Natural Beekeeping

Top Bar ApiRevolution Has Begun! Lets Make Some Top Bar Hives and Let Them Bee 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 Human ignorance and greed!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Robbing

Lack of natural nectar sources will very likely trigger robbing. It is not just Honeybees robbing Honeybees but also Wasps and Bumblebees can be seen within the hive trying to rob the stored honey. We are experiencing an extremely dry season for the last few weeks. Without water flowers can't produce nectar. So even if there are flowers around one can't see any bees on them. Bees and Wasps need food to feed their growing population and if there is nothing to be found in the fields they turn to robbing other colonies. Robbing can also be expected in late Autumn when nectar sources become scarce. The only thing a beekeeper can do to minimize robbing is to reduce the entrance size. I have only one 30 mm hole on all my hives which could be sufficient for strong colonies but a bit too big for small colonies. I might start reducing the small colony entrances to just half the hole to reduce robbing. The smaller the entrance the better the bees can guard it. I have not observed full robbing attacks and hope not to see any. 
In this photo one can observe bees trying to evict/kill a Wasp
Here you can can see 3 bees trying to evict/kill a bee which doesn't belong to this hive and
is very likely there to rob some honey. I have observed at least 8 bees being attacked by
 the colony through the observation window

Friday, July 25, 2014

Foraging has turned into scavenging

I can see bee activity slowing down after the Thistles stopped blooming. It seems there is nothing mush left out there in this mono-crop agri-landscape.
Honey bee on Yarrow which is a poor source of nectar and pollen but better this than nothing
Once you see bees working flowers which aren't good sources of nectar and pollen foraging has turned into scavenging. They trying to squeeze all whats left in this locality.
Honey bee working a Tansy flower which is not rich in pollen nor nectar

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Drone Wars 2014 have begun

2 days ago I have seen many Drones in front of hive entrances not being allowed to re-enter the hives. This morning I have seen dead drones under the entrances on the ground which is a clear sign that Drones have been evicted in my colonies. Let me notice that this happened before the end of July which is not the case in most conventional hives because they suppress swarming impulse of their colonies and do drone culling and all sorts of manipulations which puts bee biology on hold, hence even drone eviction takes place later in the season. Its a known fact that Varroa prefers to breed within Drone cells. Less drone brood = less Varroa, naturally. So instead culling drone brood at the start of the season when bees need all their drones for mating with virgin queens, I let my bees evict drones after the swarming season is over.
By the way I have noticed a very interesting plant in a near by town which started blooming in late spring and is still blooming now end of July! :) The bees are working it with great enthusiasm :) I must find its ID and get some for our forest garden.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Danish Government is close to slaughtering their wild nature!

I went for a run the other day and decided to run a 6 km round. This is roughly the radius where my bees forage so it was a great opportunity to see what they can harvest in July now. The realization that there is nothing for them to actually forage in the sense of Honey Flow was frightening. Even though it was very hot out side I felt a sudden chill down my spine! "How can bees and other pollinators survive in such a dead environment.?" I asked my self. Pollinators can do nothing else but scavenge everything they can find in this highly agricultural environment. 
On this map you can see our small farm in the middle of the black circle which roughly represents a 2 km radius around my apiary. To the right you can see the near by town of Hårlev which has domestic flowers within households. All the red circles represent forests and fields which are not used for mono-crop agriculture of wheat, oat and canola. Not many grass fields and if there are some most are used for hay for the horses which has none white clover or dandelions. 

The forest parts are beneficial in the spring and start of summer but later nothing much except for honey dew to be found there. The hedgerows are far too poor to offer anything at this time. There are hardly any wild grass fields or  meadows except in our forest garden and in the red circle between our farm and the town to the right. There is one wild field to the left too but that is where another beekeeper keeps up to 12 hives so his bees sure take the most out of it. Apparently beekeepers here have problems with bees from other apiaries robbing their colonies. No wonder they do that since there is nothing much else to do to get ready for the winter. I now see why conventional beeks say "you must feed with sugar syrup for the winter". I also now see why they dislike swarming which leads to brood break at the time of Canola flowering. They don't want their bees to have this because this is the only time they can actually make some honey for them selves it seems. Very sad indeed.

Instead of trying to change the environment towards biodiversity we try to adapt to this mono-crop agriculture by feeding sugars and not letting bees express their own biological needs! 
Im not sure I can keep many colonies in this locality. Its time to seek for an out apiary somewhere where organic white clover grows.

I have read in the newspaper today an interesting article stating that "Danish Government is Slaughtering its Nature". So true once you see the fact with your own eyes. I mean for me it is easy to see how poor this environment looks since I have kept bees in parts of Sweden within a bio-diverse environment. 
From the article; " The wild nature in Denmark has way too little space and is starved by the intense use of pesticides and fertilizers. It is so bad that a large part of wild flowers and butterflies are disappearing. Denmark is in need for wild nature like never before", sais biologist Michael Stoltze.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Our Forest Garden will be called "Bee Sanctuary"

It is absolutely beautiful to see so many different pollinators congregating in our wild forest garden. This place must be an Oasis in this enormous mono-culture human created environment. I think it is time to call it a Bee Sanctuary;
Anthidium florentinum is a gorgeous Mason Bee which I have never seen before
Mason Bee and a Syrphid Fly
Various butterflies can be seen on Thistles
Various Bummblebees
Im not sure what this tall plant is but it has begun to bloom and
bees seem to like it.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bearding in July

It is mid of July and I see all of my colonies today bearding at the hives entrance. We had a few hot weeks with temperature up to 30'C which is very hot for Scandinavia and the nectar flow was good enough I would say. Since yesterday it is raining heavily. I went to the apiary when the rain stopped for a minute just to find bees on all all hives (except 2) bearding infront of the hive. I can also see ventilator bees at the entrance which is a positive indicator, meaning they are evaporating the nectar.

 Most of the bees hanging outside are with warn wings and with bold black thoraxes which indicates old forager bees. This can mean one thing; young bees can evict older foragers once the main honey flow is over (which can happen in July) and are keeping them outside to make more space for the nectar evaporation inside and to have less mouths to feed. Such old bees will die soon anyway.

 It is not windy so Im sure they are not protecting the entrance for that reason. Im almost certain this must be the eviction of older bees, but with bees one can never know.
Here you can see a slug trying to enter the hive but to no avail

Saturday, July 12, 2014

"Bee Group Mykorrhiza" visiting Che Guebee Apiary in Denmark

Today my bee ladies and I've got visitors from Sweden :) Our bee friends from the "Bee Group Mykorrhiza" came to see how we are doing! It was great to see some of them, pity not all could come but we hope to see the rest some time soon!
Of course we had to check few hives and see how the new swarms are settling in
One of the new swarms have lots of brood which is a great sign. Maybe
the brood pattern is a bit "shot gun" but this could be due to an old Queen.
... and after the hive inspections we continued to talk
about bees beside the BBQ ;)