Russian Bees and Beekeeping

Over the last few years, the Russian Honey Bee has been hailed as one of the next greatest varieties of honey bee available in the U.S…

One of the many suspected factors of C.C.D. (Colony Collapse Disorder) is the Varroa Mite…a nasty little pest that sucks the life out of a honey bee as it develops and the growing baby honey bee emerges into the new world greatly weakened, leaving it open to more pests and diseases. Now multiply that by several thousand baby bees, and the newly-emerged generation of bees create a weak hive.

The Varroa Mite is a fairly new pest in the U.S., but not in Russia. While the honey bees in America struggle to adapt to this new pest, the Russian honey bees went through this battle over a century ago and the survivors created a mite-resistant honey bee strain. This mite-resistance is greatly sought after now in the U.S. While there are chemicals to help combat the Varroa mite, the chemical treatments are not perfect, and are often harsh on a hive (generally only a strong hive can withstand these treatments, so if a hive is already weakened by mites, you’ve got a bit of a Catch 22). So, for organic beekeepers and beekeepers looking for a more sustainable way to fight the mites, the Russian bee may be the answer.

And now to the video! Here’s a fun news clip about Russian beekeepers. One interesting observation is that while in the U.S. we use 10-frame (or sometimes 8-frame) equipment, it looks like the hive in the video has 12-13 frames! That’s a big hive!

‘Cliff’ Beekeeping – Taking Beekeeping to a Whole New Level

Here are some beehives that may touch upon not just one, but two, major phobias of normal folks – bees and heights. These villagers in China decided to combine the two!

Pictures and text (translated from Chinese) published by and property of China Daily:

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Located in Shennongjia, Hubei Province (central China), at the gate of a mountain, on a cliff 1200 meters above sea level, 700+ beehives hang on the face of a cliff. From far away, they look like rows of mini coffins; this is where the bees call ‘home’. Shennongjia’s bees are considered crucial to the ecosystem of central China, considering the sharp population decline, and that in Northern China bees are mostly extinct. Shennongjia has become Shangri-la for bees. The pictured hives are in a conservation area and are hung on the side of a cliff to imitate the bees natural habitat in hopes of attracting wild bees.

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Flower-Chasing Nomads-The Sweet Story of a Beekeeper

[The purpose of this blog is to showcase the beekeeping industry throughout the world. Beekeeping is a global effort-how beekeepers handle their bees in one country, or what research they do, can affect beekeepers globally. I speak Chinese, so I decided to look into beekeeping in China, because I’d always heard beekeeping in China was non-existent due to pollution. However, apparently that is not the case! Below is an article about a beekeeper located in some remote mountains in China.

If you speak another language and you have an interest in beekeeping, AND would be interested in translating some articles, please let me know! I’d love to include some other countries, but for right now all I can showcase here is China.]

Flower-Chasing Nomads-The Sweet Story of a Beekeeper

“I am a ‘flowers thief’.” Standing under an old tree, a 70-year-old Luo Kaiwen laughingly told reporters.

At noon on March 9th, after a long journey, this reporter found elderly beekeeper, Lou Kaiwen, at the foot of a rainy, foggy mountain.

Beekeepers are “nomadic” in the mountains. During the bloom season, they take the bees all over in search of flowers. Just outside Lou Kaiwen’s front door is wilderness, this reporter saw over one hundred small wooden boxes dispersed in picturesque disorder like some kind of mysterious ceremony. Accoring to Lou Kaiwen, on rainy days the bees hide inside their hives, but the moment the weather clears they will all swarm out and fly.

Luo Kaiwen become a beekeeper at 26 years old. Starting from one box of bees, he is now breeding more than 160 cases. In April each year, Luo Kaiwen harvests lychee honey from one location. In May, after the lychee flower has passed, he takes the bees into the eucalyptus forests and harvests eucalyptus honey. From June to September, he migrates to the Hechi Nandan mountains in search of corn, rice flowers, and a variety of wildflowers. By late September, the mountain wildflowers open up to their largest capacity and he returns to harvest wildflower honey until the end of December.

During migration, the beehives need to be sealed well, and there is a need for tents and a variety of materials for daily life, as well as a rental car. After arriving at the destination, locations are selected and the hives are spread around. Then the bottom doors of the hives are opened and the bees fly out toward the flowers and collect the nectar. Luo Kaiwen chooses to place his tent in the vicinity of streams because the hives depend on them.

Beekeepers lead a solitary and hard life, and it is not a high-income occupation. Last year, Luo Kaiwen’s beekeeping income was about 30,000 yuan, just enough to support the family.

Luo Kaiwen has never regretted his career choice. He tapped his tough chest and said: “A good body and being free, that is a beekeeper’s biggest harvest.” At 70 years old, he still has a full head of black hair, is bright in spirit and mind, has sharp eyes, and at first glance appears to be 50 years old.

He also has an inheritor for his self-made mantle; his eldest son Luo Qianqi. Two years ago, Lou Qianqi could not endure the work in Gaungdong province with many other young people, so he returned to work with his father and learn about the bees.
Not long ago, Luo Qianqi headed to Yulin City to seek out a business venture opportunity, and applied to start out a small beekeeping company called “Green Sweet Honey Beekeeping Company.”

Luo Kaiwen was somewhat surprised: Nothing has happened in his 44 years of beekeeping, but his son came back in less than two years with a new company. “Here in the mountain, if you’re not careful, you’ll turn into a boss”, he laughed.