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!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Mushrooms Can Save the Bees! Save the Forests!

This might be one of the most important video I watched. Another would be Back to Eden which is a documentary about wood chip gardening.
I have never heard before of how Mycorrhiza can help the bees combat viruses but I was not surprised when I heard about it in this video. Mycorrhiza can transform deserts into forests (Green Gold) so why not help the bees ;) Bees need wild biodiverse nature to thrive and so do we. Please do see this video, it will be the best 30 minutes spent I promise!

Monday, November 10, 2014

New table saw and building supers with frames for TBHs

I just realized that I haven't blogged about my new toy :) I've got a new Bosch PTS-10 table saw which can be used for ripping and cutting. It really is multi-functional! I am so happy I've got this present for my 40th birthday! Well my b-day is in January so I've got it early. My wife asked me if I want something special for the birthday present and I couldn't think of anything better than this! Now I can easily build new hives and what not!

So I have started building shallow frames and supers for my nucleus top bar hives. I plan to focus on the short nectar flow we have from April to Jun and supers will force the bees upwards during that time. Once the flow is over the supers will be removed and the bees will focus only on the top bar hive body. After that I will very likely let them swarm or/and do splits.
 I have opted for shallow supers which are only 12,5cm tall. It is a coincidence that Langstroth frames fit lengthwise into these.
 Shot from above shows the 24mm top bars in the hive body with a queen excluder on top
 I can place 12 frames into these supers
This queen excluder is too small for this hive and will be used in my 8 frame vertical hives. I will need to buy a few new queen excluders for my TBH nucs. 

There is more to it than just working the hives

Most people think of honey production when they think of beekeepers. But I feel there is more to it than just working the hives. Beekeepers, at least those who consider them selves as natural beekeepers are not only managing their hives naturally but they also manage and look after the environment. They use no pesticides and encourage others to stop using them. They favor biodiversity over mono-crop agriculture and they always, year in year out, plant new bee friendly trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants. Such beekeepers understand that Nature is bees external metabolism and without it they simply cant make it. It is of the utmost importance for beekeepers to learn not just about beekeeping but also about bee-friendly gardening especially so in areas where mono-crop agriculture is killing the biodiversity!

I have got a call yesterday from a local beekeeper telling me that he is about to remove some of the young trees from his land and if I would like to plant them on my farm. We talked about it earlier this year that I plan to plant heavily for the bees. Of course I was very happy to say YES :))

 I've got 4 Linden trees which I planted beside the main road. I mulched them heavily with wood chips.
 He gave me 18 Acacia (Black Locust) trees :) boy oh boy will my ladies be happy once these start blooming !
I also got 30 Hawthorn trees, 6 Horse chestnuts and a few small leaved Maples. I decided to plant the Hawthorn along this incomplete hedge which is separating my land from the conventional mono-crop agriculture behind.
Don't worry my dear ladies, I am planting a lot for you. Next Spring I will plant all sorts of bee friendly herbaceous plants. Next year this farm will provide lots of organic pollen and nectar for you. Cluster tight and keep warm.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

I do understand conventional beekeepers

I am observing my bees daily and some of the hives are evicting many bees with deformed wings. Some bees even have a living Varroa mite on their backs;
It seems to me that the bees are not only evicting their sisters with the deformed wing virus but also the Varroa mites stuck to their back, which will result in many Varroa gone from the hive.
I do understand those who treat their bees, I really do. I mean my heart is not made of stone you know :) I too feel the impulse to "help my bees" and treat them with some organic acid against this beast sucking on them. But I also feel that saving those weak colonies which can't co-adapt with Varroa, will only weaken the gene pool for the next generations. Their Drones might mate with future virgin queens and what will happen then?! Isn't it better to let nature vanish those who cant make it and  excel those who can? I think so. Nature has been doing it for so long and I feel we must respect that. Besides pesticides and mono-crop agriculture, breeding weak genes is a serious issue for the bees. We must find a way and energy to reform all 3 aspects mentioned.
But not all sounds gloomy in Che Guebee Apiary :) Some hives are flying strong even now and I see not many bees with DWV being evicted. Now this might be a good sign or ... a bad sign. The winter will decide and I will see next Spring which of them have proven to be worthy to pollinate Nature and spread their genes next year.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Honeybee thermo-videos in winter and summer + Homeostasis

In this video you can see how bee heat the cluster. You can also notice that the ambient temperature goes down to -15'C demonstarting clearly that bees DO NOT heat the hive it self but the wax comb within the cluster. Wax comb is great at retaining heat which radiates back at the bees. Smart indeed.



In the second video you will see the bees in summer



You can read about this German study here;
http://mietz.imkerforum.de/the_idea.html

Another interesting study on Homeostasis - Humidity and Water Relations in Apis mellifera