Tuesday 4 June 2013

The Barefoot Beekeeper in Todmorden

The much-anticipated visit of Phil Chandler took place last month. Known as "The Barefoot Beekeeper", Phil believes in allowing the bees to follow their natural instincts, with minimal intervention, and is much more concerned about conservation than big honey harvests.  
He talked about how he had developed these ideas into practice at a social evening to which local beekeepers had been invited.  All of us found it a truly inspiring occasion.

The following day Phil took a look at some of our hives - starting with the top-bar in the allotment apiary.

Removing unused comb to encourage new comb-building

Phil pointed out how the bees had created a channel to be able to move about the hive whilst conserving heat.

But in another top-bar hives the bees were in a very poor condition and barely alive - only stirring when stimulated by the warmth of our breath.  Phil advised feeding them with sugar.
He then created a hive from a box lined with polystyrene and cut pieces of comb to fit.  We then spent a considerable amount of time putting all the bees that showed any sign of life into iy.
 Lastly he collected the queen in a plastic tube and transferred her to the new "hive". 

You can find out much more about Phil at http://www.biobees.com/


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