We cannot boast to be certified biodynamic or organic beekeepers, but these philosophies have formed the foundation of our own beekeeping methods and we work with them, whilst keeping things practical to our own situation.
Our beekeeping methods enable our hives to be managed simply, without excessive intrusion or disruption and with respect for the environment we place them in.
Fundamentally, we observe and manage each colony as if it were a single organism. We want our bees to coexist in their environment rather than dominate and outcompete other wildlife.
Generally only inputs that the bees would consider natural to them are used within our hives so no plastics (except the occasional queen excluder), sugar syrup or pollen feeding. We only take what we feel is surplus to the hive's requirements. This ensures the hive has ample food stores not only to survive, but thrive.
We see our methods as 'Responsible Beekeeping'; respecting the land which we live in and honouring the habits of Apis mallifera - the mighty honey bearing bee.
Bees have a natural urge to swarm. It is their way of ensuring their existence and one of the many traits of the honey bee.
There are several reasons why a swarm issues from a hive. The most common cause is when a hive's population out grows its space. When this occurs, the bees will set several 'queen cells' to rear and hatch another queen. The old queen and a large amount of the loyal foraging worker bees depart the parent hive and, if successful, establish a new hive in a hollowed branch or tree trunk (or cavity). This makes it difficult to retrieve and re-home the swarmed hive and leaves the parent hive with a reduced population and limited productive capacity.
In a residential area this could mean swarms become a nuisance and establish hives in areas that are hazardous to people or domestic animals.
Take a look at our gallery page 'feral hives and swarms' for a few examples we have encountered.
A wild, unmanaged hive in a difficult location is referred to as a feral hive. The links below highlight the growing concerns of the high number of feral beehives in West Australia.
At The Margaret River Honey Co., we maintain young, vigorous and gentle queens and strive to create space for our hives to populate. If a hive sets its swarm preparations in motion, rather than suppressing the urge, we seek to harness its power for queen rearing purposes. With a bit of gentle beekeeper manipulation, we feel this is by far the best way for a hive to fulfil its natural urge and for us to reduce the chance of a large, prime swarm issuing from a hive.
Take a look at our apiaries page to learn more about how we place our hives.
If you would like further information on the standards for biodynamic beekeeping and hive products, follow this link.
We feel blessed to keep bees in one of the last untouched, prestine corners of the globe. The Margaret River Region is a true beekeeping paradise.