Forest Beehive apiary is located on the left side of this secluded forest lake. On the right side of the lake there’s a state owned land – a 3,000 acre wildlife sanctuary.
ForestBeehive apiary on the left side of the lake is a veritable HoneyBee Sanctuary: isolated unpolluted land with no agro-chemicals for miles, plenty of natural Spring-to-Fall foraging resources for the honeybees, so there’s no need for us to artificially supplement the bees’ diet with sugar or corn syrup as commonly practiced in conventional beekeeping.
You can refer to multiple studies & references why supplemental sugar feeding is bad for the bees. Here’s a warning from Malta Beekeepers Association “Why feeding bees sugar is bad for both them & you”.
My own primary reason, however, for not sugar-feeding the bees is that … I prefer the taste of real honey from real flowers.
Speaking of taste, after a friend of ours tried our Maine Wilderness Honey, he made my day when he said & I quote: “I don’t know about 40 virgins in Heaven, but if they don’t have over there honey like this one, I am not going”.
Jokes aside, at ForestBeehive apiary we only harvest surplus honey and once per year, leaving the bees enough of their own honey to survive through harsh New England winters.
Our apiary is in Central Maine Zone 5 & this the video shows how we prepare the beehives for harsh Maine winters.
Natural wool-filled pillow on top of the nest is for providing warmth while absorbing moisture.
You probably saw recently in the news that a new University of Maryland study published in Nov, 2022 found that in the U.S. : “the average lifespan of the honey bee is now 50% shorter than it was in the 1970s”.
For the study, the conventional managed honeybees were kept in a controlled, lab environment and their lifespan measurement was started from the brood. Looking into what happened in the U.S. between 70s and 2022 that could have resulted in such an enormous lifespan reduction in honeybees in just 50 years.
What happened to the bees in the last 50 years?
One “great invention” that was patented in 1970 and became commercially available in 1974 was… Roundup by Monsanto and shortly thereafter herbicides joined with traditional pesticides to substantially increase agricultural crop yields.
As far as honeybees are concerned, however, here’s May, 2020 study by University of Arkansashttps://www.frontiersin.org/articles/… “Effects of Fungicide and Herbicide Chemical Exposure on Apis and Non-Apis Bees in Agricultural Landscape”.
The study suggests that in addition to pesticides, fungicides & herbicides alter normal gene expression and microbiome, which inhibits the ability for bees to detoxify an insecticide or combat a malady.”
While most US beekeepers since late 80s have been busy treating their domesticated bees with a slew of miticides, feral wild survivor bees have learned a Darwinian way of dealing with mite infestations – by natural selection & without any chemical “help” from the humans.Since the beginning of the 70, however, there were 2 other significant events in the US that greatly affected beekeeping – first in 1984 and the second in 1987.
Kirk Webster, a well-known long-time treatment-free beekeeper in Vermont remembers that:* in the 70s and the beginning of 80s most apiaries in the US were treatment-free – they used NO chemical treatments at all -– neither for the bees nor for the beehives.
The widespread chemical treatment of the honeybees started only in mid-80s first with the arrival of so-called tracheal mite from Europe in 1984, which resulted in colossal losses of bee colonies.
In 1987 even more virulent varroa mite came from Asia and since then most beekeepers keep treating their bees and beehives with an ever expanding array of synthetic or organic chemical miticides with adverse effects on bees’ microbiome and health and as it turns out on bees’ lifespan as well.
In the video there’s a picture of a conventional beekeeper is spraying a heated fog of organic miticide mineral into the beehive.
Video refers to the study showing that even using organic essential oils coats the bees’ guts and kills the beneficial gut bacteria. Many conventional beekeepers currently use ‘organic’ acids e.g. oxalic acid to kill mites.
When applying any acids as miticides, the beekeepers are advised to wear gas mask and gloves as there’s a potential for toxicity despite the fact that these particular acids are of organic origin.
Since mid-80s when most US beekeepers started interfering with the bees’ natural selection by using chemical miticides and: -The mites kept adapting and kept getting stronger -The managed bees started to rely on continuous human intervention and kept getting weaker. At ForestBeehive apiary, for mite control we utilize a purely mechanical method referred to as ‘Brood Cycle interruption’ – it mimics what naturally happens with the bees during swarming when for a while no brood is produced for mites to infect. More at forestbeehive.com