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Hive management for bee health, colony multiplication and honey production.

Management for bee health

Bee colonies are not treated with accaricides against Varroa destructor. Bee health is favored by the small hive volume and widely spaced hives. Importantly, colony multiplication is accomplished by natural and/or artificial swarming, no splits or nucs. This setup is intended to limit horizontal transmission of disease (e.g. American foulbrood, Varroa destructor) among hives trough drifting, robbing or splits. It should also favor benign host-parasite relationships and select especially for less virulent forms of Varroa destructor by allowing for vertical transmission through swarming. In addition, swarming reduces the parasite load within the colony. The aforementioned implications of horizontal and vertical pathogen transmission for honey bee epidemiology have been reviewed comprehensively by Fries & Camazine (2001).

Management for colony multiplication

Colonies are multiplied by catching swarms and by making use of the swarm instinct to provoke swarming artificially. There are many methods and variants of artificial swarming but they all involve separating the queen from the eggs and brood. The here used technique is the 'tapping method': Bees are driven into an empty box by tapping on the hive body. It is simple to accomplish and the result is rather similar to a natural swarm. I learned about this ancient method from the French Warré beekeepers Marc Gatineau, Gilles Denis and Philipp Cattaruzza.

Management for comb honey production

Bees are not forced to expand upwards but are invited to build one additional honey comb sideward. Comb honey may be harvested from this fully movable 38mm width Huber-style leaf frame (video coming soon)