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! What kind of teaching have you got if you exclude nature?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Bird-proofing the Bait Hives

When setting up a swarm trap there is always a chance that birds might make a nest in it. So to avoid this I stapled chicken wire to the inside of the entrance;

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Landing Boards and New Apiary Location

After reading this thread on biobees forum I decided to make landing boards on all my hives. At first I thought landing boards being a bad thing since birds, toads and mice/rats can easily get to it and then cause damage to the colony but after a short contemplation I realised that feral colonies have "landing boards" in form of a tree bark. Just look at the Oak bark for example. Most tree hollows have a deep entrance which creates enough landing space.
I remember last year observing my two top bar hives and seeing many foragers falling down to the ground loaded with nectar. They could not land on the tiny entrance which was clogged with guard bees and reciever bees. Each time a forager bee falls down it needs time to recharge and rest before it can take off again. This ends in less honey for the colony . 
So I decided to make, not that large, landing boards so foragers have a better chance to enter the hives without falling to the ground.
Birch branch as a landing board

As mentioned before, our summer house is situated on the North side of a small hill and I had no other place but to place the hives as shown on the picture bellow.
But after talking to a few beekeepers I think Im in need of a new spot. All beeks (including my wife's father) told me that having hives on the north side of the hill is a bad idea. The only place on our property which gets enough sun is right behind the house which is facing South. The hives will be protetcted well from the north and west winds here.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

No Space in the Garage

The garage is jammed with bee hives. There is literaly no space to go around them. Even though I first planned to varnish the hives and then place them out doors, I had to move them out now because I need the garage for other projects. This will be a good chance to check if the roofs are leaking before bees move into them.
I still have to level the hives and dowse for actual position.

Sign Petition to Save The Bees Before 25th Feb

UK 'environment minister' looks like he will vote AGAINST a European ban on neonicotinoids!
Please sign this petition before the 25th February when EU will vote on Neonicotinoid ban. Save the bees, save our future! Thank you :)

David Cameron promised the British people ‘The Greenest Government Ever’. Yet we currently have Owen Paterson as DEFRA Secretary, who:
- It is reported will vote against proposed EU restrictions to the use of just 3 neonicotinoids, to ensure they are not used on crops attractive to bees(1). This is despite independent investigation into regulatory test standards and evidence from EFSA concluding that these chemicals put bees at risk.
- Has ignored the scientific evidence on badgers and TB, and plans to proceed with the cull, despite public opposition, and the fact the government’s own chief scientist has refused to back the killings(2).
- Has backed fracking despite widespread UK and overseas concern for the potential hazards of fracking (2)

We call on David Cameron to either ensure Owen Paterson revises his stance on these issues, and henceforth adapts a stance conducive to the election promise to be “The Greenest Government Ever”, or he should select a new Defra Secretary.

(3) Examples can be seen at:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Hinged Roof and a Nuc Stand

I have found very cheap hinges and decided to hinge all the hive roofs, and instead of lifting the roof I can simply open it like a door :)
very easy to open and close the hives, No lifting required :) Beekeeping is not ment to be heavy nor expensive ;)
Besides the hinges the roof is secured with an old rusty chain (I found in the bush) so it doesnt fall back
 I have made a stand for the nucleus hive ... very simple ... a few planks and a screw or two ;) The hive is not attached to the stand. The stand height is 80cm so no need for bending the back much.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Un-treated colonies surviving Varroa - Research

We document the ability of a population of honey bee colonies to survive in France without Varroa suppression measures. We compared the mortality of collected Varroa surviving bee (VSB) stock with that of miticide-treated Varroa-susceptible colonies. Varroa infestation did not induce mortality in the VSB colonies. Some of the original colonies survived more than 11 years without treatment and the average survival of the experimental colonies was 6.54 ± 0.25 years. Swarming was variable (41.50 ± 9.94%) depending on the year. Honey production was significantly higher (1.7 times) in treated than in VSB colonies. For the first time since Varroa invaded France, our results provide evidence that untreated local honey bee colonies can survive the mite, which may be the basis for integrated Varroa management.
Continue reading ...

Murder of the Honeybee

Monday, February 11, 2013

Wax Comb Guides for a Top Bar

Im making top bar comb guides by melting wax over a food grade cotton thread. I already used this method last year and the bees have built very streight comb on it.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Placing Beehives over Geopathic Lines

John Harding wrote a book called "An HOLISTIC Way In Saving The Honeybee" where he explains how his bees remain uneffected by Varroa mites or other diseases for the last 18 years or so, simply because he places his hives over the Geopathic Stress Lines.
The term Geopathic Stress refers to the adverse effects on health of electro-magnetic radiation coming from the earth . Scientific research, carried out mainly in Germany,has shown that some peoples' health is affected in a detrimental way by electromagnetic radiation coming from the earth itself where they live.

The most usual cause of geopathic stress is underground water, usually
an underground stream, flowing beneath a house. The water rapidly flowing through rock gives rise to an electrical field which can affect the health of those living above it.
Geopathic Lines maybe harmful for us but according to many net sources cats, wasps, owls, honeybees love these places as well as trees.

John finds these lines by using a very old method used world wide in many cultures to find underground water wells. It is called Dowsing and is carried out with a hazel/willow/apple Y-twig or with two L-shaped metal/copper wires/rods.

I tried dowsing with a Hazel rod but got no results at all. So I made L-shape metal wire rods.

I made sure Im very relaxed and not thinking much about how this works and if it is truer or not ... I just walked slowly and the rods would cross at certain spots which I would mark with a twig.
I approached dowsing with the same mind as when practicing Anapanasati meditation, not being lost in mind stories about dowsing but being grounded in the awareness of breathing and walking.

The result showed some sort of a grid pattern. I marked each spot with a stick and connected them with a rope. The lines go from NW-SE and NE-SW. Distance from each knot/crossing spot is 3.4-3.5 meters. I can clearly see an Ash trees line matching the NW-SE line.

The Nw-SE line is the one passing through our bed (thinking about moving the bed).
I re-tested the results several times and this time I feel confident about it. They each time showed the same spot

when starting dowsing the rods are placed streight ...
 the rods cross when they come above the Geopathic Line. This can be re-tested by walking from the oposite side.
Geophatic spots marked with branches and connected with a rope. Here one can see clearly the left line matching the line of the Ash trees in the forest behind. I will place the hives right above the crossing points. Hopefuly this will help bees fight parasites by raisng their energy level. It sure doesnt cost anything to try it :)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Naming the hives

Once you get passed 2 hives it gets difficult to communicate about the hives. I finished the roof on the last 4th KTBH and I find writing "the last 4th hive" irritating. I need to find a way to number the hives and after contemplating for a while I find that naming the hives CGB (Che GueBee) and then attaching a number to it makes perfect sense.
 CGB 4
CGB 2 & CGB 1

The nucleus hives will be named CGBN (Che GueBee Nucleus) and a number attached to it.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Che Guebee Apiary Comfrey Salve

After cutting lots of fire wood I felt pain in the right elbow. I could hardly lift anything with that arm. Google search named this condition "Tennis elbow".
So I researched a bit more and found that many use Comfrey salve to remedy this. So I ordered Comfrey Roots from, a bottle of organic olive oil and Lavender EO.

I have found a recipe on the net which resonated well with me (there are many recipes out there).
First one is to Infuse the Oil with Comfrey so I added approx 1 cup of Comfrey roots and 2 cups of olive oil into a metal jar I have for this purpose. I placed the jar into the oven and set the temperature to 90'Celsius and let it simmer for 3 hours (making sure to stir it every half an hour).
NOTE!!! I am using oven only because its winter! Otherwise it is much better (and more sustainable) to infuse the oil in the window sill exposed to sun for 2 weeks (turning the jar every day to mix the oil)
Once done seal the whole mixture through a cheescloth (I used an old T-shirt) and add non-treated bees wax to the hot oil and place it back into the oven until the bees wax melts (make sure to put the temperature down to 60'Celsius)- Once the bees wax is melted stir the whole mixture well. Place a termometer into the mixture and wait until the temp goes down to 40-50'Celsius and add 15 drops of Lavender essentiual oil. Stir well and pour into small containers. Place them in the fridge to keep them fresh.
Che Guebee Apiary Comfrey Salve with a touch of Lavender - I will apply it to my sore elbow twice a day until it doesnt hurt anymore. According to the reviews on the net the tennis elbow is healed after only 3 days. Will make sure to update this post.
 Comfrey is one of the most important plants in my opinion. It is great for making liquid fertiliser from its leaves and its flowers offer lots of nectar to bees and is great for healing many skin and bone problems. I already planted 5 Comfrey plants for the next year.