Natural Beekeeping vs Organic Beekeeping vs Treatment-Free Beekeeping

Natural Beekeeping IS NOT a carbon copy of how bees live in the wild.  While nature can be randomly unforgiving (e.g. 75% of all feral swarms will not survive) , natural beekeepers can mitigate many risks and assure much better survival odds. 

Natural Beekeeping IS, in short,  just Beekeeping WITHOUT ANY UNNATURAL chemical or artificial crap in and around the beehives.  No human-engineered chemicals and no foreign substances that do not belong in the beehive.  In Natural Beekeeping, the local bee colonies and beehives are not subjected to any chemical or acid or oil treatments. See Studies…

When Natural Beekeepers provide the Right Natural Habitat with sufficient natural Spring-to-Fall foraging resources, they can also avoid any supplemental sugar feedings.  See Why Feeding sugar is bad for both the Bees & You…

Differences between Organic Beekeeping, Treatment-Free Beekeeping and Natural Beekeeping


In Organic Beekeeping, common synthetic honeybee treatments like pesticides, antibiotics are not allowed but organic-approved acids like oxalic acid, formic acid and essential oils are allowed.

Essentials oils and natural acids, however, disrupt the bees’ pheromone-based communiction and kill many beneficial micro-organisms in the hive and, in the case of acids, cause a dramatic shift in pH affecting the bees’ beneficial gut bacteria and health. See Study: Honeybees are adversely affected by essential oils.

Treatment-free Beekeeping is a widely used but often misunderstood term. Treatment-free does not actually mean hands-off beekeeping, it’s most often just beekeeping without medicating the bees i.e. even organic-approved mite treatments are not used.

In Natural Beekeeping, just like in treatment-free beekeeping we do not medicate the bees in any way. No synthetic or organic poisons pollute our beehives and our honey products. Natural Beekeeping, however, adds to treatment-free beekeeping the following important bee-centric elements that put the bees’ needs first:

  • Clean Natural Habitat with Minimal density of bee colonies per acre of forageable resources (approximately 1 bee colony per acre)
  • No Sugar Feedings. if we need to feed weak colonies, we only feed with our own honey combs (defrosted/un-capped and sprinkled with water to present as nectar). Avoiding sugar feedings positively affects not only the bees’ health but also the taste and nutritive value of our honey products!  Did you know that there’s a substantial difference in pH between sugar (where pH is almost neutral) and honey where pH is more acidic – around 4.5? Here’s the Study: When honeybees are fed with sugar syrup, they become short-lived compared to honeybees that are fed with honey.
  • Honey is harvested ONLY if there’s excess honey (surplus honey) present.  We make sure that the bees always have enough of their own honey left and we never substitute their honey with sugar. With our cold winters, when we harvest the surplus honey in the Fall, it only makes it easier for our bees to overwinter as the bees won’t have to waste their resources on keeping the extra unneeded honeycombs warm.  (Any honey outside of the brood nest can be considered surplus for wintering in cold winter climates – the bees won’t be able to use it until Spring).
  • We practice beekeeping with minimal disturbances to the bees: in our singe-box Layens-style horizontal hives, the tops of the Layens frames touch as the bees don’t have travel between multiple boxes vertically. As a result, when we open the Layens hive’s lid during inspections, etc. no light or air penetrates the closed combs and we almost never see disturbed bees flying around as is the case with conventional Langstroth vertical hives.
  • Although our honeybees have hundreds of acres of unpolluted woodlands to forage in, it is our task as beekeepers to provide the bees with the best possible housing and the best possible care. See our Fall tasks, Spring tasks and Summer tasks
  • As far as mite management is concerned,  we use brood cycle interruption with a trapping comb as a single effective purely mechanical method of varroa mite management. Brood cycle interruption method mimics what naturally happens during swarming when for a while no brood is produced for mites to infect.