Nestled in our hollow in the Tilton River Valley. We have over 20 hives and almost exclusively use Warre hives for our beekeeping and the method Warre taught refered to as Natural or Extensive beekeeping.
Extensive vs Intensive Beekeeping
As our name suggests, we believe in living in harmony with our environment and this philosophy was very important to use when decided to add beekeeping to our homestead.
Modern beekeeping is greatly focused on the manipulation of the bees and their colony. The end goal of this manipulation is to produce the most amount of honey possible for the beekeeper to take while leaving the bees with the least amount possible of the fruit of their labor. Its called intensive beekeeping because the process is intensive for both the bees and the beekeepers and it often leads to more disease and pests for the bees.
Extensive beekeeping on the other hand focuses on the bees and their welfare. Only about 25% of the colonies honey is taken in a given year and the comb is taken as well which helps protect the colony from pests and diseases. The bees are disturbed as little as possible and in a normal year the hive is only opened just a few times vs weekly with intensive methods. Each time a hive is opened, heat is lost and a certain number of bees will inevitably die which sets the whole colony back.
Our bees have a unique buffet of flowers to feed on producing a light amber colored honey with citrus notes. Some of the flora available for them are:
Acer macrophyllum - Big Leaf Maple
A large beautiful maple tree with huge drooping flowers and a strong nectar flow.
Camellia sinensis - Tea Plant
Our tea plantation provides a tremendous amount of flowers and nectar for our bees.
Orchard Trees - Apple, Pear, Guava, Plum, and Cherry
A lot of our hives are in our orchard providing our bees with a pretty wide variety of tree flowers early in the year.
Clematis montana - Mountain Clematis
We have a huge mountain clematis on our property that provides much needed nectar in May and June.