The start of our natural bee keeping adventures

Back in February I wrote about natural bee keeping and it’s integral role in the Permaculture garden and you can click here if you’d like to read it again. We were so inspired after attending an amazing natural beekeeping course in February with the even more amazing Tim Malfroy that we decided natural bee keeping was defintely for us.

A few days later we placed an order for a Warré Hive and we are very proud to announce that our beautiful hive has arrived!

Our Warré Hive handmade by Tim Malfroy from Australian plantation timber

We have no bees as yet because it’s still Winter in Sydney but we’re hoping as the weather warms, a swarm will become available.

This will give us plenty of time to get our hive set up and in location, ready and prepared for the ensuing bees. We’ve decided that we’re going to paint our hive and I’ll be sure to update you on the outcome of that little creative adventure.

As you know our backyard is far from usual and slopes steeply downward into a rather large adjoining bushland area. Our hive will sit within our Permaculture garden at the ready to pollinate our collection of fruit and vegetables, flowers and native plants. Below the hive, at the bottom of our block is our Permacultre Zone 5 – a completely natural area  with myriad native plants and eucalypts, native animals, log hollows and rockshelves and provides a direct link to the bushland below. Because out sloped land falls away from the garden, our bees will have the perfect launching pad with an uninhibited flight path direct from the hive into the eucalypt forest.

 Our Warré Hive will be located directly behind the yellow Bali flag on a small cleared pad. We’re monitoring the site for wind using the flag as a windsock. If the location istoo windy it means the bees will have to work really hard to maintain the optimum hive temperature.

Most of the Sydney eaucalypts have a two year flowering season so honey bees tend to produce more prolific supplies every second year, even commercially there is a noticable difference in quantaties and this is one of the reasons commercial bee keepers have several locations for their hives. But we’re not worried about that because we believe our bees will provide us with more than enough honey and hopefully some surplus to share amongst family and friends. As we’re coming into an off season, it will be the perfect time for our bees to establish their hive and be ready for full production the following Spring.

When our bees arrive they’ll be busy making their very own honeycomb as natural bee keeping encourages bees to express their bee-ness, an ethical approach to bee keeping. It also allows the bees to determine the size of their colony and produce the perfect cell size and population mix.  Like the rest of our lives, there’ll be strictly no pesticide use and we’ll only be taking the honey we need so they have plenty to eat through Winter. This will negate the necessity of artificial feeding through Winter and also prevent them from looking for honey from potentially deseased hives further afield. It will also mean disturbance to the hive will be kept to a minimum which frees up our time for other tasks around the property. For us this is the perfect Permaculture partnership.

It’s going to be a terrific experience and I’ll defintely post more as things progress. In the meantime we’ll be busy reading up and preparing for the arrival of our bees and as I imagine the time when we celebrate the tasting of our very first Warré honey I can’t help but smile and think…how lucky are we!

Next time I’ll be telling you about the sad side of keeping backyard chickens.

6 responses to “The start of our natural bee keeping adventures

  1. Eileen Grudnoff

    the anticiipation of expectant parents is a beautiful thing to see …how exciting for you….hope you have plenty of names chosen ….keep me posted

  2. We’ll probably be long gone by the time we get around to naming the entire colony!

  3. I was reading about natural bee keeping a couple of months ago and got all excited… but then we decided we really didn’t need yet another pet (or group of pets) to find someone else to look after when we go to live o/s for six months, which we are planning to do in 2014. And we have a cross-the-road neighbour who keeps bees already, so there are lots around. I still want my own though 🙂

    Sorry to read about your chook, Noodle. It is so hard to part with beloved pets.

    • Thanks for stopping by Kirsten. The whole pet minding thing can be a drag when you go away and definitely not a good idea with an overseas trip on the horizon. Hopefully you’ll have an opportunity down the track. I’m looking forward to reporting on our bee progress.

  4. Hey there! I just came across this blog when looking up ‘ethical beekeeping’, and I’m curious as to how things have BEEn going on this front 🙂

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