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How much less honey does 'natural beekeeping' produce?

 
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yes i did put the hive up near the end of june last year, --(-just posted the info up a month or so later -)--which according to the 3 local keepers i met was too late as they recon the swarms start in may  ,and june swarms are rare ---and too late for a good survival rate---but then i have been reading up a bit more and the irish black bees dont seem to read the same book of facts---like some of those  the experts are telling me---and they dont follow all the rules we have made---but i can only hope the swarm that has moved in  ,has a feel for the mixed up weather patterns---better than we have ----and will make it through the year ahead. Sorry the stuff out the bottle i was given says lemon oil---but its next to my lemon balm oil on the shelf ---i still think i may have doused the hive with lemon balm ---and then some artificial swarm lure---in the month of may. But my only regret is not being home when they moved in---would have been great to see a swarm on the move ---or would they have just gone in small groups at a time . I dont see or think of myself as a beekeeper now---just someone who has bees on the property ---luckily.
 
pollinator
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The last swarm I saw made me run for it! It was in flight coming over my field I noticed a buzzing first then the sky filled with flying bees, no idea where it stopped but it was pretty cool to look at but not from inside it! I will eventually get round to making a hive here, the barn is full of bits from old hives, but I'll probably go for something like a log hive, I'm not interested in the honey I just want the bees.
 
steward
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Skandi Rogers wrote:I will eventually get round to making a hive here, the barn is full of bits from old hives, but I'll probably go for something like a log hive, I'm not interested in the honey I just want the bees.



might as well use the parts you've got in the meantime. that a hive is built for honey harvest doesn't mean you have to harvest the honey. set what you've got up and see if anybody moves in. that certainly wouldn't prevent you from making a log hive later.
 
pollinator
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Skandi Rogers wrote:The last swarm I saw made me run for it! It was in flight coming over my field I noticed a buzzing first then the sky filled with flying bees, no idea where it stopped but it was pretty cool to look at but not from inside it! I will eventually get round to making a hive here, the barn is full of bits from old hives, but I'll probably go for something like a log hive, I'm not interested in the honey I just want the bees.



No need to be scared of bees swarming.

Here is a video from the weekend of me with my two year old watching a swarm settle.

 
pioneer
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Like Michael said, swarms are nothing to be afraid of. I've been right next to one of my hives when it swarmed. It was beautiful and I felt blessed to be there when it happened.
 
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Whenever I hear talk of natural beekeeping, I instantly think of the amazing research done by Dr. tom Seeley at Cornell University. He studied the conditions found in natural beehives, and developed a beekeeping methodology aimed at replicating these natural conditions.

In my view, that is the definition of natural beekeeping. Stuff like not using chemical treatments or preventing swarms, to me, is a given, since there is no one preventing swarms or throwing chemicals in the hive in the wild.

Here's a great article. https://www.naturalbeekeepingtrust.org/darwinian-beekeeping I intend to start trying to bee keep more like this. He even has recommendations for people who like the more conventional box hives - keep your bees in one deep super (box cavity around 42 liters), and if you want to harvest honey, use a queen excluder and a shallow super above that. Less honey? Yes. More in line with natural conditions of the wild hive? Also yes.
 
Michael Cox
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George Bastion wrote:Whenever I hear talk of natural beekeeping, I instantly think of the amazing research done by Dr. tom Seeley at Cornell University. He studied the conditions found in natural beehives, and developed a beekeeping methodology aimed at replicating these natural conditions.

In my view, that is the definition of natural beekeeping. Stuff like not using chemical treatments or preventing swarms, to me, is a given, since there is no one preventing swarms or throwing chemicals in the hive in the wild.

Here's a great article. https://www.naturalbeekeepingtrust.org/darwinian-beekeeping I intend to start trying to bee keep more like this. He even has recommendations for people who like the more conventional box hives - keep your bees in one deep super (box cavity around 42 liters), and if you want to harvest honey, use a queen excluder and a shallow super above that. Less honey? Yes. More in line with natural conditions of the wild hive? Also yes.



Important caveat regarding Seeley's (excellent) work.

He predominantly has studied bees in his climate region, and the mix of traits that they have selected for. What worked in his region may not work in others. For example small cavity sizes encourage more frequent swarming, which gives brood breaks. But at the same time smaller cavity sizes mean less potential to store honey for long cold winters. I prefer not to make assumptions/guess about what is better and just let natural selection take place. My main interventions along those lines are to breed from my most vigorous colonies each spring. Not those with lowest mite counts, but those which get up to strength most quickly.
 
George Bastion
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Very fair point. Context matters, and indeed, what is "natural" for a bee colony will change based on environment. The conditions he researched apply mainly to temperate and cold weather climates in line with North America and Europe. Not so much desert or anything like that.
 
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I never ended up doing anything about beekeeping because I live in a high density area and anywhere I think of putting a hive I find neighbours and pedestrians right near it.

If I ever move to a more rural area I still plan to use a Kenyan Top Bar Hive. It's not actually from Kenya, but was developed in the west and used in Kenya. They can look absolutely beautiful too. I found out about it through this website and was what inspired my starting this topic: https://www.beekeepingnaturally.com.au/natural-beekeeping/the-kenyan-top-bar-hive/
 
Michael Cox
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I checked two of my "natural" hives yesterday after two weeks away. They are packing in the honey. They filled two boxes each. One of them is now 5ft 6 high... need to get extracting.

Honey yield is so dependent on forage.
 
tony uljee
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helo Tim , could you go upwards with a hive ---like on the roof top---watched some program about city beekeepers and a young guy had several hives up on the flat roof about 3 stories off the ground--could only be accessed by bringing out a ladder but once up he had enough room to work around
 
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