Mr. Charles Mraz flew from his home in Vermont this week, intent on a special beekeeping project which brought him to Hawaii's Garden Island and to the Sivashram Monastery. Mr. Mraz arrived on Saturday, January 27th, in the company of Mr. Colonel Clair and two of his apiary field managers.
In the world of beekeeping, Mr. Mraz is a justifiably renowned authority. In bee breeding and genetics he ranks perhaps foremost in the world. Many beekeepers follow Mr. Mraz's monthly column in Gleanings in Bee Culture, titled "Siftings." A number of the details of the natural methodology followed in the beekeeping methods at Sivashram the last four years have had their source in Mr. Mraz's work.
The mission which brought Mr. Mraz to Hawaii for his first visit relates directly to beekeeping at the monastery. For several years the Saivite Sivanadiyar kept over 300 colonies of honey bees on Kauai to provide honey for the monasteries and, as a community service, to our island neighbors at prices below costly imports. Increased workloads in Siddhanta Press made it imperitive that we sell the bees and devote our fullest energies and time to the publications of the Church and the Academy.
The honey bees on Kauai are of special importance. Due to their almost complete isolation and to a massive attack of American Foul Brood which swept over the islands in the 1930's, they have developed and maintained a natural resistance to this devastating virus which costs American beekeepers tens of millions of dollars each year. Mr. Colonel Clair, head of the Hawaiian Beekeeper's Association and new owner of our colonies, realized the potential benefit of this resistance and has brought in Mr. Mraz to begin a queen-rearing operation on Kauai under expert direction. Once established, the Kauai-based breeding program would export queens to mainland beekeepers and bee breeders in an effort to counteract the 4 percent and higher loses experienced annually as a result of American foul brood.
Mr. Mraz noted in his meeting here that "I have been fighting this disease for forty-five years all over the world. It is caused in large measure by the unnatural ways that people keep bees - using drugs, feeding them white sugars, and breeding weaknesses into their strains and hybrids. If they would only watch Mother Nature, see how she keeps bees and follow that example 80% of their difficulties would be solved. But you can't get them to believe that. They always think more disease calls for more drugs and the problems are perpetuated. Just look at the bees here. The picture of health. Why? No drugs were used for many years. We think the bees here can help bee-keepers all over the nation. We plan to get started right away."
Among his other achievements, Mr. Mraz has pioneered the use of bee venom in America for use in fighting all forms of arthritis. For more than forty years he has run a small clinic in Middlebury, Vermont, studying and applying "apitherapy" or "bee venom therapy" with consistent success. Friends and members of the Church who suffer under the various forms of arthritis may find Mr. Mraz's clinic in Vermont helpful. You may write to Mr. Charles Mraz at Champlain Valley Apiaries, Box 127, Middlebury, Vermont 05753.