Category Archives: Experimentation

ONBG meeting, 13th May 2017 – swarms and exotic hives

Eighteen folk met at Gareth’s apiary in West Oxfordshire, where he experiments with hive variations and populates them with free mated bees descended from the extensive population of local ferals. Gareth is a trustee of the Natural Beekeeping Trust, has … Continue reading

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Cob beehive – an experimental top-bar hive adaption

One of the key pieces of advice for any new beekeeper is to have at least two populated-hives. In the event that a hive becomes queenless, brood-comb from another can be moved to it (so the bees can raise an emergency … Continue reading

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Modelling a Beehive

In the grey days between Christmas and the start of the New Year, I spent some time trying to develop a computer-model of a beehive. The first version had been very basic – it considered the egg-laying rate, the time that … Continue reading

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“How many bees?”

“How many bees do you have?” “Just one hive.” “But how many bees?” It’s a question that I’m often asked, and one that I could never satisfactorily answer. I’ll usually explain that I don’t know exactly: “the population varies through the year – higher … Continue reading

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New research on natural selection and honey bee health

An interesting paper by heavyweight apiology researchers Professor Peter Neumann and Dr Tjeerd Blacquière is being published in the mainstream, peer reviewed research journal Evolutionary Applications. The paper recommends major changes to beekeeping practises in order to address various health … Continue reading

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Observations with an Infrared Camera

The seasons are turning: we have days of fireworks and poppies, of squirrels skittish on ripe conkers, and clock-hours turning back. I worry about the bees. As I walk, misty-breathed beside the Thames, I think of them huddled together in … Continue reading

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Racial profiling of North Oxfordshire mongrels

Like many natural beekeepers, I am interested in having locally adapted bees, especially tough “survivor stock” from unmanaged feral colonies which thrive without treatments for varroa mites. In observing my several swarm-caught colonies, all gathered ‘locally’, I have always wondered … Continue reading

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