Tag Archives: natural beekeeping

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

Building bee resilience in the face of changing climate patterns

bees2

This Summer has been downright weird, weather-wise. Which has meant all sorts of things, for all sorts of things. Including for the bees of Milkwood Farm, and the bees of eastern Australia in general.

For the central west of NSW (Where Milkwood Farm is) it’s been a crazy dry Spring/Summer with short downpours, following on from three very wet summers. This means in turn that all the flowering patterns of many trees around us have gone somewhat skewiff, and the bees have had to adapt accordingly. Continue reading

Bee Friendly: A planting guide for European honeybees and Australian native pollinators

bee friendly cover cropped

This new pdf resource is free to download and a great document for anyone wanting to ensure their garden, verge, community patch or farm is as pollinator friendly as it can possibly be.

It’s a guide put out by Rural Industries Research and Development, and is a fantastic resource covering ideas for bee-friendly plantings in both urban and rural areas. It’s chock-full of planting guides, nectary calendars for different Australian climates, and pollinator garden design… Continue reading

Moving the Warré beehives

Ever since we did our Warré apiary design, we’ve been waiting to move the hives to their new hive stands. But we needed to wait till the depth of winter to do it, when the bees have stopped flying and are safe and warm in their hives. So last Sunday was the day!

Together, Tim Malfroy and Nick carefully prepared and then moved moved both our current warré hives to their new hardwood stands… and this is how they did it: Continue reading

Designing the Warré Apiary at Milkwood Farm

Designing the Warré honeybee apiary at Milkwood Farm has taken some protracted thought and planning. As well as designing for bee health, we’re also designing for educational access and best-practice Warré beekeeping, on a slightly tricky site.

The site selected for the apiary is a good one for our climate – an E-N/E facing nook, protected from western sun and southern winds. The main challenge has been the slope, and the fact that the surrounding earthworks that protect the site also limit its access. Continue reading

New press for crushing wild honeycomb

I am a little bit in love with our new honey press. It is made from stainless steel and it can crush close to a whole box of natural honeycomb in one fell squish. What better way to get all that goodness of the pollen, propolis and of course the honey into the jar? Continue reading

Autumn Natural Beekeeping Course… Honey Harvest Time!

Last weekend we held our annual Autumn Natural Beekeeping course at Milkwood Farm. We got to harvest Warré honeycomb for eating, press a bunch of stored honeycomb, and check one of the Warré hives as part of the course. It was an amazing two days with a great crew of folks… Continue reading

How to harvest Honey from Natural Comb

Once you’ve harvested your natural honeycomb from your Warré (or other kind of top bar) beehive, it’s time to make get some of that goodness into jars! Fortunately, like many other aspects of natural beekeeping, getting the honey out of natural comb is easy and simple, once you know how.

We’re just at the start of our beekeeping journey, but still, even though we don’t have whizz-bang equipment, we found this a wonderfully tactile and rewarding experience. It’s prettymuch just a case of crushing the comb, sieving it, and bottling the results. 100% organic yum, with all the goodness of the honey still utterly intact.

Continue reading

On the topography of honeycomb…

Bit of a mid-summer treat yesterday: Tim Malfroy came to help check our Warré beehives and bliss us out with amazing discussions on pollination, super organisms and honey. We got some amazing photos of summer in beeland.

Summer in the Australian bush (in a good year) is like nirvana for honey bees, thanks to the abundance of flowering eucalyptus. So much nectar. So much pollen. The Milkwood Farm bees are going nuts!

Continue reading

Natural Beekeeping Resources: best books

The super-organism of the honeybee (apis mellifera) is not only awe-inspiring, it’s worth understanding. Both for your own personal gratification, and for the pollination of your nation.

This list is a part of the notes we provide to students at the Natural Beekeeping courses we run with Tim Malfroy. It’s a list of Tim’s favorite books on bees, garnered from a lifetime of active research, practice, and discussion. Continue reading

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