Natural BeekeepingAn important element in permaculture design
What is natural beekeeping?• Keeping bees in such a way that we prioritise the needs of the bee/colony• This means accepting a lower honey yield for the sake of bee health and making the conditions as natural as possible• Bees evolved millions of years ago and have survived successfully without our intervention.
What does this mean?• the beekeeper should not break open the nest/hive repeatedly.• It is important for the health of the bees that they retain nest smell and warmth.
Also….• Allowing the colony to build natural comb means no recycled wax foundation.• Bees do not naturally build uniform sized cells across their combs.• So we do not use frames or foundation that limits the ways bees build comb
Problem• The regulations state that the hive must be placed 3 metres from the fence if the fence is less than 2 metres high. We had extended the chook run along the fence and it was 2 metres wide at the time. So we placed the bee hive outside the chook run
• It wasn’t long before the grass grew up under the bee hive to a great height and couldn’t be mown without disturbing them. The grass was causing an increase in humidity in the bee hive which could have been a precursor to disease.
What to do?• We could have lifted the beehive and put a base down for it to stand on….• We could have come out at night to cut the grass down with scissors….• We could have given up keeping bees….• But what did we do?
The solution• Put the chooks to work, of course. Extend the chook run around the bee hive so that it was now enclosed in the chook run while still being the regulation distance from the fence. Now everyone was happy.