The Hive and the Honeybee is a website.It is one of the largest collections of material on the etomology of honeybees and beekeeping maintained by Cornell University. Recently a friend shared the information with me that many of the books and material has been scanned digitally and placed on line for viewing. What a resource for the novice, the oldtimer and the curious. Many beekeepers and especially those looking to keep bees more naturally are looking to the old treatises for information that may to keep bees more chemically free. I am on a quest to do the same. Some of the chemical free beekeepers I read about are looking at doing this I think by shear overpowering of numbers. Raising healthy hives to replace not as healthy hives, to selectively breed stock to develop natural resistances to some of the pests that plague bees. Just as a natural beekeeper has their bees draw out their own comb instead of using pre-made foundation that may have trace amounts of chemicals in the wax, beekeepers are raising multiple nucs to have on hand as replacements to strengthen a weak hive or to replace failing hives. This summer I will be experimenting with adding my own nucs(small nucleus of bees and queen that will eventually develop into full hive). I'll be looking to split stronger hives and try to raise some of my own queens. I want to build on some of the hearty stock that has survived here on the farm.
I have one hive that I re-queened once(and I forgot to record where I purchased the queen and what type of bee) but this hive in the back of the property seems to have smaller darker bees than my other hives. These bees seem to weather winters better and though seem to bulk up slower in the summer than the others, they still seem to marshal their resources better and survive on less. I wonder if they crossed somewhere with feral bees as their smaller size suggests. I plan on taking splits from this hive and another hive and see if I can develop more hives. We are also working at developing our acreage to have more nectar and pollen sources available for the bees. All this to help the bees, but also to make the farm more naturally sustainable in the life force that uses our land.