The natural tree hive has been installed at our wellbeing site now for three years. The original colony, from a swarm be collected swarmed two years later. The squirrels then nearly became the new occupiers. Some of the old wax comb was removed and a new natural swarm arrived to take up residence. It was really wonderful to see that the old hive, much like an old bird box had a new family. Here I am looking up into the hive with a boy looking at bees up close and naturally for the first time.
So this is the view looking up into the natural hive with the tear shaped wax filling the cavity and bees clustered in and out of the wax folds. The bees will build natural comb down the length of the hive. Looking up into the hive from below one feels awestruck and less in control. In Autumn the core colony of winter bees and the queen will retreat into a small cluster insulated by the layers of wax and warmth of the untreated section of trunk.
The key to remember with these hives is that they are low maintenance, 'hands off' and we do not take any honey from them. The aim is purely to provide habitat and hopefully in the long term allow bees to rewild on their terms. In the picture below the bees are swarming. It is what the bees do naturally; to divide, procreate and migrate using their innate bee wisdom and to navigate a new life. It's such an incredible site to see.
For decades now we have been manufacturing bees and supressing the swarm instincts. In such a short time we have seen the decimation of the British bee as a result of over-farming bee's and supressing natural instincts. The monocultural crops, over use of agrochemicals, the disappearance of hedgerows and wild meadows have caused so many colonies to collapse.
By keeping bees naturally we also allow for more diversity in the species as a natural colony produce a lot more male bees.
Natural hives are also smaller which in turn produce smaller bees. As we do not take honey from them they are gentler by nature. They are less likely to compete with other bee species too as a result of needing to forage less, as their stores are kept and not stolen by us.
So, bees will live naturally in cavities of trees. The tree hives and the one below is of a Rocket Hive, Designed by Matt Sommerville, to mimic how bees live naturally. I love the quirkiness of the Rocket hive with the thatched roof, It looks like it has come straight out of a fairy tale. My aim this year is to learn how to make one and install it at our Woodland Wellbeing site in Fairlight. Then the key will be to see if the bees from the tree hive naturally swarm into it.
The article link is also worth a read as it explains how the extinct British Bee could perhaps be returning thanks to the rewilding program at Blenheim Palace. Click on the photo (Filipe Salbany Bee Conservationist) who is discovery that the native British Honey bee is making a come back. Thanks to rewilding.
My vision through Bee Potion for 2022 is through youth and community engagement I can inspire others to become bee custodians of the future, making steps to rewild both ourselves by living closer to nature and our bees .
Every nourishing and natural Bee Potion product you purchase supports the work I do with Bees, wellbeing and community.