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Getting started with natural beekeeping in zone 8/9

gardener & author
Posts: 2062
Location: Tasmania
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I've been reading "Keeping Bees with a Smile" and wondering what this way of beekeeping would look like here in Tasmania. Our climate is similar to the pacific northwest. I'm guessing we don't need as much insulation on beehives as is needed in Russia, but the bees would still benefit from some extra warmth.

Are there any other changes that would need to be made to the Lazutin hives to make them suited to this climate?

Are there any other considerations about timing of inspection and harvesting, and other things that would change in a different climate?

The native bees here don't produce much honey and I don't think they have the same habits as European honeybees, so if I catch a swarm it would probably be some European bees that have hopefully adapted to this climate and become resilient enough to go swarm and live without intervention.

There's lots of native flowering trees and shrubs here, and also plenty of foxglove growing wildly, along with my garden where I let lots of things go to seed. I wonder what other things I might plant to feed the bees?
Author & Beekeeper
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No matter what region/climate, #1 most important thing is to be working only with local stock of bees adapted to your conditions and with high level of disease resistance.  All other principles will still apply, too - including, importantly, refraining from any treatments so that natural selection can take its course and weed out the non-adapted colonies.  However, since queens mate in open flight miles away from their own hive, maintaining the local strain is something that can only be done in isolation (remote areas with no other beekeepers) or when all or most of the beekeepers within 5 miles of you use local stock.  The latter explains why natural beekeeping is a challenge in many areas - too much non-local genetics is being brought in every year, diluting the adaptation of even the local bees that are out there.
Given the moist climate of the Pacific Northwest, I would put the hive in full sun; make a roof overhang of at least 4" so it sheds water away from the hive box; and I would insulate my hive very well at the time on construction to prevent condensation on the inside walls and ceiling.  (If further "drying" is necessary, some beekeepers successfully attach a little "greenhouse" (enclosed porch covered with glass) to the south-facing front of the hive - like a solar drier - to preheat and dry the air before it enters the hive.
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