Natural Bee Keeping Has Its Challenges

September 5, 2015 | What's The Buzz?

Abbey bee line

There’s so much to discover about the care of our bees. I feel very protective of them already. I have established a bee garden, after finding out which flowers they love, but more importantly I’ve planted herbs and plants which will help them, ie. chamomile and basil, tea tree, garlic, spearmint and peppermint, lemon balm.

Small Hive Beetle

  • The small hive beetle can desimate a hive. It is attracted to honey and lays her eggs in the cells of the bees, where her larvae hatch with the bees. You end up with a big mess of destroyed comb! If we can’t eliminate the beetle at least we can make it difficult for the beetle to thrive.
  • These small hive beetles emit a slime which has a yeast in it like candida. Poor bees!!! Hence the garden has become a source for the medicinal plants that eliminate candida i.e. garlic and tea tree. Bees love both of these plants. Something tells me that the bees would naturally know what will help them, so if I just put these medicinal plants in their way they’ll use them when they need. We are about natural bee keeping so nature has to provide the answers to our problems, and she does.
  • Small hive beetles don’t like dry hard clay ground, so we may have to place the hives on hard clay ground around the abbey and not where the vegetation will draw moisture and the soil help the beetle cycle.
  • Once the small hive beetle larvae has dropped out of the hive into the soil, it needs the ph of the soil to be about 6. I figure if I lower the ph of the soil the larvae won’t like it. Pine needles at the bottom of the hive might help matters. All our solutions have to be bee friendly.
  • Small hive beetles thrive in humid conditions, which we do have here at the Abbey, being a rainforest area. Hmm… well the task is to reduce the humidity of the hive. The natural way to do this might be to place dry clay  in the ends of the top bar hive to absorb the moisture.

Most importantly the colony of bees needs to be kept strong and healthy. The bees themselves do manage intruders in the hive so a small number of beetles will be tolerated. I just want to stack the odds against the beetles and not let them flourish. 

On a learning curve.      

Abbey bee hive