BIODYNAMIC BEEKEEPING IN WINTER & PROTOTYPE TOP BAR HIVE

THE SUN’S WINTER RETREAT

The Sun has gone on a Cosmic Retreat,
She packed up her radiance, light and heat;
And just when all was seemingly dark,
She made herself known inside of my Heart.
SKL – 2014

It has been quite a winter so far and the bees must truly be enjoying their in-floor heating system in the hives. Two nights ago Klaus once again put on his big winter snowsuit and crawled on the ground to look under each hive and ensure that no bulbs had blown and that they were getting that extra heat source for the super cold weather we seem to be experiencing here in Nova Scotia. In the dark of the night he could confirm all was well and the bulbs were shining forth their favour. One of our fellow biodynamic beekeepers wrote to us today saying ” So amazing to peek inside & see the bees slowly moving about on the comb in the ‘firelight'”. How cool is that?!

Yesterday we had -30 degrees windchill, and a blizzard . As the big snowplough came down our half a kilometre driveway,blowing the snow into the field; we were outside with teaspoons, shovelling the bees entrances, which had become blocked with snow. Even though the bees will not come out in this cold weather, they need these entrances open for air circulation and for when they come out on sunny warm days, in the winter, to do a cleansing flight. Taking care of the honey bees as a Life- Enhancing- Intent means that we are thinking about their well being all the time- – – perhaps that is a good definition of a biodynamic beekeeper. It is a privilege to be involved with such a wonder in nature as the honey bee. If you have hives in winter conditions, it is a good practice to check the hives when the snowfall is deep, when the winds are extraordinarily high and from time to time, to monitor for bee- predators such as skunks or racoons or badgers.

Winter Reading

The New View magazine,( January Issue), has done a wonderful review on the life and work of Rachel Carson,the biologist who wrote The Silent Spring which exposed the scandal of DDT. Can you imagine that in the 50’s there was compulsory spraying of DDT and your land got sprayed whether you liked it or not!? This book ,written in l962, has much to say to us today and her statement “that wildlife was systemically wiped out when compulsory
sprayings of substances like DDT were used and, moreover, damage to the immune system of animal, bird and human life could be evidenced” seems to be what we are saying today about neonicitinoids and GMO crops and the bees. Carson also wrote a book called
“A Sense of Wonder” and we look forward to feeding our intellect and our Soul with pictures which reconnect us to the symbiotic relationships with the natural world around us, which help to define us as being Human..

Top Bar Hive Prototype

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It has come to our attention that there are many people who can just not handle the heavy weights involved in the lifting of the supers- 80 to 90 pounds per super.
Also there seem to be a number of people who would just prefer to use the Top Bar Hives in their natural beekeeping. After the usual research on this subject, we found that the hives being used for top- bar -hive beekeeping needed to have some alterations to give the bees the proper ventilation and space which they need and to deal with the proactive -health- practices which help the bees to remain free of diseases. We developed a five foot long top bar hive with a slotted -bottom- board and a screened- bottom- board and it even has the Drone Cafe for stress- relief- space for the bees. By looking at the pictures above you can see how this project manifested into reality. We love it! The bees love it! And hopefully this very democratic prototype of hive will open up natural beekeeping based on biodynamic principles to a broader number of people who will also love it! Klaus is just about to start filling some orders for this prototype top bar hive which were received from people who took the course at Bello Uccello Honey Bee Sanctuary. It definitely will look quite lovely in a backyard garden or in an apiary . Stay posted for more photos and more info on how to construct your own Top Bar Hive!

If this weather keeps up we will have to train the bees to knit!

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One thought on “BIODYNAMIC BEEKEEPING IN WINTER & PROTOTYPE TOP BAR HIVE

  1. I’ve been thinking about top-bar hives, and wondering what is the best kind to make! Thanks for sharing your information, and I look forward to the plans. Glad to hear the bees are making it through, with a little extra heat, I was worried about them. I wonder how wild hives make it through this kind of weather? Hoping to meet you in person when the weather improves! Carmel

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