QUEEN “MUM” BEE LEAVES HOME or REBIRTH OF THE HIVE

REBIRTH OF THE HIVE , or in regular language, swarming season has arrived here at Bello Uccello Apiary. It usually happens after May l7th here
in Nova Scotia, and it makes for a very busy time for a keeper of bees who uses biodynamic beekeeping principles . For the 21st century-
regular- commercial- beekeeper swarming just means a loss of bees and trouble and so they split the hives before this happens. For the biodynamic
beekeeper the swarming is an ancient and respected part of the hive life cycle. Swarming
is when the bees in the hive have decided it is time for the Queen Mum to leave home and set up a new hive elsewhere.
Before this happens, the Queen Mum Bee has been forced, or tricked through instinct, to make some Queen cells which the worker bees
will protect and feed with royal jelly so that one of them will become a new Queen for the original hive. The first out of the cell usually wins
as she will search out the other cells with queens in them and kill them. They even make a loud piping song as this rather
brutal and primative ritual takes place – maybe its a dirge . Sometimes the mother and the daughter can live in the
same hive, but you know this doesn’t usually workout in life as there is only one kitchen and someone has to be in charge:-} So swarming is
a wonderful thing which happens when usually the Queen Mum flies towards the sun and hundreds of bees from the hive go with her. There is
something so moving in watching this rebirth happen – deep, mysterious and awesome. At the end this results in two hives.

What happened at our workshop this past weekend was amazing in that, just as we were entering the apiary to do a hive inspection, we had a Swarming take place.
The bees were very cooperative and just swarmed onto a small apple tree in the apiary. This is a picture of Klaus shaking the swarm into a bucket.
We could not have planned such a wonderful event for the training – the participants had the opportunity to participate in the hiving of the swarm.
We have named the hive Friends 2012 and with any luck that hive will provide a split for one of them for next year. This whole thing that I am describing to you
is a generational lineage with mothers and daughters carrying traits and genetics forward from one hive to the next. This is a healthy and natural
way to have new queens and new hives. What beekeepers have been practising for the past 100 years, that has contributed to the degradation of the
gene pool of the bees and therefore to their weakened immune system, is Queen breeding. The majority of Queen bees now come from a small handful of
Queen breeders. Imagine if humans all decided to mate with a handful of females – what on earth would we as humans look like? The Queen breeders also
decided to breed out of the species propolis production as an inconvenient glue in the hive, therefore removing the amazing antibiotic protection for the bees which propolis brings to the bees and also the swarming tendency . Combine this situation with regular antibiotic and drug treatment in the hive and what we have
successfully created is very weak beehives and very super strong pests and diseases.

DSC05409 Klaus shaking the swarm into his “bee catcher” which is basically a plastic bucket with some additions made to it.

Here are the participants of our Natural Beekeeping Workshop for Beginners based on Biodynamic Principles which took place May 26-27 in Plympton,NS. Canada We had a great workshop and
without exception, each person was a “natural” at being a keeper of bees. The conversations were good, the weather cooperated, the food was yummy, the hives were more than cooperative
and here at Bello Uccello apiary we will look forward to working with these new friends as keeper of bees ,as they establish their own apiaries.

DSC05437

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One thought on “QUEEN “MUM” BEE LEAVES HOME or REBIRTH OF THE HIVE

  1. Hi Shirley and Klaus,
    I’ve been going through all your posts, educating myself on the natural way of keeping bees. I have been interested in bees for some time, but did not want to act on the desire yet, as I have no experience in bee keeping, and I don’t want to repeat the problems I see in the bee world. I have a rustic farm, and have been implementing biodynamic principles myself, first with the Stella Natura planting calendar, now about to start with the composting, cow horns, etc.

    Here is a link to my blog, and a post I did upon finding I have honeybees here, wild ones I am assuming! http://turtlehillfarm.wordpress.com/

    I am interested in your bee keeping course in the Springtime, please tell me when, and what the details are to sign up. My budget is tight right now, I can probably put a deposit to reserve a space, but may not be able to pay the whole amount in advance at one time.

    Thank-you for sharing your love of bees and the natural world!

    Carmel Smith

    p.s. Tilo (Bear River Biodynamic) was the one who put me on to you as a natural bee-keeper. I’ve taken a workshop with him.

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