Q&A with a Natural Beekeeper: How does natural comb impact production of honey?

Kevin, thank you for your wonderful website! I have just ordered 5 packages of bees I will pick up in the spring from a beekeeping operation in my state. I am working with another local beekeeper who keeps 15 hives on my farm because…

Q&A with a Natural Beekeeper for the New Beekeeper

Worker bee on freshly filled cells of honey

I am new to beekeeping. A local bee guy set me up with bees and a queen in a Langstroth box at the beginning of May. The bees are very active and 7 of the 10 frames are loaded with eggs and larva as…

Starting Over or Getting Started Right as a Natural Beekeeper

Swarm

It is heart-wrenching to lose a hive. The silence of your backyard when the bees are gone makes you want to cry. But you can also look at it as an opportunity for a fresh start. If you are just getting started it is…

Aggressive Bees and What to do About Them

Bee on flower

Since sensationalized stories about aggressive bees seem to be hitting the news lately, I thought it would be a good idea to post about dealing with an aggressive hive. The first step is to do nothing. Refer to the previous post about observation and management. Maybe the “Mean…

Happy Honeybees, Happy Beekeeper

Happy honeybees

Hive management is an art, not a science. There are some basic principals I try to follow in an attempt to make hive management a more predictable and consistent art. First off, if you are in doubt, do nothing. You can’t make the bees…

The Best Hive for the Backyard Beekeeper

Two hives

The options are many: Langstroth, Warre, Top Bar, Long Hives. The impassioned reasoning to favor one or the other is endless. For someone trying to get started, it has to be overwhelming. I am going to make some very specific recommendations for your first hive and…

Foundationless Beekeeping: How to convert to natural beekeeping! Part II

Natural comb

The continuing process for changing over to foundationless hives is very simple.  Keep adding new frames to the center of the bottom box two at a time. When you add a new pair, move a pair of old contaminated foundation based frames up to the second box….

Foundationless Beekeeping: How to convert to natural beekeeping! Part I

Old and new frames

I started out beekeeping on my own just the way I learned growing up. With foundation. I had heard the old saws: “It takes twenty pounds of honey to make a pound of wax” “You can’t extract if you don’t have foundation” “You will…

Backwards Beekeeping: You can’t pretend to be natural, it will end in tears.

From Gerald in Cullowhee, NC: So–I am now an organic beekeeper. But am cheating a bit–we have no other bees that we know of within a couple miles so no chance of catching something from other hives. Hi Gerald, Glad to hear you are…

Bees and Shrimp are in the same boat (and it is sinking)

Here is another reason to keep your bees in town. Dennis Murrell of BeeNatural talks about being Malathioned. I remember our bees getting overspray from soybeans planted across the road when I was growing up and the resulting pile of dead bees in front…