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?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

(Non)Nature is changing my beekeeping

It is interesting how nature can influence change. I mean the nature is in constant change, it is its very nature after all. But in case of my beekeeping it is not the nature which is causing changes but the non-nature, the "nature" turned into mono-crops by our modern agriculture led by the idea of "progress".

As I already mentioned in my previous posts, it is not possible keeping bees naturally in an unnatural environment. Our flow lasts only from April to Jun and after that there is not much blooming. So if bees are let to follow their bio-clock and swarm as they should they will miss the opportunity to collect enough honey for the winter. I simply can't imagine feeding bees sugar (which cost money) and have no honey at all, not even for them. So I have to do something about it. I will have to super the hives to force the bees upwards so they delay the swarming and keep on making honey during the 3 month flow.

I have already started building supers for my nucleus top bar hives. I didn't know how tiring it is to build frames, oh boy! So many small operations to make a frame and so much more materials needed. Without a table saw there is only the option of buying ready made frames which are expensive in my opinion.
It took me several hours to build 12 frames; to cut the bars, cut the groves for the wax strips and to nail them together. And this is only for one super. I need frames for at least 16 supers :(


  1. After following your blog for about a year, I'm not a bit surprised by your ingenuity in solving your swarming/lack of honey issues. However, I'm curious why you would need frames in the super instead of just more top bars. Having come to know how you think through your posts, I cannot imagine that you will be using foundation in your frames, so I'm not sure why more top bars (maybe one or two with comb on them to entice the bees upward) wouldn't work just as well (and be less work to make). Or are you considering adding more than one super at a time (and therefore need the space between frames)?

    Also, I was wondering if you had ever considered simply using Warres.

    I'm sure you've researched this issue, so maybe you could write a post about your rationale. I think it would be really interesting to hear your thought process.


    1. Yes I am considering to add more then one super. My supers are only 12,5cm deep and bees will fill that in no time. I chose the very shallow supers because bees dont hesitate to go up into shallows but its known for them to hesitate with mediums and especially deeps. The flow season here is extremely short and I must be very effective. Hence shallows. I will never use foundations only wax strips to keep the comb straight. Yes, I will be building a Warre style hive but with the Danish size frame (12x10). This will help if I have to sell colonies locally since people here dont sell packages only last years established colonies on frames. So adapting to the locals and the frame size is very similar to that of Warre. I will not nadir the boxes because bees dont go down readily to fill them and all hesitation will lead to no honey for wintering. I will super those too and have a queen excluder on one bottom box so the queen can keep it filled with brood all the time. Like this the worker bees cant back-fill the brood nest which is the very trigger for early swarming. At the end of Jun I will do a shake down on empty comb and let them build fresh comb for the winter to reduce pesticide accumulation in the wax. Give them two shallows of stores for the winter and harvest the rest during the flow. This unnatural environment is dealing me a different set of cards so I must adapt.

  2. Thanks for your thoughts. It's fascinating how different locales have such different challenges to deal with. Good luck with the new system. Can't wait until next spring to hear the updates!

  3. You kind of think like Masanobu Fukuoka.