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Natural Methods for Keeping Honey Bees . Sources. Gunther Hauk - “Toward Saving the Honeybee” (featured in “The Queen of the Sun”) Abbé Emil Warré – “Beekeeping for All” Ormond & Harry Aebi – “Mastering the Art of Beekeeping, Vols. 1-2” Maurice Maeterlinck – “The Life of the Bee”

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  • Gunther Hauk - “Toward Saving the Honeybee” (featured in “The Queen of the Sun”)
  • Abbé Emil Warré – “Beekeeping for All”
  • Ormond & Harry Aebi – “Mastering the Art of Beekeeping, Vols. 1-2”
  • Maurice Maeterlinck – “The Life of the Bee”
  • H. Storch – “At the Hive Entrance”
  • JurgenTautz – “The Buzz about Bees”


Commercial All Natural

It’s not black and white, we all choose the combination of methods that makes sense to us.

human bee relationship
Human-Bee Relationship
  • Honey Hunting– 7,000 b.c., honey invaluable, bee becomes sacred.
  • Ancient Egypt – 19th Century - Beekeeping by Priests. Through the middle ages - rudimentary bee management, skeps of basketry, pottery, dung.
itinerant bees a very old practice
Itinerant Bees – a very old practice

To Zeno, Greeting from the beekeepers of the Arsinoitenome. You wrote about the donkeys, that they were to come to Philadelphia and work ten days. But it is now eighteen days that they have been working and the hives have been kept in the fields, and it is time to bring them home and we have no donkeys to carry them back. Now it is no small impost that we pay the king. Unless the donkeys are sent at once, the result will be that the hives will be ruined and the impost lost. Already the peasants are warning us, saying: "We are going to release the water and burn the brushwood, so unless you remove them you will lose them." We beg you then, if it please you, to send us our donkeys, in order that we may remove them. And after removing them we will come back with the donkeys when you need them. May you prosper!

(middle 3rd century, B.C.E., Egyptian tablet)

some ideas on natural beekeeping
Some Ideas on Natural Beekeeping
  • 1)  a tree-like hollow space
  • 2)  some height off the ground
  • 3)  natural comb [no foundation]
  • 4)  queen is free to move throughout the colony [no queen excluder]
  • 5) honey is left for the bees, take only what is truly superfluous and then in the late spring
natural beekeeping cont
Natural Beekeeping cont.
  • 6)  drones are allowed to develop at the will of the colony
  • 7)  swarms are allowed to occur naturally, no interference or swarm prevention
  • 8)  queen remains as long as the colony accepts them, [no requeening at beekeepers will]
  • 9)  no synthetic chemicals used for medication or miticide/fungicides
  • 10)  the colony is left alone whenever possible  [no weekly hive checks that disperse the precious warmth and hive scent]
to feed or not to feed
To Feed or not to Feed
  • Best is to never feed your bees.
  • Better is to feed bees rarely and with your own honey
  • Good is to feed bees with an organic herbal sugar syrup.
  • Other Ideas?
  • ------------------------------------------X-----------------------

Corn Syrup Sugar Organic Sugar Herbal Syrup Honey No feeding

organic herbal sugar syrup recipe
Organic Herbal Sugar Syrup Recipe
  • Organic Chamomile tea – lightly steeped
  • Organic cane sugar - the lighter the better, never dark

1:1 or stronger depending on season and use

Add: pinch of sea salt

Add: Ph balancing agent: organic pure lemon juice

(~ 1 Tbsp. / quart of syrup)

other herbs for syrup
Other Herbs for Syrup
  • Almost any kitchen herb growing in the garden, especially the ones the bees are gathering from
  • Yarrow Horsetail
  • Dandelion Nettle
  • Peppermint Thyme
  • Rue Lemon Balm
  • Hyssop
natural smoker fuels
Natural Smoker Fuels
  • Sage
  • Meadow Grass
  • Myrrh Resin
  • Other ideas?
mite control
Mite Control
  • Essential Oils – thyme, tea tree, peppermint etc.
  • Natural Acids – Oxalic acid, Formic acid – not approved by the FDA for use on bees, but widely used and scientifically validated in Europe. (see for detailed instructions)
  • Ashing – biodynamic preparation of mite ash
  • No treatment, let natural selection work
  • Other ideas?
expanding colonies
Expanding Colonies
  • Add boxes below in early spring for expansion of brood colony downward
  • Add supers above in later spring and summer for honey storage
  • Other natural management ideas?
internet resources
Internet Resources