Natural Beekeeping vs Conventional Industrial-style Beekeeping
In the video, I am reporting from our ForestBeehive apiary located in the woodlands of Central Maine next to a secluded forest lake and a 3,000 acre state-owned land – a wildlife sanctuary.
By the way, beekeeping in the US is treated as farming by federal and state regulators.
To illustrate a difference between natural beekeeping and conventional or Industrial-style beekeeping, first I want to draw a very brief comparison of natural vs industrial farming styles for a different branch of farming – raising chickens.
In industrial-style chicken farming, the chickens are raised in the most overcrowded way imaginable and medicated with antibiotics such as tetracycline, etc.
While in nature chickens rest when it’s dark, in the chicken factories the bright lights are mostly kept on day and night to increase egg-laying and not let their chickens rest.
When the free-range chickens are raised naturally, there is plenty of foraging space and no overcrowding, their chicken feed is never medicated with antibiotics.
Although the productivity of natural chicken farms is lower, their chickens and eggs are a completely different product – they have the highest quality, higher protein content, have fewer pathogens and are super tasty.
And now, back to the honeybees where we also have a conventional, industrial-style beekeeping and natural beekeeping.
Each honeybee colony has tens of thousands of honeybees and for natural foraging, each colony needs a minimum of 1 acre of clean forage-able sources of nectar and pollen far away from agrochemicals.
With conventional industrial-style beekeeping, the honeybees usually lack sufficient clean natural foraging resources and become as overcrowded as factory-raised chickens. And just like factory chickens such bees need to be medicated and need supplemental artificial feedings – in case of the bees – it’s mostly sugar feedings.
By sugar-feeding the bees, conventional industrial-style beekeepers obtain the honey yield up to 3 times greater than that of natural beekeepers but such conventional honey is a very different product.
Natural beekeepers provide more than 1 acre of natural habitat for each bee colony and they never medicate their bees and never feed bees sugar as sugar only contains carbs while naturally foraged nectar and pollen have vitamins, proteins and hundreds of micro and macro nutrients that are essential for the bees’ health.
By the way, do you know what ‘Bee Bread’ is?
Bee Bread is what the bees feed their young with.
Bee Bread is a tasty nutrient-packed and protein rich aromatic substance containing a mix of pollen fermented with bees’ enzymes and honey.
Bee Bread is present in the brood nest and can only be safely collected by Natural Beekeepers as only natural beekeepers do not medicate their bees – neither with chemicals, nor acids, nor oils. With conventional beekeeping, it is not safe to collect Bee Bread as the brood nest would be the most medicated part of the hive – whether with chemicals or acids or oils.
Bee bread contains micro- and macro-nutrients, a lot of iron, and vitamins.
Natural beekeepers have some Bee bread present in their honey which substantially increases the honey’s pollen count, and enhances the taste and nutritive value.