Twenty years ago, Neil Rusch — then a commercial beekeeper — sold his apiary of 130 hives. For a decade the bees had provided pollination services to the Western Cape deciduous fruit-growing industry, producing several tonnes of honey per season. But Rusch had become “disillusioned with what the agricultural industry imposed on bees — the regime of poison and mechanical operations”. His decision left a hive-shaped hole. But it was also this void that birthed Rusch’s unique agave log hive, inspired by tree beekeeping and sculptor Guenther Muncke’s sun hive. Rusch was looking for a more natural form of beekeeping “when the agave log hive presented itself as an ideal solution”.. Rusch has been drawn to bees ever since he first saw them streaming into a rock cavity where they had a nest. In his “Honey Song” paper, Rusch writes that while bees have preferences, they will “exploit all sorts of situations”. They have been known to make their hives in abandoned termite nests, burrows of aar...

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