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what is meant by "natural"?

I thought I'd kick the new forum off by opening up the question, what do we mean by Natural Beekeeping.

For me, it means having my first priority as the health of the colony, with bee products secondary; nice when I can get them as long as it isn't at the expense of the colony's health.

Hi Frost, I think the use of

Hi Frost,
I think the use of the word "natural" here is a bit like the use of the word "organic" in some other contexts. "Organic" describes the chemical makeup of a substance and "natural" signifies that it comes from nature.
In this respect as all fruit and vegetables contain "inorganic chemicals naturally, they cannot truly be described as being organic. The fact that the way they are produced may not be free of inorganic inputs still does not fully satisfy the use of this description of "organic".
Maybe this word "natural" would be better applied in this case.
Similarly if bee-keeping is carried out without any non-natural or un-natural inputs then the process is likely to be "natural".

Hello, I'm a new beekeeper

Hello, I'm a new beekeeper and the idea of natural beekeeping interests me greatly. I would imagine that this approach would respect the natural rhythms of bees allowing to provide maximum benefit to the local ecology as well as producing honey. I was looking to see if there were any natural beekeeping courses, but it appears that Michael Weiler hasn't planned courses for this year. So I guess I'll buy the book and maybe go to the Natural Beekeeping Conference in Worcestershire UK in the Summer.
Any info on natural beekeeping courses would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

KevinK's picture
try this website RFB...they

try this website RFB...they have courses in natural beekeeping but not sure how close they are to you


hope it helps! :)

OddBall's picture
Hi Guys... I suppose that I'm

Hi Guys...

I suppose that I'm very lucky seeing as the wild colony at the bottom of the garden has been captured and is now happily residing in their new home (my hive). I got some invaluable help from a local beekeeper and am over the moon.

One piece of advice that I got though was to treat the hive for varroa. Seeing as this would be a chemical treatment, I suppose that it would not be classed as natural. I wish to maintain a healthy hive and don't know of any "natural" treatments for the mite...

So what can be done here?

Hi.. I am a very new Bee

I am a very new Bee Keeper and like OddBall have been advised to treat my hive for varroa and have done so! with Apiguard. I have been trying to find out what excatly Thymol the active ingredient in Apiguard is and how it might effect my bees.

KevinK's picture
hey KarinB, i found the

hey KarinB,

i found the following on thymol

"Thymol is an effective natural way to fight a type of mite called Varroa that attacks honey bees. Thymol is lethal to the mites, but doesn't affect the bees or humans. Studies have found that there are residues left in the beeswax from this treatment, but much less in the honey itself. Also, this compound tends to break down very quickly, so the residues don't really get worse over time. The only concern is that the thymol residues change the taste of the honey."

hope that helps, here is the website i got it from



@OddBall, some people

@OddBall, some people including Philip Chandler of biobees use powdered sugar dusting - I'm going to try it as it's supposed to have some effect on mites.

Here's a video (German but has English titles)

And a research paper that shows it does has an effect

Thanks for that KevinB, it

Thanks for that KevinB, it does have quite a strong smell but not unplesent. My bees made a lot of comb in the space created by the eke when I had the apiguard on. I removed it but cant use it because of the smell! Will consider other methods next year maybe powdered sugar.