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!

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 :)

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.