Natural Beekeeping

Top Bar ApiRevolution has begun! Lets make some inexpensive 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!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Danish farmer spraying Oil Seed Rape which is in Bloom !!!

This morning I've got a headache after I saw the local farmer spraying his Canola fields which are in full bloom! I still have a headache as I write this and I think its a migraine because I feel like puking too.
I stopped him and talked to him telling him that I have bees in this locality and that regulations state that all spraying is to take place after 21h when bees are in the hives and not in the morning hours when bees are already in the field. He said this maybe the case in Sweden but in Denmark its legal to spray this pesticide-fungicide mix in the morning because it is marked as "bee-friendly". He is not an organic farmer so bee-friendly is questionable! 

He also reacted insulted for me even bringing this up because he isn't doing anything illegal yet I sound as if this was wrong  Rolling Eyes  Sad 
I suggested that he maybe sprays in the future in the evening but he refused because he has lots to do and he can't possibly spray all his fields in the evening hours. So we parted without saying good buy to each other. 

I will contact the minister for the environment Monday and see what the story is with regulations and what they can do to protect our native and honeybees from such issues. 

I placed "trays" infront of my hives to see if bees are acting poisoned today, so far I can' see any strange behaviour, but this means nothing because this food they bring in in form of pollen and necatr will be fed to brood which might get infections or be weak to deal with Varroa virus.

By the way he didnt want to say what pesticide he was using hejust said its a mix of insecticide and fungicide and its marked as bee friendly 
If I discover dead bees infront of the hive I will send them for testing.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The plant of generosity is in full bloom

Dandelion needs no insects to pollinate it. This is amazing for me because it provides pollinators with ample amounts of both pollen and nectar and it is of high quality. It sure is THE plant of Generosity :)  Its pollen has only 11% protein but has 15% fat and bees need both. The sugar % in nectar is all from 18-50% depending on weather and other conditions. Dandelion blooms also mark the preparation for a swarming season :)
 Dandelions blooming along the side of our young forest
Our forest garden with the apiary at the back
 Note the pollen ball on the bee's hind leg :)
 Even solitary bees and bumblebees as well as all sorts of flies and beetles can feed on its flowers
 Honeybee covered in dandelion pollen. Bees hairs are static and attract pollen, then the bee groom itself and collects it in the "basket" which is on their hind legs.
 Bee heaven
Here you can see the bees "tongue" (proboscis) sucking nectar.

The worst you can do at this time is mow your loan! I have seen my neighbor yesterday mowing all  the dandelions in his garden. Bees need all the flowers in this damaged eco-system they can find. We damaged it remember that! So make sure to leave at least those which exist :) And please do not spray RoundUp (or any other poisonous herbicide) onto the Dandelions! Thank you!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Spring blooms and deadly pesticides - Aroma of the Danish countryside

Mmmm, such a great weather these days in the Danish countryside. Newly opened flowers of Mirabelle, Willow and Dandelions are basking in the sunlight spreading their lovely aroma. Buzz of the bees spreads through the air accompanied by the light breeze. Idyllic!
Honeybee collecting willow nectar
Dandelions offer ample amounts of pollen and nectar. The air smells of Mirabelle blooms, mmm ... but wait! Something also stinks around here ... 
Farmers are out spraying their mono-crop fields with all sorts of poisonous stuff. I took this photo from our window because I did not dare to get out of the house. The smell of the pesticides/fungicides is very pungent. What a great country life, nature and all ...
My bees are inside our forest garden, protected from pesticides drifting into hives but they are far from safe because bees fly inside a 4km radius. 
Conventional beekeepers say that beekeeping is so much fun ... I am yet to experience that because all I see is what bees are showing me and that is how we humans are killing the very nature we all depend on :( 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Supering the short Top Bar Hives

The Mirabelle Plums are in bloom and even the Dandelions are beginning to bloom here so I decided to super my short top bar hives. I wouldn't do this so early if the supering method I use isn't bee-friendly though. In convetional hives you place an empty box on top of the whole colony so all heat goes up. In my hives there are only two slits which lead into the upper box. This helps the bees with containing the warmth alot in the top bar hive body. I have placed a small/narrow queen excluder to make sure the queen only lays in the top bar hive. All the shallow frames have a 2cm wax guide made from wax foundation so they can fill the frames with their own natural comb. By the way I supered only 3 hives, 2 with 2 shallows and 1 with 1 shallow box. The other colonies need to build up and will be used to make splits in Jun if they get strong. Lets see how this will work.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

No pollen No brood

It matters little that bees cant even collect enough pollen to last them through the winter in this, by human hand, damaged eco-system. Whats important for us is to have a new car, fancy clothes and entertainment of all sorts who cares about bees right!?

Out of 6 survivor colonies I see 2 flying very little indicating they are weak in numbers. Since today was 20'C I decided to quickly inspect and see if they are queen right and if they have any brood. Both colonies had a fine queen but no brood nor eggs. I know one queen is from 2012 since she was the one that came with the first colony I bought from a local beekeeper and he clips wings. The other queen was from a split so I assume she is still the same one. These colonies had brood last year. I looked closer into the combs and found no old pollen which colonies usually have stored from the last year. They need this pollen to start raising brood from February/March depending on how cold/warm the weather is. Without this pollen they can only sit ducks and wait for the first pollen flow in the spring which is now. I could see a few cells with new fresh willow pollen but this needs to be fermented first and the more they wait the more old worker bees will die and the colony will dwindle. They do have enough honey stores though which is good.
Willow blooming (male flowers offer pollen). We have lots of willows on our Willow Farm ;) surprise surprise

As soon dandelions start blooming I will shake some house bees from the strong colonies to help them out since they are valuable treatment free survivors and that old queen might make at lest one more split before she gets super-seeded by her own bees.

Female willow flowers offer nectar
Foragers bringing home freshly collected willow pollen
busy bees
I have sown one more acre with white clover and a huge patch with Borage, Calendula and tomorrow will sow lots of Phacelia to help out my ladies with pesticide free food in this dead Danish eco-system. Its very strange to me that Danish people try to create biodiverse cities and towns to save the nature yet the very country side which should be The Nature is being plundered and poisoned by mono-crop agri-business (cry and roll eyes). The country side smells of chemical warfare this spring instead of flowers.

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 :)