Please support Friends of the Bees to keep this forum free to use.

Natural Beekeeping International Forum
low-cost, low-impact, balanced beekeeping for everyone

 Forum FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileYour Profile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Please Read The Rules before posting.



(country selected automatically - UK/USA/CA/AU)
Making Increase Without Splits ...

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> Conventional and miscellaneous hives
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
BBC
Scout Bee


Joined: 11 Jul 2012
Posts: 398
Location: Bicker, Lincolnshire, UK

PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 8:08 pm    Post subject: Making Increase Without Splits ... Reply with quote

As promised ...

I've kept this post in the 'Conventional Hive' sub-forum as this technique has thus far only been used with conventional hives, specifically Nationals.


So first - let's set the groundwork:

What is a 'split' ? A 'split' is made when a colony is divided into smaller units (or nucs) which are then left to develop at their own pace, unaided, over a period of several months.

What does a queen need to lay ? In order for a queen to adopt and maintain a good laying rate, a colony needs the following:

1. A supply of pollen - preferably coming into the hive, indicating that it's an appropriate time for laying. Fortunately, my location provides ample pollen right throughout the season.
2. A supply of nectar - as above. Unfortunately my location does not provide this (due to modern farming practices), so I'm obliged to simulate this by artificial feeding. I have plans to provide an insectary in the future, but for now, feeding remains necessary.
3. A place for the queen to lay - empty drawn comb in the right place - that is, within the brood nest.
4. An adequate supply of bees - both foragers for the pollen (as above), and nurse bees. The latter can be the limiting factor, as 'somehow' the queen's laying rate is adjusted to the number of nurse bees on the combs. (presumably some kind of pheromone or odour given off by the nurse bees is detected and assessed) But whatever the underlying mechanism, if there are insufficient nurse bees present, then the laying rate will be reduced accordingly.


Ok - having set the groundwork, what is the principle ?

In any system (and bee colonies can be viewed as systems), there are two opposite types of control mechanism - one is 'negative feedback', in which the system is kept constantly stable by an increased output resulting in a decreased input, which in turn moderates the output, and so on ...

The other is 'positive feedback', where an increase in output feeds directly back to the input, thus causing an even higher level of output, and so on ... This creates exponential growth, and will eventually result in instability - think 'runaway nuclear reactor' !

So - what we are about to engage in uses 'positive feedback' - and for those of a religious persuasion, this dynamic is mentioned in the christian bible:
"For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath." Mark 4:25
And that is precisely what we are going to do ...


If a beekeeper has only one colony, then he/she must make a split - or rely on swarming, or something similar - but if there is more than one colony, then an alternative approach may be used. But first, we must shake off our human thinking, and try to copy how the bees themselves behave.

Human beings are compassionate creatures - we care for our sick and disabled. But not so (perhaps with one or two exceptions) within the animal kingdom - certainly reptiles and insects will abandon or even kill those of their own kind in pursuit of their own survival. One only needs to look at drone eviction during the autumn, or the phenomenon of 'robbing' for examples of this.
From the point of view of colony multiplication for species survival, robbing makes no sense - for one colony of stronger bees will undoubtedly cause the demise of a weaker or ailing colony in an attempt to ensure it's own survival - resulting in just one remaining colony - a decrease rather than an increase in colony numbers. But of course the bees are not operating with logic - they are only concerned with making their own colony as strong and as well provided-for as possible in order to maximise it's chances of survival.

This then, is the natural behaviour of a honeybee colony
, even though it may offend our logic and our own human sense of compassion. And the underlying principle of my method is simply to copy that of the bees.

Suppose one starts the season with two hives - one of which is strong and well-developed, with the other healthy - but not quite in the same league, as it were. It is struggling a bit - healthy (it's essential that it must be healthy), but not quite 'cutting it'. What best to do ?

Now the normal instinctive action of a compassionate human being is to support the under-dog - to take a frame of brood from the strong hive and give it to the weaker hive, in order to help it build up and thus make both hives equal. But what would the bees do in this situation should resources suddenly become scarce ? Yes, the stronger would plunder the weaker - so that's exactly what we will do.

As many frames of brood as possible are taken from the weak colony and given to the strong colony to create what Mike Palmer describes as a 'monster' colony. Meanwhile, the weaker colony is reduced to the level of a small nuc, or as I prefer to call it, a 'queen bank' - for that is to be it's only function for the time being.

Once the 'monster colony' is fully established, conditions are such that the queen will be laying at her maximum rate, somewhere around 2 - 2,500 eggs a day. That equates to a standard National brood comb being filled every 2 days.
As the brood nest is filled, extra combs are inserted to expand it, and as these are capped, frames may be taken and given to the weaker colony. Mike Palmer calls these frames 'bee bombs', for their effect is to cause an explosion of bee numbers. And a few days later, another bee bomb may be given, and so on ...

The recipient colony, once weak, is now no longer so - but it would not have achieved this rate of development within this timescale had it stayed untouched. So in a relatively short period of time it will reach the kind of size it might have taken all season to have reached otherwise. And meanwhile, the monster colony is still churning out brood ...

Thus far, there's been no increase of course, we're still at 2 colonies. So we now divide this recipient colony into (say) 3 nucs, and they each become recipients of bee bombs from the monster colony. These are NOT splits, but rather 'queen banks' waiting for their workforce to arrive. 1 might become 3, then 3 could become 9 - it all depends on how long it takes the monster colony to initially get up to speed, how the recipient divisions are made, and how long the season lasts. This then, is the principle of how I make increase without making those splits which only serve to produce weak and vulnerable nucs.

Is it simple and straightforward ? No. In order for the monster colony to function at it's maximum, bee numbers need to be raised to as near swarming level as possible, yet not swarm. This requires constant inspections, every 6 days, regardless of weather, and these inspections must be thorough - with all bees shaken off the combs, and anything abnormal - even play cups - removed. Capped combs must be taken from the brood nest, with new empty combs inserted, only leaving enough brood in place to replenish the monster colony's needs. It's a tricky balance to achieve. I've been told that this procedure will not stop swarming, and that such frequent inspections invariably lead to swarming. But - this year there have been zero swarms from my hives - not a single one.

There certainly are potential pitfalls - the monster colony might indeed swarm, that is always a possibility - and then you'd be back to where you started. The monster colony's queen might fail, and for that reason it pays to have several of these operating at the same time. In the event of failure, the best solution is to quickly divide the monster colony into nucs (as queen banks) and promote your strongest colony accordingly.


This method is NOT for the 'leave-alone' beekeeper, for anyone who puts beekeeping second to their work or family, or for those operating with a remote out-apiary. You need to stay on top of things, all of the time. And for this reason alone, I wouldn't engage in this technique year after year - it's far too demanding. But - if you've had serious losses over several years, as I have - it may be a technique worth considering in order to make significant increase in the shortest possible time.

Hope you find the above of interest.

Colin
BBC
_________________
Bees build Brace Comb for a reason, not just to be bloody-minded.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
CharlieBnoobee
Guard Bee


Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 97
Location: Virginia,USA; S. Appalachians;USDA zn. 6a

PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2014 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Colin;
This is Really Good Stuff, and it's simply scandalous, IMO, that this is so far the only reply.
Seriously, by first stating the underlying principles you've provided the long view necessary to give the details the cohesion they need to fit into a readily grasped picture. This explication of yours and the 1st Palmer lecture are mutually complementary. Together they make up a fine package which can be of great benefit to both the serious amateur and professional alike.
I particularly appreciate the caveats near the end. It's my ultimate goal to develop a beekeeping method particularly suited as a side-line, non-migratory honey business. It would be based primarily on a Perone/Warré hybrid design (and method) and be as "hands off" as possible. Once the hives are up and running, that is. The means of making increase that you've outlined is, as you've cautioned, anything but "hands off". What it provides, however, is a vehicle to get the necessary hives started in the first place; inexpensively and ASAP. This is what's got me stoked.

If you've got the patience, I've got a cartload of questions for you.

Charlie
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
AugustC
Silver Bee


Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2014 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So what you're saying is you use the genetics of the weak colony to develop new colonies?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
CharlieBnoobee
Guard Bee


Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 97
Location: Virginia,USA; S. Appalachians;USDA zn. 6a

PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2014 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AugustC wrote:
So what you're saying is you use the genetics of the weak colony to develop new colonies?


But are the genetics the cause of the "weakness" in the first place? Or are there other factors at play—factors that won't be passed on? For instance,
Prakel notes in the Rose Hive thread:

"Weak and strong aren't necessarily numerical issues; I reckon it's more about colony cohesion, the way the
unit works as an entity. Some small splits can be very well balanced in the same way as it's possible to come
across established colonies where something has gone out of balance"

It seems we're struggling here with an insufficient vocabulary to give us the conceptual handles we need to describe the dynamics of what's going on. In his last post on that thread, Bernhard remarked that:

"Queen not nourished well enough when reared, leading to queen failures and excessive swarming."

Over-winter nutrition is obviously one of who knows how many factors impinging on colony health and survivability.

Charlie
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
prakel
Guard Bee


Joined: 13 Nov 2012
Posts: 65
Location: Dorset, UK

PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2014 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AugustC wrote:
So what you're saying is you use the genetics of the weak colony to develop new colonies?


That might depend on where the new queens are coming from; yes, they could be raised from that colony or, and I'd imagine that this is what BCC is doing, they could be raised from a different colony, in which case he's using the slower colony to piggy-back his new queens until they've gone through a couple of brood cycles and established their own colonies; so the new queens are the genetic line, not the workers from the original colony.


Last edited by prakel on Fri Nov 07, 2014 5:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2014 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course it would be better to split up the weak ones and requeen them with queens from strong healthy hives. (See: Kirk Webster)

Most weakness comes from weak queens. Weak queens come from bad nutrition, bad mating (weather) and/or hidden infections, like Nosema. You can get back weak hives by simple requeening, if done early enough.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
andy pearce
Silver Bee


Joined: 30 Aug 2009
Posts: 663
Location: UK, East Sussex, Brighton

PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2014 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A couple of questions.

When you are transferring these frames of brood from one hive to the other is it just frames of capped brood and not young bees as well....they stay behind to work in the monster donor hive?

When you split the hive into nucs are you expecting them to re-queen themselves by ensuring they have eggs or larvae at an early enough stage to make emergency queen cells? Or are you breeding queens as well?

Ta
A
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
BBC
Scout Bee


Joined: 11 Jul 2012
Posts: 398
Location: Bicker, Lincolnshire, UK

PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2014 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
AugustC: So what you're saying is you use the genetics of the weak colony to develop new colonies?

That would be insane.


andy pearce wrote:
A couple of questions.

When you are transferring these frames of brood from one hive to the other is it just frames of capped brood and not young bees as well....they stay behind to work in the monster donor hive?

Capped brood intentionally - sometimes there's a few remaining open cells - but no bees.

Quote:
When you split the hive into nucs are you expecting them to re-queen themselves by ensuring they have eggs or larvae at an early enough stage to make emergency queen cells?

No.
Quote:
Or are you breeding queens as well?

Yes.

I guess you could let the nucs raise their own, but I'd much rather ensure that they're raised under the best possible conditions.

The point of this thread was to show Bernhard that there are other ways of making increase other than splits - but he still can't accept that other people can keep bees just as well as he can, but in different ways.

Even now - he still knows a better way. Yawn .....
_________________
Bees build Brace Comb for a reason, not just to be bloody-minded.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2014 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What's the matter, Colin? I didn't answer to your post. I even did not say a thing about it. So???

Keep on going and be easy.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
andy pearce
Silver Bee


Joined: 30 Aug 2009
Posts: 663
Location: UK, East Sussex, Brighton

PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Colin
thanks for the answer to those two questions...I guessed what you were up to but I think others might have been confused which was why I wanted to see this clarified on the thread...to me it was unfinished.

Your recent thread and other post and pointers have been very interesting and worth thought and stand as good sharing as does the detailed, intelligent sharing and altruism of other people on this forum. This is the point of a forum...we can take from it and share what we have learned. This is what is good about it. Please keep the information flowing for us to think about ...everyone..... the more views the better.

How are you doing your queen rearing, is there a specific method you are using?
A
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
biobee
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1051
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Too much work and too much interference for me. As Bernhard says, why not just raise some queens from the good queen, make up mating nucs from the weaker one and remove (or keep in reserve) the weaker queen? Much easier and quicker.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1487
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And I will stick to the randomness of swarms Very Happy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
madasafish
Silver Bee


Joined: 29 Apr 2009
Posts: 880
Location: Stoke On Trent

PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read the original post. Any system which requires constant inspections every 6 days is unsuited to anyone with a life in my view.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
CharlieBnoobee
Guard Bee


Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 97
Location: Virginia,USA; S. Appalachians;USDA zn. 6a

PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2014 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I pointed out above, that Prakel pointed out that
Quote:
“Weak and strong aren't necessarily numerical issues; I reckon it's more about colony cohesion, the way the
unit works as an entity. Some small splits can be very well balanced in the same way as it's possible to come
across established colonies where something has gone out of balance

That is to say there can be small strong colonies as well as a weak large colonies. Similarly, and as Bernhard states:
Quote:
Most weakness comes from weak queens. Weak queens come from bad nutrition, bad mating (weather) and/or hidden infections, like Nosema. You can get back weak hives by simple requeening, if done early enough.

From which it seems safe to conclude that a queen’s genetics are only a small part her “strength” or “weakness”.

As a seasoned clueless newbie, I consider myself something of an expert on Newbie care and feeding as well as Newbie Cluelessness in general. What we’re wanting (i.e. both lacking and desiring) is a baby-step by baby-step procedure (leaving no baby-step left untaken) for developing several small strong colonies from one large colony, be it weak or strong. This recipe would explain how to achieve healthy growth rates and/or high over-wintering success in the newly started nucs. If at all possible, such a procedure would not involve queen cell grafting, but would include an explanation of the elements resulting in colony strength or weakness, and how to include them or avoid them, respectively.

I’m totally persuaded that if Colin, Bernhard, Phil and a few experienced others collaborated, enthusiastically, on such a project, they could, in fairly short order come up with a method to reliably generate three to four thriving colonies from one healthy mature colony, all within one year’s span. Furthermore, it would not necessitate any operations beyond the abilities of an uncoached, ivory-skulled newbie like me, nor would it entail more than a couple of procedures or inspections in the first season.

Are any of y’all up to the challenge?

I wait with bated breath.
Charlie
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is no real recipe for all situations. First it all depends on your personal goals and plans.

So let's make up some situations and see, what you do for an increase.

1) Natural beekeeper, plans to expand to about 10 hives, honey production is not the primary goal. Lives in the countryside, few and robust neighbours.

In this situation you best work with swarms. Let the hive swarm, catch the swarm, harvest the queen cells after the hive swarmed and make mating nucs. Choose a good (nice laying pattern) young queen after the mating, introduce her into the original hive. The swarms goes into a fresh hive. This way you get a new hive and you have the old one.

Do not try to make more hives out of the original one. Prevent cast swarms or combine cast swarms. Better catch swarms in your area for further increase.

2) Natural beekeeper, plans to expand to about 10 hives, honey production is not the primary goal. Lives in the city, many and sensitive neighbours.

Start with two hives minimum. Use frames/half-frames or moveable topbars (TBH). After the first buildup in Spring, with the beginning swarm season, remove half of the brood combs of each hive and combine it into a new hive. With bees and all. The best is to graft some cells and let this split draw the queen cells. Pinch all but one queen cell. Choose the one, that has most bees sitting on it. The good cells have bees clinging to it, the more bees the better. (The bees choose.) Let the queen emerge and mate. From each old hive take a comb of capped worker brood and place it into the new hive. This way you get young bees into the hive to keep up the right mixture of young and old bees. Until the new queen is laying properly. Build up the colony strong for winter.

3) Honey farmer or side liner, plans to expand to more than 30 hives, honey production is the primary goal.

Everything above 25 hives is going to be costly. Per hive you need 100 € per year current expenses. Makes 2,500 € per year per 25 hives. For 25 hives you need to invest at least 2,500 € for the hives - minimum. (Precut lumber, bought in bulk.) If you buy Dadant or other frame hives 25 hives with all equipment gonna cost you 6-8,000 €. Plus the current expenses of the first year. Plus the other equipment for harvesting honey and transport of your hives.

Forget about building your own equipment. With greater number of hives, everything has to be perfectly compatible and must work properly. Or you spend a lot of time and money in workarounds and to heal failures. Also forget about making your own hives. Instead of splitting your hives to death, it is far better to buy in the hives you need. This way you have a good return on investment in your first years. Which is very very important to get up and running. Make boxes, buy bees. Don't have too much pride to buy bees. Also buy the best quality queens that you can get in your region. After you get your bees, you build up new hives by:

a. Taking one or two combs of capped brood per hive in Spring and combine them into a new hive. Eight combs per new hive minimum. Raise queens in the new hive by grafting. Give them 5 cells, remove all but one later.

b. At summer solstice (June 21st), remove all brood from the production hives, merge the brood of two hives into one new hive. Give them a ripe queen cell. Add a strip of thymol/hopguard for varroa treatment. Let the queens mate and build up the colony for overwintering.

Starting with lets say 30 hives, 30/8=~4 new hives in Spring and 30/2 = 15 new hives you end up with 19 new hives. That's an increase of 50 % each year - after you sorted out 4 out of 19 new hives. Do sort out weak hives or requeen them as soon as possible. You will take winter losses. So produce 30 % more hives than you need. So from 19 new hives, take away 4 hives, makes 15 new hives out of 30 original hives = 50 % increase each year.

The rule of thumb is: make half the number of new hives as you have old hives. This way you increase stable and strong with good returns. Otherwise, if you split up your hives faster, you end up with weaker hives, more problems that you can imagine and a loss in time and money. One can throw a lot of money at bees, for food, hives and all, getting only a little return. Return is important otherwise you dry out and go bankrupt the next year. You really exhaust your finances when keeping more hives, so be careful. Bills keep coming in, that's not so sure for the income. You also end up with less hives than you expected to get. So in the long run it is wise to grow a bit slower by making 50 % new hives each year.

If you want to increase faster for whatever reasons: buy in bees and hunt for swarms.

The above are just rough sketches for a stable increase, which need to be adjusted here and there for local conditions and personal goals, too. However, in a book about skep beekeeping from 1880 you can read: the beginner likes to have long rows of bee hives. But the advise is: better keep fewer hives but of superior quality. (Book Die Hauptstücke der Lüneburger Korbimkerei written by Georg Heinrich Lehzen year 1880)) Even the oldtimers knew it in the good ol' days and this is true for us, as well.

With a huge number of hives, say 300 hives or so, you have a different situation and much more possibilities, so it is less dangerous to split the hives into very small units. You can throw a lot stuff to those nucs, because you have a lot of ressources and backup. You also have a lot of hive experience. (Hive experience = number of hives x number of years; I learned a lot more when increasing hive numbers, a huge leap in experience, because in one season you have much more observations and cases. That is the interesting part of keeping more hives, you do see more.)

But even the experienced beekeepers with high counts of hives will rethink their strategies once the environment changes. In a pesticide-drenched environment you can't risk keeping weaker hives, or lets see it this way: the environment harms and weakens your hives and any further weakness added by the beekeeper leads to heavy losses. Inevitably. It happened and still happens to very experienced people here, who for example kept 50 hives for 50 years so 2,500 hive years. You can't tell their looks when they crash down to less than ten hives. It is a sad thing to see their pride being broken into pieces.

And more trouble is underway. Hive beetle, the Asian hornet (arrived in South Germany this year), new systemic pesticides...name it.

We as natural beekeepers know best what's best for the bees, because we already did care for the bees' needs and limited our expectations on honey harvests voluntarily. So I think there is a great future for natural beekeepers in a harsh environment. Especially if we learn to increase without much doping (feeding pollen patties and syrup), without too many treatments (an acaricide is also an insecticide, "side-effects") and learn how to increase while keeping the colony as strong as possible at all times. So the inner power and energy comes from the colony itself and not so much from us supporting the colony all the time. I reckon for this we need to learn to sort out weaker colonies more quickly by requeening. Weak hives are potentially spreading illnesses into the other hives, so we should do the job of the bear. Or the robber bees will do it (the dark and brutal side of the otherwise lovely honeybee), but most likely get contaminated.

Just my thoughts.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
CharlieBnoobee
Guard Bee


Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 97
Location: Virginia,USA; S. Appalachians;USDA zn. 6a

PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2014 12:24 am    Post subject: Making Increase for the Compleat Newb Reply with quote

zaunreiter wrote:

Just my thoughts.


Once again, Bernhard shows his strong penchant for wild understatement.
Notice the time interval between my post and his reply. Does he not sleep??
It will take me about a week of spare time thinking/writing to prepare a list of questions to put to him. I'm still working on questions for Colin re his initial post. and, like most of us, there are matters and persons who have claims on my time; unlike most, my mill, while grinding reasonably fine, does so exceedingly s-l-o-o-w-w!
Nevertheless I'm already thinking about the combination of Situation 1. (rural natural beek) transitioning into Situation 3. (rural sideline honey business) after a few years.

BTW, "y'all" is southern US for "you" plural— hint, hint, nudge, nudge.

Charlie
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> Conventional and miscellaneous hives All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

SPECIAL OFFER FOR UK FORUM MEMBERS - Buy your protective clothing here and get a special 15% discount! (use the code BAREFOOTBEEKEEPER at checkout and be sure to 'update basket')



Are the big energy companies bleeding you dry?


Is way too much of your hard-earned family income going up in smoke?

Are you worried about what could happen if the ageing grid system fails?

You need to watch this short video NOW to find out how YOU can cut your energy bills TO THE BONE within 30 days!

WATCH THE VIDEO NOW



(country selected automatically - UK/USA/CA/AU)

Conserving wild bees

Research suggests that bumble bee boxes have a very low success rate in actually attracting bees into them. We find that if you create an environment where first of all you can attract mice inside, such as a pile of stones, a drystone wall, paving slabs with intentionally made cavities underneath, this will increase the success rate.

Most bumble bee species need a dry space about the size a football, with a narrow entrance tunnel approximately 2cm in diameter and 20 cm long. Most species nest underground along the base of a linear feature such as a hedge or wall. Sites need to be sheltered and out of direct sunlight.

There is a spectacular display of wild bee hotels here

More about bumblebees and solitary bees here

Information about the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

Barefoot Beekeeper Podcast



Now available from Lulu.com


Now available from Lulu.com


Now available from Lulu.com


4th Edition paperback now available from Lulu.com

See beekeeping books for details and links to ebook versions.
site map
php. BB © 2001, 2005 php. BB Group

View topic - Making Increase Without Splits ... - Natural Beekeeping Network Forum