We started our initiative, because we have seen and understood that bees are in poor health, and honey production is made in violation of the bees' nature. Beekeeping turned into industrial farming, and it is not sustainable animal husbandary anymore. There are only few places where You can read about treatment-free, bee-friendly and really natural beekeeping in Polish language. Our webpage is one of them – at least we hope it to be. But there are lots of places You can read about that in English – we give You some links here: (link do linków). That is why we will place here only our general ideas and views to infrom You about who we are. You can read more about those ideas on the given webpages.
We believe that natural selection is the only way to keep bees in sustainable and healthy way in the long run. We are however fully aware that not all bees are capable of surviving without treatments, and keeping them without toxins or biocidals may be a costly choice for the beekeepers. It is Your decision how You want to keep bees, but please respect our choice of beeing treatment-free. Our group may also help beekeepers in transfering their apiaries into sustainable and bee-friendly enterpises, either by sharing knowlegde or by sharing our bees (e.g. within some projects of exchanging bees and helping apiaries to recover after the collapse).
We think that cooperation in selection of surviving bees is the most important thing. Here in Poland, we have really big losses if we would stop treating bees. It may even be 100% losses – even within bigger apiaries, like consisting of few dozens of colonies. Official statistics of bees dying every year says that it is usually no more then 20% (while treating). We believe that the numbers are bigger, but sometimes the losses are in some regions, and others may enjoy good survival rate. But the general losses are growing every few years, and the amounts of toxins poured into the hives grow with them accordingly. And this method proved not to help bees in the long run. The situation is worse and worse in time (improving in some years, and hitting twice that hard in the others). We are beekeeping hobbiests so almost no one of group could do the selection by him/herself. We need help from each other – and so we give help to each other. We share surviving queens and we give each other splits, swarms or surviving hives. We are a really small group but it turns to be just big enough to have the potential to recover after losses and go forward with the selection every year.
We believe that the less we mess up with bees the better for them. So we try to manage bees as little as we can. But it is not always possible when Your apiary has to recover after losses. When You have only few survivors out of 20 – 40 hives, catching natural swarms may not be the best idea to rebuild the numbers. So You have to make splits. We believe that it is not the best way for the bees, but probably the best method to propagate surviving genetics in bigger numbers, and the quickest one to get through the first stage of natural selection. So most of us does the selection in a way that Americans called: „Expansion Model Beekeeping”. It proved to be a good method for the last years when many of us had really big losses.
The best for the bees is natural comb – no matter whether it is drawn within the frame or in a box like Warre. Letting bees build their own comb is the only way to keep toxins out of the hives and allow bees to have clean wax in their homes. It is also the way to have comb with natural workers cell size (no matter if it is 4.9 or 5.4 mm) and letting bees have all the drones they need.
In our opinion all animals should eat their natural food. Letting bees have their honey and polen is one the best ways to keep them healthy. Bees shouldn't eat artificial food like sugar syrup or pollen substitutes. Of course sometimes You have to feed sugar to the bees, for example if they had not been able to get winter supplies by themselves – it is better to feed them sugar then, rather than let them die of hunger during winter time. Sometimes, if there is draught, it is also probably better to give bees some sugar rather than see them starving. Hunger is bad for bees' heath and probably it is much worse then feeding them substitute food. However in our practice we try not to take honey and feed bees sugar as a replacement. Most of us takes out of the hive only what is the surplus. All bees should have their honey first, and we, as beekeepers, should take only what is left.
We have seen in our apiaries that locally adapted bees tend to be the healthiest. We believe that adaptation is the key to health and survival of all living organisms – and that includes bees of course. Unfortunatelly these locally adapted bees sometimes do not meet the requirements of beekeepers: for example they may produce less honey then bees propagated by breeders. Sometimes (of course not always) they may be more defensive or defiant in any way. We think however, that the requirements of beekeepers and the ones of the Nature may be brought together and reconciled. Bee husbandary may be practiced in balance with Nature. The only thing is that we should understand that and accept Her rules.
Intensive breeding of the honey bees may also be harmful to the genetic diversity of the species. Genetic diversity is the key to the health of the population because it may help overcoming many problems with resistance to pests and adaptation to environmental conditions.
Treating bees is harmful to them in many ways in the long run. It propagates weak and unadapted genetics of honey bees, but in the same time it propagates the most virulent strains of pests. Every treatment with chemical substances does that, no matter if it is „natural substance” (like mineral oils or acids which are very strong biocidals) or pesticides. Some of the substances are very strong toxins that poison the bees' environment (the inside of the hive) and bee products like honey (which is not only their food, but also ours!). Treating bees with chemicals disrupts the micro-balance of the hive. By that we mean killing good bacteria or fungi, and making the hive environment unsuitable for their existance and reproduction. Those good microorganisms help to build healthy „biofilms” of the bees – outside and inside them. Without those organisms bees may have health problems because many of their systems (e.g. immunological, digestive) may be inefficient. Only keeping bees without treatments may help to balace their health and hive ecology in the long run.
We believe that we should seek for the ways of keeping bees by looking into their adaptiations and ecology. We should look on the problems of bees from evolutionary perspective and not intensive farming perspective. In more practical way this means for example organizing apiaries in the ways that bees lived in nature or using natural hive materials (wood, straw etc).
We believe that honey bee can live a normal healthy live without chemical interventions and bees should be able to return to their historical habitats in nature. We, as beekeepers, want to have uncontaminated honey for us, our families, and the customers. We don’t want to polute bees' environment, scald our bees with organic acids or disrupt the hive ecosystems with essential oils. We really believe that treatment-free beekeeping is possible – You just have to be persistant, cooperate with others, and listen to what bees try to teach You. And we try to learn form them all the time!