There are many current and future threats facing the honey bee. Praze Bee tries to negate as many of these as possible. Our approach is to do what's right for the bees and to minimise stresses on the colony. For example:
Sensitivity - Honey bees are extremely sensitive creatures. Colonies and hives remain in their own apiaries and are not transported to specific crop areas to boost honey production. When working with the bees we minimise vibration, stress and the use of smoke. Queens do not have their wings clipped and are not marked.
Variety of forage - Sending bees to an area with a restricted variety of forage might compare to us having to eat only brussel sprouts for 10 years. Individual health would certainly suffer! Praze Bee apiaries are specially selected to ensure that the bees have a wide range of pollen and nectar to sustain them through the year.
Who knows best? - Bees have been on this planet for 100 million years longer than us. It must therefore be fair to assume they know what they are doing. Two old beekeeping adages are "the best things for bees are bees" and "the bees worst enemy is the beekeeper". We like to work with the bees, rather than control them. With our techniques, they can draw their wax cells to their own preferred dimensions and create the ratio of drones and workers that they want. We leave enough honey in the hive for the bees to overwinter. Our policy is not to feed sugar based solutions in Autumn or Spring. The bees know when to reduce their numbers and when to increase them. If the bees want to swarm, we help them.They know best!
Chemicals - It is widely accepted that certain chemicals are detrimental to bee health. Sources of these chemicals include gardening and agricultural pesticides and also certain varroa mite treatments. Therefore, we do not use any artificial varroacides.
Race of bee - Many internet companies and beekeepers import bees and queens. We believe that the native dark bee (apis mellifera mellifera) is best adapted to our climate. Using local bees helps to minimise the risk of importing additional threats and also negates the usual practice of feeding sugar solutions. Breeding colonies are selected for a number of attributes, including their "nativeness".
It is likely that our techniques reduce our honey crop, but we are convinced that a healthy bee produces a much finer honey.