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One of the heroes of the bee world is a Buddhist beekeeper in Vermont, Kirk Webster. “When the mites hit the bees big-time in the nineties, and people started putting chemicals in the hives, Webster decided that wasn’t the way to go,” says Jacobsen. “He let most of his bees die, and he took the survivors, bred them with each other, and introduced hardy Russian bees into the hive. But to do this he went without an income for a decade. He lives simply. And he developed bees largely resistant to mites.” Webster, known as the Bee Mystic, sees the mite problem as nature’s way to root out the weaker bees—think survival of the fittest. But letting nature take its course as Webster did requires patience, something industrial beekeepers lack. Their mantra is profits; patience is costly. Treat the bees with respect, however, and you get prosperous, healthy hives, and lots of nutrient-rich honey. Which is what Jacobsen himself is doing on his few acres of undeveloped land in Vermont. He got some bees from Webster and let them do their own thing, starting with building their own hives, which are not the rectangular boxes that the industrial apiaries use, but V-shaped. Organic. Not stackable. Not conducive to being trucked around the country.