Log Hive Making Workshop for Natural Beekeeping

Log Hive Making Workshop for Natural Beekeeping

We are pleased to announce our first log hive making workshop in Herefordshire. As a participant, you will learn the skills you need to make a log hive. You will learn to design and make a log hive to stand on stilts, or to be placed securely, high up on a tree.  A log hive is like a  bee hotel for honeybees. It mimics the preferred home of honey bees in nature. Offering insulation against the cold in winter and a barrier against  heat in the summer months.

Once you learn the skills you need to build a log hive, you are ready to build one for your garden or for family and friends, helping to save and encourage bees conservation in your area.

The workshop includes discussion on the life cycle of bees in the wild, how to prepare a  hive and encourage bees to move in. There will be a wider discussion on how to help honey bees and other  pollinator insects.

Date: October 2022

Time: 9.30 – 5PM

Facilitators: Temi Odurinde and Donald Broughton

Venue:  The Hive, Much Birch. Herefordshire

Cost:  £150

For more information, please use the contact form here.

Bees in their natural habitat – Free Living Bees

Bees in their natural habitat – Free Living Bees

Honey bees are probably the most domesticated insects in the world, if you can describe keeping bees as domesticating them.  We have been so successful at keeping bees, that their “wild” cousins, living freely in their natural habitat are not so common any more.

An awesome project called Free Living Honey Bees promotes and shares the joy of seeing honey bees spotting in their natural habitat.  You can find information about wild honey bees from the UK and around the world on the website.  If you spot a wild bee colony, you can share pictures and videos of it with the community. 

Temi Odurinde shared a picture and video of honey bees he spotted in Herefordshire with the free living bee community on this page.

Honey Bees Facts – A Definitive Compilation

Honey Bees Facts – A Definitive Compilation

Honey bees are one of the most remarkable insects on the planet, there is no doubt about that. They punch well above their weight, when you compare what they are capable of, with other insects. The way their colony is organised, how each member of the hive plays a small role, to help a colony of about 50,000 bees to function seamlessly led to a bee colony being designated as a superorganism by scientists. 

So what exactly is a worker honey bee, a queen honey bee, is there a king honey bee? Find answers to these questions and much more in this comprehensive and definitive honey bees facts compilation. 

Honey Bee Facts for Children

  • Do honey bees sleep and for how long?  – It is difficult to say definitively whether bees sleep or not. A researcher called Walter Kaiser, in 1993 published his findings into whether bees do sleep. His conclusion was that bees do sleep.  Others researchers/scientists argue that bees do not sleep, they merely stay motionless to preserve energy during the night.
  • How many colours can a honey bee see? –  Honey bees’ vision is better tuned to the blue end of the light spectrum and  ultra violet. This helps bees to see flowers, their main source of nectar and pollen. Flowers reflect a lot of ultraviolet light. Bees do not see the colour red. 
  • Where do honey bees live? Honey bees live in hives (man made). In the wild, they live in the hollow of trees. There are three types of bees in a colony: a queen, the workers and drones. Each plays a different role in the colony. 
  • There are over  270 bee species in Great Britain,  some of them are honey bees.
  • Are Bees insects? Yes. Bees are insects, they have 3 pairs of segmented legs which are attached to their thorax (upper part of the body). That is they have six legs.
  • The female bees in the hive, with the exception of the queen, are called worker bees. They can not lay fertilized eggs, though they do lay unfertilized ones if there is no queen. These unfertilized eggs are what eventually become drones. 
  • How many wings does a bee have? Bees have 2 pairs of wings. The forewing and hindwing, giving them 4 individual wings in total. Like their legs, the wings are attached to their thorax. In flight, bees typically flap their wings around 230 times per seconds. In addition to flight, bees use their wings for thermo-regulation (temperature regulation), nest ventilation, and communication.
  • How many eyes does a bee have? Bees have five eyes in total, as incredible as that may seem. They have two large eyes called the compound eyes, the two eyes have tiny cells that piece together an image of what bees can see. The other three eyes known as simple eyes or occelli which  form a triangle on the head of a bee, help it detect light (but not shape). Occelli helps bees detect when a predator is approaching.
  •  What are male honey bees called? Male honey bees are called drones. They are generally larger than workers (female honey bees). They do not sting, they also do not help in hive maintenance, their only purpose is to mate with a queen. 
  • Do any other insect species apart from honey bees produce food consumed by human beings? No! Honey is the only human food produced by any insect species. 
  • Is honey a healthy food? Yes, it is. It contains antioxidants and vitamins, and it is fat free and cholesterol free. 

UK Specific Honey Bee Facts

  • British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) is the definitive organisation/authority for anything related to beekeeping in the UK.
  • The British black bee (Apis mellifera mellifera), a descendant of the European dark bee, is the only known British honey bee.
  • There are over  270 recorded bee species in Great Britain,  some of them are honey bees.
  • The British national hive design was based on the Langsthorn hive.
  • British beekeepers kept their bees in a skep, which is then slotted into a south facing recess in a garden wall, called bee bole until wooden beehives were introduced in the late 19th century. 
  • The largest number of bee boles in the UK was found at Ganllwyd, near Dolgellau in Wales. During restoration by the national trust in 2011, a total of 46 bee boles were discovered. 
  • Honey bees work all their short lives. Once they hatch, they become nurse bees, graduating to become cleaners, eventually they become guard bees and finally foragers. 
  • Honey bees outnumber the residents of London in the summer months. A situation that is ascribed to an increase in the number of urban beekeepers.  
  • A honey and olive oil preparation that keeps hair healthy and lustrous was created by Queen Anne In the early 1700’s.

General Facts About Honey Bee 

  • Faces – Honeybees are said to recognise and remember human faces
  • Collaboration – There is a video circulating on the internet showing two honey bees working together to open a bottle of fizzy drink. 
  • Honey bees  fly at an average speed of 25km per hour. That is the maximum speed of an Electric Scooter.
  • If a bee loses its stinger, it will die. This is because the bee leaves behind part of its digestive tract along with its stinger after it has stung. The abdominal rupture kills the bee.
  • Honey bees are capable of being trained to detect illnesses in humans. 
  • Honey bees use their long tongues called the proboscis to suck nectar out of a flower. 
  • Workers bees are sometimes called “undertaker bees” because they oversee the removal of dead bees from the hive. 
  • Pinocembrin, a powerful antioxidant, is  found in honey and propolis. 
  • The world’s oldest fermented beverage, mead, is made from fermented honey.  
  • A 2000-year-old jar of honey was found by an explorer in King Tut’s tomb and it was claimed to still taste delicious. This shows honey can last for a very long time.
  • Honey is effective in healing open wounds and combating infections.  It is also an energy booster, it is a source of energy that can help prevent fatigue and boost physical performance. 
  • Worker bees have barbed stinger while queens stinger is smooth and it is mostly used in killing other queens.
  • A worker bee communicates the locations of food and water or a new home through a dance known as “Waggle Dance” or honey bee dance.
  • Honey bees huddle together in a winter cluster in order to keep warm. 
  • A worker bee makes about half to one teaspoon of honey in its lifetime. 
  • Honey bees are the only bees that make honey. Though bumble bees make honey-like substances, it tastes nothing like honey that humans consume. 
  • Bees are so particular about the cleanliness of their hive that they will temporarily leave it  to take a cleansing flight  especially in the cold winter months. 

Amazing Statistical Facts about Honey Bees

  • To make about half a kg ( 1lb)  of honey, bees have to fly over 55,000 miles. 
  • There are more than 300 taste sensors on the tips of the antennae of honey bees. 
  • To make about half a kilogram  of honey,  bees  must collect nectar from about 2 million flowers.
  •  Bees have a special stomach for storing nectar called honey stomac. It  holds around 70 mg of nectar, the approximate weight of the bee.
  • To fuel a bee’s flight around the world, it would take about 1 ounce of honey.  
  • During one foraging  flight from the hive, a single honey bee visits between 50 and 100 flowers. 
  • A small colony of bees needs about 17kg of honey to survive winter. 
  • There are more than 90million honey bee hives globally.
Video of 2 honey bees working together to open a  bottle of fizzy drink

Video of 2 honey bees working together to open a bottle of fizzy drink

In this   interesting video, two honey bees are seen working together, to open a bottle of popular orange flavoured fizzy drink, Fanta. The video was said to have been filmed in Brazil. The woman doing the filmin said in Portuguese The bees teamed up to steal my soda”. The video was shared on YouTube by “ViralHog” 

Bees, especially honeybees, are very clever creatures both individually, or as part of up to 59,000 other bees in a colony, which is recognised as a single, superorganism.  We came across the  news of the video of the  two bees that opened a bottle of Fanta, while researching The Hive’s facts about bees page.  If you are curious about any aspect of the honey bee’s life, you should visit the page. You will find amazing and interesting information, including the fact that bees do recognize and remember people’s faces, despite having a brain the size of a sesame seed. 

If you find beekeeping fascinating and want to know more about it, a beginner’s beekeeping book will teach you beekeeping fundamentals. You will also find in the beginner’s guide the importance of bees in the ecosystem, where you learn the significant role bees play in our environment and why perhaps, through your engagement in natural beekeeping, you would also be doing humanity a great favour by playing your part in the effort to tackle the decline in bee populations. 

Beekeeping is one of the oldest human’s pastimes, dating back to over a thousand years ago. But that does not diminish the unfortunate fact that the decline in bee populations is not unconnected to human endeavours —- some of which are mindless. It is however  heartening to see various ecological innovations by the same humans attempt at curbing the alarming decrease in these  honey-making insects’ numbers. 

Tags:  bees video, honey bees, bee facts, bees trivia, intelligent bee, beekeeping book, technologies in beekeeping 

10 beginners books on conventional and natural beekeeping

10 beginners books on conventional and natural beekeeping

1. A beginner’s guide to Natural Beekeeping

Released in May 2001, A beginners guide to natural beekeeping is a basic, introductory book to natural beekeeping. The book does not have detailed in-depth practical beekeeping information like some of the other books. It is aimed primarily at people who are thinking about getting started in beekeeping.

2. Natural Beekeeping with the Warre Hive

Natural beekeeping with Warre Hive is another awesome natural beekeeping book a beginner should have in his or her beekeeping tool kit. David Heaf’s book has a section that covers in great detail the material, construction, and components of the Warré hive. It covers everything you need to know on how to build the Warre Hive from scratch and if you don’t want to build your own, there is a resource section in the back of the book including someone who makes them. Other sections cover such topics as getting, hiving, feeding your bee; monitoring and enlarging your hive etc.

3. Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture

In this Ross Conrad’s natural beekeeping book, the best strategies for keeping honey bees healthy are laid out in simple details.  Ross brings together the methods and strategies for controlling mites; breeding for naturally resistant bees, eliminating foulbrood diseases and many others.  chapter on marketing provides valuable advice for anyone who intends to sell a wide range of hive products. Valuable advice is also provided for those that intend to sell a wide range  of hive products in the chapter on marketing. This is a book for beginners, experienced beekeepers that are looking to develop accurate knowledge of pest-management and someone that’s into bee products business. 

4. Homegrown Honey Bees: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Beekeeping Your First

If you are  new to beekeeping, then you might want to grasp and read a copy of Alethea Morrisson’s book. The book is specifically designed for those that are completely new to the world of beekeeping. It is a book that experts alike will find informative and probably share with a fellow beekeeper.  With  explicit texts and beautiful pictures, this book will certainly whet your appetite for beekeeping. It is packed with an in-depth discussion  of colony hierarchy, allergies, bee behavior, and more. 

5. The Backyard Beekeeper, 4th Edition: An Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden

This is a masterpiece from highly experienced beekeeper, Kim Flottum. He understands the needs of a beekeeper quite so well. The Backyard Beekeeper is a must-have tool kit for newbies, for Flottum communicates unequivocally to those that are just dipping their toes into the world of beekeeping. The book contains fun facts, helpful tips and a short humurous narrative that helps make reading less tediuos.  

6. The Practical Beekeeper: Beekeeping Naturally

The author of the book introduces the reader to the fundamentals of beekeeping, the players, namely the queen,the workers,drone, and the beekeeper. In this book you will learn about how you can keep bees in a natural and simple practical system without worrying about pests and diseases  and minimal intervention by you. Essentially, it is about reducing your work as a beekeeper. The book is a collection of posts on the author’s website, the content of which was written and refined from comments on bee forums over the years. The Practical Beekeeper contains 3 volumes; the beginners, intermediate and advanced. 

7. Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees

Buzz, written by Thor Hanson introduces the reader to the history of beekeeping and how important these honey-making insects are to humanity. The book also touches on the decline in the bee population. Buzz contains tips and narratives which the beginner and experienced beekeeper would find informative. So regardless of how long or short your journey in beekeeping has been, you would certainly find something new to learn in this book. 

8. The Beekeeper’s Bible

Another great book for beginners! “The Beekeeper’s Bible” goes over the history of beekeeping all the way to hive management and it also features a number of recipes for products with bee-based ingredients. The Beekeeper’s Bible is an ultimate and practical guide to the fundamentals of beekeeping and is a book for all levels of beekeeping. 

9. Beekeeping for Beginners: How To Raise Your First Bee Colonies

This is another beekeeping book for beginners, written by an experienced beekeeper, Amber Bradshaw. The book contains beekeeping essentials including  everything you need to know to begin your first colony, how to start your colony off right with simple guides that feature the best practices and  natural approaches. It also includes clearly defined terms and a complete glossary that will have you talking like a pro beekeeper in no time.

10. The Hive and the Honey Bee Revisited: An Annotated Update of Langstroth’s Classic

With inspiring, practical and clearly laid out techniques for beekeeping, Roger Hoopingarner’s The Hive and the Honey Bee Revisited is certainly one of the most informative beekeeping literature out there. It is an ideal book for the aspiring beekeeper and what the experienced folks should have in their tool kit. The book covers topics like tools, obtaining, sitting and hiving your bees, feeding, and monitoring the hive, harvesting and extracting honey with simple tools etc. 

Tags:  natural beekeeping, newbie beekeeper, treatment free beekeeping,