The Practical Beekeeper Volume I Beginning Beekeeping Naturally

The Practical Beekeeper Volume I Beginning Beekeeping Naturally

by Michael Bush


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The Practical Beekeeper Volume I Beginning Beekeeping Naturally by Michael Bush

This book is about how to keep bees in a natural and practical system where they do not require treatments for pests and diseases and only minimal interventions. It is also about simple practical beekeeping. It is about reducing your work. It is not a main-stream beekeeping book. Many of the concepts are contrary to "conventional" beekeeping. The techniques presented here are streamlined through decades of experimentation, adjustments and simplification. The content was written and then refined from responding to questions on bee forums over the years so it is tailored to the questions that beekeepers, new and experienced, have.
It is divided into three volumes and this edition contains only Volume I: Beginning Beekeeping Naturally.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781614760610
Publication date: 06/17/2011
Pages: 282
Sales rank: 187,684
Product dimensions: 6.06(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.72(d)
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

Michael Bush has had an eclectic set of careers from printing and graphic arts, to construction to computer programming and a few more in between. Currently he is working in computers. He has been keeping bees since the mid 70's, usually from two to seven hives up until the year 2000. Varroa forced more experimentation which required more hives and the number has grown steadily over the years from then. By 2008 it was about 200 hives. He is active on many of the Beekeeping forums with last count at over 50,000 posts between all of them.

"His writing is like his talks, with more content, detail, and depth than one would think possible with such few words...his website and PowerPoint presentations are the gold standard for diverse and common sense beekeeping practices."--Dean Stiglitz

Table of Contents

Volume I Beginning 1
Learn from the bees 3
Why this book? 6
Unsustainable beekeeping system 7
Beekeeping Pests 7
Shallow Gene Pool 7
Contamination 7
Wrong Gene Pool 8
Upset Ecology of the Bee Colony 8
Beekeeping House of Cards 9
How do we get a sustainable beekeeping system? 9
Stop Treating 9
Clean Wax 10
Natural Cell Size 10
Natural Food 11
Learning 12
Bee Basics 16
Life cycle of a bee 16
Queen 16
Queenlessness 17
Supersedure 18
Swarming 18
Worker 19
Drone 21
Yearly cycle of the colony 22
Products of the hive 24
Four Simple Steps to Healthy Bees 29
Comb 29
No Treatments 35
Breeding locally adapted queens 38
Natural Food 41
Choices 45
Beekeeping Philosophy 45
Important Decisions 47
Easy Things to Change in Beekeeping: 47
Difficult Things to Change in Beekeeping: 48
Choices I recommend 49
Frame depth 49
Number of Frames 50
Style of Frames and Cell Size of Foundation 51
Eight Frame Mediums 52
Plastic Small Cell Frames 53
If you don't like the idea of plastic 53
Bottom Board Feeders 54
Essential Equipment 54
Here are some essentials for the beekeeper: 54
Nice to Have Beekeeping Equipment: 56
Avoid Gadgets 57
Useful Gadgets 57
Getting Started 59
Recommended Beginning Beekeeping Sequence 59
How Many Hives? 60
Package or Nuc? 60
Race of Bees 61
More Sequence 61
Observation Hive 63
Nucleus Hive 63
Managing Growth 67
Starting With More Hives 67
Foundation and Frames 68
Brood foundation 68
Foundation for supers 69
Kinds of frames 70
Locating hives? 72
Installing Packages 76
Not to do: 76
Things to do: 84
How to install: 85
Enemies of the Bees 87
Traditional Enemies of Bees 87
Bears 87
Bees Robbing 87
Skunks 91
Opossums 91
Mice 91
Wax moths 92
Nosema 96
Stonebrood 100
Chalkbrood 101
European Foulbrood (EFB) 102
American Foulbrood (AFB) 103
Parafoulbrood 105
Sacbrood 105
Neighbors 107
Recent enemies 107
Varroa Mites 107
Tracheal Mites 114
Small Hive Beetles 116
Are treatments necessary? 117
Queen Spotting 119
Fallacies 125
Myth: Drones are bad. 125
Myth: Drone comb is bad. 125
Myth: Queen Cells are bad 126
Myth: Home grown queens are bad 126
Myth: Feral bees are bad 127
Myth: Feral swarms are disease ridden 128
Myth: Feeding can't hurt anything 128
Myth: Adding supers will prevent swarming. 128
Myth: Destroying queen cells will prevent swarming. 129
Myth: Swarm cells are always on the bottom. 129
Myth: Clipping the queen will prevent swarming. 129
Myth: 2 Feet or 2 miles 130
Myth: You have to extract 130
Myth: 16 pounds of honey = 1 pound of wax. 130
Myth: You can't raise honey and bees 131
Myth: Two queens can't coexist in the same hive. 131
Myth: Queens will never lay double eggs 131
Myth: If there is no brood there is no queen. 132
Myth: Bees only like to work up 132
Myth: A laying worker hive has one pseudo queen 133
Myth: Shaking out a laying worker hive works 133
Myth: Bees need a landing board. 134
Myth: Bees need a lot of ventilation. 134
Myth: Bees need beekeepers. 134
Myth: You have to requeen yearly. 135
Myth: A marginal colony should always be requeened. 135
Myth: You need to feed pollen substitute 135
Myth: You should feed syrup in the winter. 136
Myth: You can't mix plastic and wax. 136
Myth: Dead bees headfirst in cells have starved. 137
Realistic Expectations 138
Harvest 143
Frequently Asked Questions 154
Appendix to Volume I: Glossary 182
Appendix to Volume I: Acronyms 253

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The Practical Beekeeper Volume I Beginning Beekeeping Naturally 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
WVgrrl More than 1 year ago
After a decades-long hiatus from beekeeping, I decided to return to the undertaking a couple of years ago. The wonder of, and love for, bees was instilled in me as a young girl, by my father who first introduced me to them in the back yard, with honey smeared across my fingers. As they licked up the honey with their funny, little tongues, he explained to me how they were all little girl bees (except for the lazy drones back in the hive!) and said, “They’ll never hurt you unless you hurt them first.” Never once was he wrong. And never once have I lost the fascination with the utter miracle that is a wee honeybee. But everything has changed since Dad first began teaching me about bees. Back in those days you pretty much just dumped a package in a box lined with foundation, walked away, and came back in a few months to reap the rewards of their unceasing labor. Even as I bought the first of my apiary equipment, in anticipation of spring, I was daunted. Pesticides, Varroa mites, tracheal mites, zombie flies, nosema, AFB, SHB, EFB, CCD, wax moth, stone brood, sac brood, chalk brood, parafoul brood, winter die-out…good grief – it’s enough to make you quit beekeeping before you ever start! To say nothing of all the cures and preventions for it all! Everything I read had an ominous whiff of gloom and doom and the odds of a hive making it for long without some serious issues didn’t look good - to say nothing of the costs and work involved in keeping them hanging on. I come from a “conventional” beekeeping background, and I read up on all the treatments and preventions. I didn’t like any of them. Why give antibiotics to someone that isn’t sick, for crying out loud? And why dump poisons into a hive of little bees, the label for which warns in bold print that you have to be wearing gloves to touch it yourself? Why force into their lives and home what I wouldn’t want to eat in my own honey? Even organic essential oils and other “natural treatments,” are intrusive and disruptive to the delicate balance which is the ecology of a beehive. None of it made sense to me, and none of it seemed to be working particularly well, but it seemed like there was no other way. Daunted, but undeterred, I ordered my bees and started reading about natural beekeeping. I perused a number of web sites, read some forums, scanned through books but, I am sorry, they were mostly a turn-off. Not a few of the people writing some of the stuff seemed like absolute flakes, some of whom were downright nasty in their philosophizing (not to say that doesn’t occur on both sides of the apiary, because of course, it does). Maybe I was looking at all the wrong sources, but nowhere could I find anything like solid evidence their way worked – just esoteric opinions on the evils of the conventional beekeeper and his methods. Enter Michael Bush and “The Practical Beekeeper” (Volumes I, II, and III). In a clear, succinct way “The Practical Beekeeper” intelligently illustrates why what we have been doing, and they way we have been doing it, simply is not working any longer and will never work again. Michael Bush shows us – proves to us – the incredibly simple, natural methods that do. “The Practical Beekeeper” series addresses the plethora of issues facing our bees around the world today, intelligently and historically relates how we got where we are, and what we need to do to get back where we need to be. There is no issue facing beekeepers today – from Varroa mites to old-timers being able to lift heavy hives – which “The Practical Beekeeper” series does not address. Michael Bush’s beekeeping methods are natural, cheaper, easier, proven to work and – most important of all – what is best for the bees. Everything he says makes absolute sense because it is founded squarely upon the science of nature and proven results. Mr. Bush is clearly an extremely intelligent, learned, and articulate man who knows his bee stuff. His matter-of-fact style isn’t preachy or flaky and his manner of writing, though sometimes addressing complex issues in a thorough and scientific manner, is easy to read and understand. “The Practical Beekeeper” series will take you through everything you need to know, starting with the basics in Volume I and moving up to rearing your own queens in Volume III (Yes, it can be done – it’s easy, and produces better queens!). If you are a new or aspiring beekeeper, or maybe just curious about bees, buy this book. You need it. There’s nothing wrong with some of the old, conventional standbys – they’re great books; I own most of them and still refer back to them. But get started out on the right foot from the get-go: Buy “The Practical Beekeeper” first even if, like me, you have to buy them one volume at a time. It is the best money you will ever spend on your bees. If you are a conventional beek and you have had umpteen hives, and dozens of bee books for years, buy “The Practical Beekeeper” anyway. You need it. Put aside, for a moment, what you think you know (which may, in fact, be a lot) and just listen to what Michael Bush has to say. If you don’t believe his way works, take a look at his Health Certificates since 2004, which he makes readily available on his web site. The methods in “The Practical Beekeeper” will save you time, save you money, make your life so much easier, and increase the health of your apiary. Make no mistake, the majority of beekeepers of every persuasion – from “conventional” to “organic” – love their bees. From the guys who make a living on pollination, to the vegans who think it is immoral to rob them of their honey, beeks are dedicated to helping their bees survive and we do what we do because we love them and we are trying to do what is right the only way we know how. And there is wisdom on both sides. But, in ways we are only just now beginning to understand, we have, with our tinkering and our interfering and our meddling, been unknowingly hurting these incredible little creatures for centuries. We are finally paying for it. What is worse, so are the bees. Michael Bush’s “The Practical Beekeeper” shows us the way home.