Category Archives: Natural Beekeeping

Natural Beekeeping Q&A in Katoomba

NBK - hands with comb

Hey Blue Mountains crew! Just a note that Tim is squeezing in a morning’s Q&A on November 15th at Katoomba.

Like our city Q&A, this will be a great chance to ask those burning beekeeping questions you have AND meet other natural beekeepers and organise to swap knowledge, tools and skills amongst a local network of folks doing good things.

Details are here: Natural Beekeeping Q&A: Nov 15: Katoomba

Snowy times at Tim’s Warre Apiary

1407 snw on warres - 01

One of the gorgeous features of a Warré Hive is their cute gabled roofs. In Australia, those gables help primarily with insulating the hive from extreme heat (and therefore lowering colony stress) by providing circulation.

The Warré Hive was, however, developed in France – and those beautiful gabled roofs were originally designed for winter snows! Which is exactly what our friends at Malfroy’s Gold Warré apiary in Rocklea had a bunch of this week…  Continue reading

Keeping Stingless Bees in the City


More than ever, the world is waking up to the importance of bees in our ecology.

More and more folk are exploring beekeeping, whether it’s for the honey harvest, the extra pollination of our food thanks to those bees working busily on all things pollen, or purely for the fascination of these brilliant insects.  Continue reading

Urban Stingless Beehive: harvesting and splitting

1310 stingless split 22

Australian native stingless bees are similar to european honeybees in many ways, but they’re also very different, too.

This week I was lucky enough to attend a harvest and a hive split of these amazing social insects, in a inner-city backyard in Sydney…  Continue reading

Natural Beekeeping Q&A next weekend in Sydney

1310 NBK f1

Being a beginner beekeeper involves asking an awful lot of questions. In a good way. You are, after all, taking on the stewardship of a super-organism composed of between 20 and 60,000 individual bees.

In light of the constant stream of questions that Tim Malfroy fields from students, Tim and I decided it was high time to get the Sydney-ish community of budding natural beekeepers together for a Q&A before Spring hits.

So! If you’re a budding beekeeper, please join us for our inaugural Natural Beekeeping Q&A happening next weekend at 107 Projects in Redfern, on Sunday 1st September.

3 hours of asking, thinking, listening and networking, as well as eating Tim’s Warré honeycomb on sourdough bread! Huzzah. I’m really looking forward to it. See you there?

Drawing the comb downwards (video)

This is a great little video from Gaia Bees, an American natural beekeeper doing some very interesting work in bee colony resilience and apicentric beekeeping.

The super interesting thing about this video is that it clearly shows how, in a ‘wild hive’, the colony starts at the highest point of the cavity, and draws their comb downwards. This is precisely what Emile Warré was trying to mimic with the way his ‘people’s hive’ worked, and with his approach to beekeeping…  Continue reading

Researching: solar-powered beeswax extractors

Wax melter

Once you start natural beekeeping with Warré hives, you can look forward to your first honey harvest. Harvesting from a Warré hive means crushing frames of luscious honeycomb to remove the honey. That is, if you don’t eat all your harvest straight up as chunks of raw honeycomb, which is tempting.

But honey in a jar has its place, so likely you’ll decide to crush and strain some of it. And when you do, you will be left with a mush of sticky waxy stuff. Time to convert that into beautiful golden beeswax!  Continue reading

A peek inside a stingless beehive…

1306 Inside singless hive - 03

‘Sugarbag bees’ are the common name for Australia’s native and social stingless bees, which home themselves in hollow logs and produce these amazing hexagonal spiral combs to rear their baby bees in.

These stingless bees can also be kept in boxes in your front yard in some parts of Australia; they pollinate many different flowers, are fascinating to watch and even sometimes produce enough honey for you to have a taste… Continue reading

Checking the bees and hoping for honeyflows

1303 bee check - 1

The other day Tim Malfroy, our mate and esteemed Warré beekeeper, came over to talk bees and check the Milkwood hives. We had hoped to split our two Warré hives into four colonies this season, but it looks like we’re sitting on that idea now.

Why? Erratic flowering patterns – the eucalypts around here are still sitting on their hands, so to speak. Not a flower in sight. So while our bees have been working our market garden and all the wildflowers and weeds around here hard, they’re still doing it tough.  Continue reading

The Sun Hive: experimental Natural Beekeeping

Sun Hive landing board

Sun Hives are a hive design coming out of Germany and now gathering interest in Britain. They’re part of the world-wide movement towards ‘apicentric’ beekeeping – beekeeping that prioritizes honeybees firstly as pollinators, with honey production being a secondary goal.

The Sun Hive is modeled in part on the traditional European skep hive, and is aimed at creating a hive that maximises colony health. The main thing I love about this hive and the enthusiasm surrounding it is not the hive itself, but the philosophy behind it, that of apicentric beekeeping. Continue reading


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