Natural Beekeeping

Top Bar ApiRevolution has begun! Lets make some Top Bar Hives and let them be pesticide free on their own natural comb! Che Guebee is a rebel bee fighting for the survival of the Biodiversity we all depend on and which is seriously endangered by deforestation and mono-crop agriculture!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Late winter forage and Bee Tea

The Spring is just around the corner and the "awakening" bees are already foraging what ever is available at this still cold time. We have planted 100 bulbs of each; Crocus, Snow Drops and Siberian Squill last year and Crocus and Snow Drops are blooming now.
 As soon the temperature was high enough for flying they were all over the Crocus. We will keep planting 100 bulbs of each plant every year. Our small homestead is to be a Bee Oasis.
 I have seen many bees sipping water from the exposed thread algae which was growing in our flooded filed. we had lots of water around fields this winter because it was so mild. When frosty then the water gets dispersed all over the environment instead.
Some beekeepers laugh at me when I say that bees drink herbal tea in form of dew drops from the plant leaves. As you can see here they sure are after something more than just water because I did provide them with water and there is near by pond as well. Im sure they get minerals this way.
Since my apiary is surrounded by heavy mono-crop agriculture heavily sprayed with pesticides I'm trying to provide to the bees some sort of dietary supplement which can help them get rid of pesticides (detoxification). I read a lot about Chaga mushroom which is only growing in very cold climates and is suppose to be a very good detoxifier according to Paul Stamets. 
At first I thought to give it to the bees in form of a tea mixed with sugar syrup but that is cheating them. I wanted to see if bees decide for them selves to actually take it in form of a cold infusion (not warmed). I just place a few chunks of Chaga into a bowl of water and let it brew. I saw a few bees showing interest in it yesterday. In this shot you see only one bee ready to fly off but it was drinking it. I will keep observing this bowl longer and update the blog as soon I know more.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Happy Ladies Day!

Today was the first day of the forage in 2015 and it happened to be on the 8th of March the Ladies Day :) Well happy 8 of march to all of you celebrating it) My Ladies sure are not wasting their time and are collecting all available nectar and pollen as well as propolis to start the party :))

Just to add to the video above; As soon the sun warmed the other hives which were in the shade they too started flying strongly and returned back to the hives with lots of pollen. So 6 hives have survived the winter treatment free. I am so happy for the survivor colonies that I totaly forgot about the 4 which died. Im not sure why so many beekeepers cling to their losses and talk little about their survivors ... The dead are dead, goners, went back into the great bundle of Energy to become something else. The live ones are there to carry on the strong genes, so rejoice :) Life at its best!

 Bees working Eranthis (winter aconite) note the yellow pollen

 Orange pollen is from the Snow Drops (Crocus has just started growing which also has orange pollen)
I see mostly yellow pollen but also mustard color pollen which comes from the Hazel trees. I have seen bees all over the Hazel tree but failed to make a good photo.
I have seen a few bees collecting propolis on the near by Spruce trees. Busy busy little bees indeed :)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The forming of the first official natural beekeeping group in Denmark

It has begun :) We have started forming the first official group for Natural Beekeeping in Top Bar Hives in Denmark. We will be part of the large organization called Praktisk Økologi (Practical Ecology) and will work under their banner because this will save us lots of time and efforts and we will be able to use their contacts and their web portal as well as other aspects. We now have 13 people but only 5 could come today for the first meeting. Soon to have a second meeting which Im looking forward to. I feel some serious Buzzing in the air :)  We still didn't decide on the groups name but More Buzz in the Garden is one of the suggestions. Stay tuned!

The end of Februray

Out of 10 colonies 6 are still alive and 4 have died most likely from Nosema by the signs of it (poo all over the combs and inner walls). Nosema is caused by some stressor and Im not sure what that is (guessing the pesticides and lack of bio-diverse forage in this agro environment). My colonies are treatment free.

Monday, February 9, 2015

3 colonies dead, 7 still going strong

Today was very warm, 7'C but it must have been warmer in the sun. Most of the colonies were flying except 3 hives so I decided to gently open up these hives and see whats up.
 After opening the first hive I heard no buzz, so I knew something was wrong. I removed all the combs and found dead bees all over the combs and hive floor. It was easy to see what happened here; the brown strokes on the hive wall is bee poo/feces and is a sure sign of a disease called Nosema. Healthy bees don't waste inside the hive but do so outside on sunny days, so called Cleansing Flights. The dead colonies are 2 last year swarms from my apiary and a split with the old queen.
Here is a close up of the bee feces (brown stuff)
Here you can see bee feces on the comb and some bees are sticking inside the combs which usually is sign of starvation but this is out of question because there is lots of capped honey just beside them and they sure had at least 6kg of stores left.
all 3 hives had the same issue with Nosema
 Dead bees clustering around a dead queen (can you see her)
Lots of stores left in these hive but I can cant give it to the other colonies because they are infected with Nosema spores. Pity really. Lets see if the other colonies can pull it off until the first spring blooms.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Proper Scandinavian Winter gives birth to strong colonies

 The December has turned snowy and very cold. Temperatures can go down to -11'C but apparently this will change soon and we will get back a more mild winter. I wish we had a normal freezing Scandinavian winter to help wipe out the weak colonies since last year there were no colony losses in Denmark thanks to the mild winter 2013.
 I just love to see hives covered in snow :) That snow acts as extra insulation
This is the magical view from the hives :) This is what bees see first when they exit the hives :) But behind this idyllic small forest garden of ours mono-crop fields stretch far and wide. Such forests are truly acting like Noah's Arks or like an Oasis surrounded by a desert. We need to plant more and to force our governments to protect more areas from pesticides, deforestation, urbanization and mono-crop agriculture.