Browsing Category : Natural Beekeeping 101

Varroa mite treatment – Season 7


Natural beekeepers practice different philosophies on treatment of bees. Some will use essential oils. Some will do nothing and breed for mite resistance. In this post, I will explain my own methods of dealing with the dreaded Varroa destructor mite, the worst parasite and enemy of Apis mellifera (Honey bee). What does the mite want to do with the bees?…

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Swarm prevention and expansion – Season 7


It is late spring (May). Swarm prevention is a hot topic among beekeepers. Honey bees tend to swarm less than other species, although their swarming behavior vary among breeds… Here is a list of the three common reasons for swarming, which should apply to Apis mellifera: The bees swarm, when the colony gets crowded (too many bees in all stages of development).…

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Winter Inspection of beehives

Winter Inspection – Season 6


Winter is the easiest and the most difficult season. Not much needs to be done. And not much can be done, when things go very wrong. Often, the weather plays a big role. It may be very cold, or very wet. Nosema is a big threat because of those cold and wet months. It may be that the temperatures fluctuate…

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winterizing a beehive

Winterizing Hives – Season 6


It is the most critical time of the year. The colonies will not raise brood until the spring, so the bees that were raised in the fall is all we have got. The bees stay in a tight cluster during the colder temperatures. The bees on the outside of the cluster need to rotate with the ones inside the cluster…

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Honey bee phenotype (breed)

Your honey bee phenotype (breed): Part I


  At times, I get to explain to somebody why we prefer Italian honey bees here, in Northern Alabama. As I start discussing the pros of breeding bees suitable for the climate, I always get a question about mite resistance. After all, I am a natural beekeeper and I don’t treat for mites in a traditional way… My answer is…

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Feeding bees should the priority of every beekeeper

Feeding bees in winter – Season 6


I believe that feeding bees is an underrated topic among beekeepers. Medicating bees is the most discussed and certainly overrated topic, on my account. So, it is no surprise that every year, many beginner  beekeepers starve their colonies. Even experienced beekeepers starve their colonies, when they unexpectedly explode in growth in the spring. Those two pictures above are of the…

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Bee in Harmony by Sophia Rowe

Changing comb – Part 4 – Season 6


In Part 2 and Part 3 of Changing Comb series for this Season 6, I told about removing of the old comb (foundation) from the beehive before preparing the colony for the winter. This is a modified by me method (called the Bailey comb change method) described in BeeCraft, July 2016, by Jason Learner from National Bee Unit British organization. The difference…

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Changing comb – Part 3 – Season 6


In the last post, I described how I removed the old comb from my four deep double super beehives. I still had three hives in regular supers, which needed to have their old foundation removed. So, in this post, I am going to talk about them. 1. I start with placing a clean bottom board and deep super next to the…

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Old comb - Bee In Harmony

Changing comb – Part 2 – Season 6


The fall is here. It is time to harvest honey. For us, natural beekeepers, it is also time to  change the comb (foundation). Every year, as I harvest my honey, I change from deep double supers to my regular width deep supers, and in the process, I inspect each frame, looking for any dark comb and brood. I either set it aside for…

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Honey comb - Bee in Harmony - a natural beekeeper's blog

Changing comb – Part 1 – Season 6


If I was allowed to talk about only one rule every natural beekeeper should abide by, it would be changing honey comb (foundation) yearly. Yes, it means that the bees will be spending time, energy and food on building new foundation (so, I make them do it in the fall). Yes, you will need to be monitoring the hive for some stubborn…

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Honey - Bee in Harmony - Rowe Apiaries

Adding honey supers – Season 6


We have had very hot and dry months of June and July, so it was a great relief to get some rain in August. I was able to check on two of the four beehives that I had set up for making honey (with double deep supers). Two of them were ready for expansion. Deep double supers are waiting for expansion You…

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Honey - Bee in Harmony

Fast expanding hives – Season 6


In my previous post, I described how I had five colonies, four of which were moved into double-deep-super size beehives for the summer expansion (they are my honey making colonies). I made a split from one of those colonies.   The fifth colony was split as well, with both beehives positioned on the same stand, equal distance away from the…

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