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of bees

the bee - a forest animal for millions of years

The honey bee lived mainly in tree hollows for millions of years.

It was only around 150 years ago that bees began to be kept in artificial, angular magazine hives.

This form of beekeeping   contradicts the natural needs of a bee colony. There are better solutions for both bees and beekeepers.

First, let us understand the bee as an animal and examine its history in detail in this section.

The honey bee lived mainly in tree hollows for millions of years.

From the excess production of honey, wax and fermented pollen (bee bread / perga), many wild animals and also humans nourished themselves in harmony with nature. Little by little, the large forests also disappeared in Europe as a result of deforestation. The result was that the tree hollows, i.e. the habitat for the bees, became fewer and fewer. Out of necessity, our ancestors created artificial beehives . For example, in the Middle Ages, the Zeidler dwellings were cut into trees for the bees because there were no longer enough natural tree hollows. The range of traditional plants was so large at that time that, according to tradition, 60 bee colonies / km² could be kept in the Feucht area (near Nuremberg) without adding sugar.

About 150 years ago, beekeeping started with angular hives.

With today's measurement methods, it is very easy to determine with temperature sensors and thermal imaging cameras that a great deal of heat is lost at the corners of the hives. In mid-January the queen bee starts laying eggs again. Then the bee colony has to heat each brood cell to a constant temperature of 35 degrees day and night through vibration and friction of the flight muscles. That costs energy and a lot of honey is consumed by the bees,

In the case of magazine hives, it can now be observed that the corners of the frames are often not built on. The brood nest is always round, even in square hives, and is located in the center of the hive, as the brood always needs constant warmth. So it is also evident in magazine hives that the bees prefer round shapes.

Many bee diseases are caused by a lack of warmth and excessive humidity.

There are many causes for today's bee deaths. In 1990 there were 1.6 million bee colonies in Germany today there are still around 900,000 bee colonies. The bee density today is around 2-4 colonies / km² (95% less than in the Middle Ages). Without added sugar, many bee colonies would starve to death today.

As a solution to many of these problems, the bee ball was developed to give the bees a natural form of housing. It is now the task of the global beekeeping community to change beekeeping.

The bee colony

A bee colony consists of a queen , bees (workers) and drones (men).

There is no hierarchy in the bee colony. What is to be done is decided by the natural disposition and by individual groups of bees or the entire colony. Depending on the situation, there are different groups that define different tasks. The whole people determine what needs to be done and prioritize accordingly. If there is less heating, as is the case in the beehive, the colony automatically has more time to take care of other necessary work and tasks.

Varroa mite & book coprion

What is interesting is that it is in the bee ball there are fewer drone brood and drones . It is known that there are usually 2000-3000 drones in magazine hives. In the case of the bee ball, on the other hand, there are only 300-600. In the drone brood, it is mainly the Varroa mite that reproduces. Less drone brood therefore also means a reduction in the Varroa mite population, which in turn means that the bee colony is healthier and stronger.

The Varroa mite population is also promoted by high humidity (over 80% relative humidity) in the beehive, which is a problem especially in magazine hives.

The book scorpion, which lives in symbiosis with the bees and eats varroa mites, does not like to settle in beehives that are too damp. He prefers a balanced living environment, as is the case in the bee ball.

Habitats for the book scorpion are constructively integrated in the beehive. Measurements show that the humidity can be regulated through the use of certain materials and construction methods. Experience with the bee ball confirms that the book scorpion likes to settle in these conditions.

The probability of a high varroa mite infestation, which endangers the bee colony, is significantly lower in the bee ball than in conventional angular hive systems.