A basic introduction to alternative forms of beekeeping practiced by some apiarists in the Lune Valley, Cumbria, UK.
The notes in this booklet are intended for beekeepers who have some knowledge of conventional beekeeping but wish to explore less intensive and more bee friendly approaches.
I have been keeping bees for 20 years and was initially trained as a conventional beekeeper. As my colony numbers increased, along with the time involved in managing them, I began to wonder if there was a better way.
At this time, I was very clear that my interest lay in finding out what was best for the bees and the environment in which they thrived, rather than the production of honey or to manipulate their breeding.
My approach was to examine conventional practices with three questions:
• Why are we doing it?
• Is it really necessary?
• Is there a more bee friendly way?
The outcome was to identify a number of alternative approaches which are set out in this booklet, together with explanations as to why these approaches were adopted.
(Preface from the book by Dr Fred J Ayres, February 2020)