don't have the bees we won't have the food or the food will be expensive because it will have to be brought in from somewhere else."

Gysi gives a workshop on holistic beekeeping Wednesday at the seniors' activity centre in the Brock Shopping Centre from 10 a.m. to noon.

Bees pollinate berries, fruit and almond crops, which play a crucial role within the food chain. Gysi said the bee's greatest enemies are pesticides and other chemicals that homeowners and homesteaders use to kill dandelions and other invasive weeds.

Beekeepers shouldn't keep bees near areas where heavy spraying is going on, he said. Treating bees with antibiotics and chemicals to protect them from diseases has proven harmful to the insect.

Combine the chemical treatment with pesticide spraying, and bees don't stand much of a chance, said Gysi.

"We've seen big losses over the last five years that's just not bearable," said Gysi. "The bees just disappear."

Gysi is a retired teacher and electrical engineer who emigrated to Canada from Switzerland in 1981. He's also an avid beekeeper who recently published the book Harmonic Farming: Bees, a follow up to his previous book Harmonic Farming: Homesteading.

For more information on Gysi, go to

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