The Beekeeper’s Companion Since 1861
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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor – June 2023

- June 1, 2023 - (excerpt)

Mixed messages confusing to new beekeepers

I am a new beekeeper who is very happy to receive and read your magazine. I am, however, unhappy at the lack of editorial guidance in the latest issue, March 2023.

You have an article by Fred Jones — “Natural Beekeeping: A Reckoning”— and an interview with Tom Seeley by Leo Sharashkin.

For new beekeepers like myself, who are trying to educate themselves, it is particularly daunting to read diametrically opposing views in the same issue and have no guidance as to what is true or false. Shouldn’t the editor side with one of the points of view, or at least let the reader know that certain points made are not accepted by all as established science?

Thank you for a very enjoyable magazine.

David Libchaber
New York City

Eugene responds:

Welcome to beekeeping, David, and to ABJ. You make a fair point about the conflicting articles. But as you’re probably learning if you’ve joined a local club, there are a lot of gray areas in what we do.

I do have my points of view, gleaned from both experience and education, and I would not be honest if I said my biases don’t have some effect on what articles go into the magazine, or how they are edited. But my job as Editor is to play it as straight as I can on issues that are not “accepted by all as established science” — while also being mindful of the fact that even “established science” can eventually fall out of favor.

To your point about “natural beekeeping,” there has been a healthy debate on the subject for some time. (That debate is complicated by the fact that the term itself is not well defined.) In fact, Jeremy Barnes replied to Mr. Jones’ “Reckoning” with “Natural Beekeeping: A Response” in our May issue. I can’t promise that it will clear things up for you, but it should provide more food for thought.


Thanks for reading,