Comparison of Natural Beekeeping Hives

Horizontal top bar hive

This blog concentrates on comparing the main natural beekeeping hives.  See Hives for Natural Beekeeping for an introduction to natural beekeeping hives and the main differences between these and orthodox hives. Currently the hives most used by natural beekeepers are the vertical Warré and horizontal top bar hives although the new sun hive is gaining… Read more »

Hives for Natural Beekeeping

Horizontal top bar hive

It has been said that no form of beekeeping can be natural and the term seems to irritate the hell out of some beekeepers.  However the phrase has been chosen with good reason, emphasizing how far some orthodox beekeeping practices have come from the ways bees would behave in the wild, ‘naturally’. Dead tree trunks… Read more »

Different bee hives

Warré vertical top bar hive

I am hugely grateful to The Natural Beekeeping Trust for permission to display the images below.  For more see Hives for Natural Beekeeping and Comparison of Hives for Natural Beekeeping National hive           Warré hive                Top bar hive            Golden hive (Einraumbeute)… Read more »

Flower seed mixes for honeybees

Field wild flowers

The following seed mixtures contain exclusively honeybee flowers offering either nectar, pollen, or both.  There are many other seed mixes available that provide some honeybee plants along with forage for other insects but I know I was curious to learn more about my bees and their particular food material so wanted to know which plants… Read more »

Best wild flowers for nectar and pollen

Wild flowers campion

Table of honey bee wild flowers by month Month Name Latin Nectar & pollen Length of flowering January   February Dandelion Taraxacum officianale N/P Feb – Nov   Deadnettle Lamium spp. N/P Feb – Nov March Celandine Ranunculus ficaria N/P Mar – May   Ground ivy Glechoma hederacea N/P Mar – Jun April Vetch Vicia… Read more »

Best flowers for nectar & pollen

Nepeta (2)

Month Name Latin Nectar/pollen Length of flowering January Snowdrop Galanthus nivalis N/P Jan – Apr   Winter aconite Eranthis hyemalis N/P Jan, Feb Crocus Species Crocus N/P Jan, Feb February Hellebore Helleborus foetidus, H. viridis, H. orientalis N/P Feb – Apr   Deadnettle Lamium spp., L. maculatum ‘Silver Beacon’ for groundcover N/P Feb – Nov… Read more »

Best shrubs for nectar and pollen

Table of shrubs for honey bees Month Name Latin Nectar & pollen Length of flowering January Heath Erica carnea N/P Jan- Mar February Japanese quince Chaenomeles spp. N/P Feb – Jun Honeysuckle Lonicera fragrantissima N/P Feb – Apr Cornelian cherry Cornus mas N/P Feb – Apr March Gorse Ulex europeaus N/P AYR Gooseberry Ribes uva-crispa… Read more »

Single and double flowers

Dog rose

These two dahlias illustrate the difference between a single flower (left) and a double flower (right), the latter having many more petals.   The archetypal flower reads from outside in – sepals (often green), then petals, male stamen and finally the central female parts. In the single dahlia stamens with their yellow pollen which is… Read more »

Finally, neonicotinoids are coming off the shelves

Bee arrives for a feed

It’s nice to be able to report some good green news!  The alarm raised that neonicotinoid pesticides might be poisoning honeybees (and other insects) has finally been heeded. Waiting for science to endorse the accounts of witnesses is at best frustrating and at worst negligent and harmful to nature.  I do worry that this ‘nothing… Read more »