Jacqueline Freeman continues with Paul on an excellent discussion about beekeeping in part three. The podcast begins with the story of how Jacqueline became included on the permaculture playing cards, 6 of diamonds (beekeeping). They discuss all the ins and outs of how that came together.
The bee hut and its history is then presented which Paul and Jacqueline both use. The placement of the hut is then covered in good detail. (pros and cons).
The setting up of an empty hive and then how to bait it is discussed as Jacqueline gives a wonderful explanation of the term "swarm", when referring to bees of course and how it may not be what everyone thinks (worth the listen for this alone). The bait can include lemongrass oil which smells like the pheromone of the queen and is often used with beehive "debris". Different types of hives are presented 1. Langstroth hive (vertical, flat roof) good for production and somewhat time consuming. (2) Warre hives (vertical, pitched roof, hut like) designed like a hollow tree and is very hands off. (3 )Top bar hives (trough like) are horizontal and are easy to take care but the hive has a fixed amount of space and can get "honey bound". (4) Tree hive where a natural tree or part of a tree is used or happens on its own naturally. The idea of using plastic and wax are presented as not good. "Queen Excluder" is discussed as well the role of the queen herself.
"Organic" beekeeping is discussed and numbers ranging from 30-120 of different kinds of toxic chemicals were found in the wax tested on some hives prompting Paul to say that he felt a 5 mile radius of organic everything (Yours and neighbors) is needed to produce organic honey but added he thinks that if permaculture and its principles were used he thinks this could be shortened to 300 feet for 1 hive. Jacqueline suggest that bees are travelers and are naturally curious/explorers but she encourages Paul to give it a go. They discuss how your neighbors affect your bee production greatly along with mold issues. Paul finishes this portion out with a description of his bee "hut".
Unless we are using wood from a clean site, we can't expect our wood not to leach chemicals as well. As natural as it may seem, toxic wood could be worse than food grade plastic.
I think the key to be as Holzer as possible with everything. I usually ask myself: What would Sepp do? I think about being a bear with a chainsaw, and then come up with a simple innovation that saves me a bunch of paper and instead uses a naturally occurring resource I can take from a locally abundant source or grow myself (though I'm in Sierra Nevada foothills...) That being said, I was planning on making a large top bar hive out of half a food grade plastic barrel as seen here: http://www.instructables.com/id/55-Gallon-Top-Bar-Barrel-Bee-Hive/?ALLSTEPS
Hence, I either use this barrel with possible gick OR I prepare wood & wait... feeling PW would say wait lol.
What about splits vs swarms? When I start seeing queen cells, I close some bees and queen cells and a few frames into a new box and reduce the swarm pressure that way. I confess it's selfish, but I've never had luck with swarm traps yet, and am one of those parents that never wants the kids to leave the nest.
At the same time, my splits do better than their parents overwintering despite their small size, so that "Sun on her face" idea may have truth to it.
I'm hoping for a trip to Michael Bush's "bee school" in Nebraska this summer if time and cash coincide. He's not as reverent as this, but is a big fan of the old ways and the ferals.
"It's an odd quirk of human nature that once a man has made up his mind to be a farmer, he wants to get into action quickly, irrespective of the dozen and one factors involved."--Haydn S. Pearson, "Success on the Small Farm"
I think the wax accumulates & concentrates toxins that the bees are picking up.
"What to do with the wax" is a good question but I think the answer was to use a warre hive which keeps moving the wax through so it doesn't concentrate toxins.
My project thread Agriculture collects solar energy two-dimensionally; but silviculture collects it three dimensionally.
Hey just wanted to say what a fantastic podcast series. I've been keeping bees for a couple of years now following the traditional method and have been thinking myself that there's got to be a better way.
In fact this year I developed a major allergy to bee venom and have to undergo a bee sting immunotherapy course, what's interesting about that is I wasn't able to open, look or manipulate the hive in any way for the best part of a whole season... When I was finally given the all clear and had a peep in my hive it was amazing, not only was there oodles of honey, but I've never seen the hive in such a good state, there was only one word to describe them powerful. They were fully expressing their beeness, and I suspect it was because I hadn't touched them for about 5 months.
You're definitely onto something here, feels to me it could be another Kickstarter video...?