This blog documents the story of the Bee Limerick Group and their quest to introduce honey bees back into the city centre of Limerick. Bee Limerick along with its partners are also involved in planting native Irish flowers, shrubs and trees to create a resilient urban ecology.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sustainable Bee Keeping

Bee Limerick is about creating a resilient urban ecology that will support native bees and other wildlife to thrive within the city limits. It is very important that we influence the planting regime in the city to consider native Irish flowers, shrubs and trees. But what about the actual hives the bees live in? The traditional national hives are expensive, heavy and all the extra little bits needed really begin to add up in cost. Wouldn't be great to have a more natural bee hive that is more sustainable, low-impact, low-cost, chemical-free, small-scale, 'organic', that requires the use of simple equipment that almost anyone can make at home. Sounds good to me : )

This is when we came across the very informative website which is all about sustainable bee keeping, and The Barefoot Beekeeper which is a revolutionary book about 'sustainable', chemical-free beekeeping, showing how it can be simplified and made accessible to all, including people with disabilities, as with this method there is no heavy lifting involved.

The author strips away all unnecessary complication and confusion, demonstrating that 'modern' beekeeping methods are largely to blame for the poor state of health of the honeybee and that the commercialization of beekeeping marked the start of the disease and parasite problems that honeybees have been trying to deal with ever since.

The author advocates small-scale, sustainable beekeeping, with minimal disturbance to the bees and more time spent observing and learning from them. This book shows how you can make everything you need to keep bees yourself, using recycled materials and simple tools: you do not need to buy any additional equipment at all, nor do you need synthetic medications or other chemicals.

 Sustainable kee keeping is all about the 'top bar hives' or 'natural beekeeping' and the biobees website has an amazing 44 page free manual on how to make your first top-bar bee hive.

This will definitely be an up coming project for bee limerick. Also it will be interesting to record the success and failures of each hive design over the period of one year.

Top bar bee hive with viewing window so bees can be observed without disturbing them and altering the temperature in the hive

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