Log Hives with Matt Somerville

I’ve always loved log hives, loved the notion of them, the look of them, the creation of them. But it was into the second day of our log hive workshop with Matt Somerville that I really “got it.”

Class participant Jenne Johnson said to Matt, “So, if I have, say, ten acres of land, how many of these hives would I need to properly pollinate it?”

Matt replied, “Put up as many as you like and let the bees decide.”

“Let the bees decide…”

Once upon a time, in the pastures of Battle Ground, Washington, there gathered a group of bee friends to make a wondrous palace for bees…

I smacked both hands to my head to keep my brains from flying out all over the place. Had those four words ever before been uttered on the North American continent? Not often, I thought… (more…)

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SunHive Habitat, by Andrew Frederick

Susan here! I’m so pleased to be offering this post for our readers. I love to share what other bee-tenders are doing, and welcome articles about your hives and bees. Andrew has humg his own SunHive, and will be coming out to the Northwest (from Kansas) to take my skep hive weaving class in February. I hope this post encourages you to think out of the box with your own colonies!

The SunHive

This spring, Matthew Burke, a sculpture professor at the University of Kansas, generously gifted me a completed Sun Hive. He and his students, over 20 of them, built the hive over several semesters as part of an eco-art studio course. Rolf and I installed it on five acres of land farmed using organic methods, just outside city limits, building a platform and rain shelter for it in the process… (more…)

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Wall Beekeeping: An Ancient Craft (who knew??)–Susan’s Bees

Once again, I find myself gloriously behind the times. In this particular case a few thousand years behind the times: I built and maintain a wall beehive—a colony housed in the wall of my bedroom.

I have been calling it my Observation Hive because it has a plexiglas cover on the inside wall, but my ancient ancestors have been keeping such hives—called walled hives—for millennia. I know this now because of a fascinating Bee World article from 1998 by Eva Crane that details wall hives and wall hive beekeeping in some twenty warm-temperate Old World countries, a practice that dates back to at least AD 60.

Guiding a swarm into Valentine Hive. Easy does it!

Bee friend Jenne Johnson is great at finding and sharing such wonderful bee morsels as she wanders along the good bee road, and she managed to find this historical reference to my very new activity. (more…)

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