What is Natural Beekeeping?


 

 
Natural or Bee-centric beekeeping is basically about providing a near-natural environment for bees and allowing colonies to control their own activity as they would in nature; interfering with them as little as possible. 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.

We encourage the use of bee-friendly hives based on the parameters of a cavity they would select in the wild. A number of hive types will suffice, but it is the husbandry which is most important.

The general principles of our Bee-centric or near-natural beekeeping are:

·                     Provide a hive made of natural chemical-free materials.
·                     Work with local native or near-native bees, which have survived Natural     Selection and adapted to local weather and forage and have adapted or have good potential to adapt to pathogens.
·                     Treat the bee colony as a single, complete organism, not a box of parts.
·                     Respect the natural processes of the Bees.
·                     Enable the colony to retain the scent and warmth in the nest environment.
·                     Minimize disruptive intrusion into the hive.
·                     Allow bees to make their own comb with cell size of their own choosing.
·                     Allow bees to replace their own queens by supersedure or swarming and reproduce at their own impulse.
·                     Leave colonies with sufficient of their own honey to sustain themselves through winter and periods of dearth.
·                     Ensure that the density of colonies is appropriate to local forage conditions.
·                     Avoid pesticide treatments and medications. Chemicals disrupt the balance in the nest and delay the development of adaptation and resistance to pathogens.
 

Rather than follow a method and standard operating procedures, we seek to educate beekeepers about the needs of the Bee. 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. Management interventions are informed by the behaviour of the bees.
 
John Haverson                                                                December 2016