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, April 29, 2015

The plant of generosity is in full bloom

Dandelion needs no insects to pollinate it. This is amazing for me because it provides pollinators with ample amounts of both pollen and nectar and it is of high quality. It sure is THE plant of Generosity :)  Its pollen has only 11% protein but has 15% fat and bees need both. The sugar % in nectar is all from 18-50% depending on weather and other conditions. Dandelion blooms also mark the preparation for a swarming season :)
 Dandelions blooming along the side of our young forest
Our forest garden with the apiary at the back
 Note the pollen ball on the bee's hind leg :)
 Even solitary bees and bumblebees as well as all sorts of flies and beetles can feed on its flowers
 Honeybee covered in dandelion pollen. Bees hairs are static and attract pollen, then the bee groom itself and collects it in the "basket" which is on their hind legs.
 Bee heaven
Here you can see the bees "tongue" (proboscis) sucking nectar.

The worst you can do at this time is mow your loan! I have seen my neighbor yesterday mowing all  the dandelions in his garden. Bees need all the flowers in this damaged eco-system they can find. We damaged it remember that! So make sure to leave at least those which exist :) And please do not spray RoundUp (or any other poisonous herbicide) onto the Dandelions! Thank you!

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.