In reply to Beekeeper2, sadly, an awful lot of people don't attend local BKA's because they are not partial to the over-controlling attitude displayed to those who have the courage to seek a different way. There is a different way, but it depends on working with the bee rather than against it; see the article referred to above.
"Oh dear, did he at least guide people towards contacting their local BKA where they would hopefully get the correct advice and access to training etc. ?"
Oh dear indeed. What "correct" training, if you please, sir. Cutting off the queen's wings and cutting out swarm cells? Do you call that correct? I hope to God that you don't have bees.
Beekeeper2 wrote: "They are taught how to keep varroa mites under control,"
They will have to do that to eternity unless they let the mites and the bees co-adapt naturally, as has happened with honey bee populations in Sweden, France, USA, and even in certain parts of the UK.
I live with a bee friendly beekeeper in Hampshire. He has not treated his bees for 8 years and they have adapted to live with varroa. He uses an alternative beekeeping approach which allows them to run their own lives without constant interference. The result is less stress for the bees and beekeeper. Our garden is full of flowers and bees which we can enjoy without wearing protective suits.
Many BKA members are turning their back against Varroa treatment and find that the sky does not fall:
I don't keep bees, and probably would never have thought to, but had I been thinking of I am now completely confused as to where to get correct guidance thanks to spate of comments from a bunch of people using suspiscious looking usernames with only 1 or 2 posts each - clearly the same person trying to make a point, but now making themself look like a spammer...
Who to trust?
Regarding Boater's comment: My advice, and I am a person and beekeeper quite distinct from other posters, would be as follows: if you find names like "beekeeper 3 or "bee-friendly beekeeper" suspicious, and what is more, if the information I myself posted does not appeal to you, you best seek your advice from Beekeeper 2 to whom I responded. But I suspect you are trolling. Best not keep bees, they'll look right through you
We keep bees and agree with Beekeeper 2 above. We look after our bees well and they stay healthy and survive the winters.
Monty alluded to "wild bees" that might choose to make their home in your top-bar hive. There are virtually no honey bee colonies living successfully in the wild in this country now - any stray swarms will have orignated in an apiary, and are unlikely to survive for long if left unchecked and uncared for. It is a sad fact that various diseases, probably imported by beekeepers importing queens etc from abroad, will wipe out most colonies quite quickly.
Monty also implies that you can just take some of the honey if you like. To do this when the comb is not on frames is very difficult; you can't just help yourself to a lump of comb if you don't know how to tell honey stores from brood cells, and you can't use an extractor to spin off the honey without frames. You may also leave the bees short of food if you can't tell whether they have stored more than they need, and then don't offer them any replacement food. Then they will simply starve in the winter, if they don't die of cold or varroa.
That's just a few of the points we take issue with. Anyone interested in beekeeping should take the trouble to find out a bit about it first. There are, as this thread shows, differing views on how best to keep bees, but it really isn't kind or "bee-friendly" to assume that you can just set up a swarm in any box in your garden and leave the bees to get on with it.
Hi, we have found bees in out bird house today. Loads of them. We were just going to leave them alone. Is that the correct thing to do? Will they be there all summer do you think? Thanks
Are they honey bees? How big is your bird house? If it's not very big, it's not likely to be a swarm. Could there be something edible or sweet in the bird house that's attracting them? A bird house doesn't sound like a big enough place for a swarm to choose to colonise, they may just be curious visitors in search of food.