Beekeeping using Natural Bee Husbandry

Objectives

· Our primary interest is in assisting the bee to survive and thrive as a wild creature rather than manipulating and controlling its behaviour to produce maximum honey.

· Bee-centric beekeeping can be practised in all types of hives including framed hives, top-bar hives, skeps and logs/tree trunks. Management interventions are carried out after observation and  by the behaviour of the bees and not performed as a routine activity.

The principles

· Natural beekeeping covers a wide spectrum of practices but basically will involve non or minimal intervention into the Bee’s nest environment.

· Minimize intrusion into the hive; this is disruptive, damaging and stressful.

· Allow bees to replace their own queens by supersedure or swarming and reproduce at their own impulse

· Allow bees to make their own comb using their own unpolluted wax with cell sizes of their own choosing and to raise as many drones as they  wish

· Avoid using pesticide treatments and medications. Chemicals, damage bees, kill beneficial microorganisms and disrupt the chemical balance  in the nest. Their continued use will result in more virulent pathogens and will also delay the honeybee’s adaptation and resistance to those pathogens and pests.

· Leave sufficient honey for colonies to sustain themselves through winter and periods of potential famine. We do not routinely feed sugar which impairs the immune system.

· Enable the colony to retain the pheromones and warmth in the nest environment; to optimize brood-nest conditions

We aim to:

· Work with local native or near-native bees, which have survived natural selection and adapted to local weather and forage. These bees will  have good potential to adapt resistance to  pathogens and pests. Wild honeybees will already have developed resistance to varroa.

· Maintain a density of colonies appropriate to local forage conditions.

· Maintain strong colonies.

· We seek to educate beekeepers about the needs of the Bee. The study of wild bee colonies, regular observation at the hive entrance, as well  as talking to experienced beekeepers, will enable one to learn and understand different behaviour and recognize the health and development of the colony.

· Provide a well-insulated hive made from a range of natural chemical-free materials.

· Treat the bee colony as a single, complete organism. The super organism is not a box of parts to be swapped between different hives.

· Work with nature to provide a range of bee and insect friendly forage plants.

Who are we?

We are an integral part of the Andover Beekeepers Association meeting regularly, participating in the training programme, especially for beginners but then offering alternative apiary visits and experiences allowing beekeepers to formulate and establish their own ways of beekeeping.

John Haverson                                                                                                                                                                   February 2022

 

Useful Links::

http://www.naturalbeekeepingtrust.org/ Sustainable beekeeping determined by the Essential Needs of The Bee

http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm The Practical Beekeeper Beekeeping Naturally

http://gaiabees.com  Finding new ways of Living with Bees

http://hampshire.naturalbees.net/ Promoting the Health of Bees

http://www.bee-friendly.co.uk/   David Heaf’s Warré Beekeeping