Local Support Groups
The natural beekeeping world is steadily growing and there are now several local support groups in the south of England. Those that have websites are listed below.
Oxfordshire natural beekeeping group: a support group for natural beekeepers in Oxfordshire. The group is coordinated by Paul Honigmann on: paul dot honigmann at gmail dot com.
YABeeP (the Yatton Area Bee Project): covering North Somerset and surrounding areas, this site is full of helpful information that is relevant to the south of England.
Hampshire has a natural beekeeping support group. John Haverson is a facilitator for the group and can be emailed on: johnhaverson at tiscali dot co dot uk.
The Natural Beekeeping Trust runs events and courses in Sussex and elsewhere based on a holistic, biodynamic approach to assisting bees.
The Frome & Bruton area of Somerset has a small private forum for ‘bee inspired’ beekeepers. All hive styles are encouraged, aiming at bee friendly management techniques, reflecting natural hive conditions. Discussions include food production and lifestyle issues, as these are connected to bee health. Members like to meet occasionally. To join, contact the forum facilitator Jonathan Powell on jmapowell at gmail dot com.
Other Internet Resources
There are several internet forums and websites devoted to natural beekeeping.
Biobees forum: An international forum directed mainly at users of horizontal top bar hives, with a large number of contributors representing a range of climates and beekeeping philosophies.
Warré Beekeeping: A Yahoo discussion group devoted to Warré hives, with a small number of regular contributors from around the world.
Warré Resources: David Heaf’s excellent collection of Warré resources. Masses of useful Warré info!
Daves Bees: a US site aimed at beginners, especially those using horizontal hives.
Michael Bush’s site: a US site that is packed full of information that will appeal to those who enjoy data-mining.
Gaia Bees: Michael Thiele’s inspiring website showing truly holistic bee caring, with links to many videos and also the Melissa Garden bee sanctuary.
Bee’s Wing: An inspirational, perceptive and pithy commentary on the world from the viewpoint of the bee.
If you know of other sites that are not listed here, please email simplebees at btinternet dot com or use the contact form on the home page.
Gareth John: Inspired by my grandfather, I first kept bees as a teenager in 1970. Over the following 15 or so years my beekeeping varied between fairly hands-on and decidedly hands-off. After a long period without bees, I took up active beekeeping again when I moved to west Oxfordshire in 2007. This time around, I decided to go down the ‘natural’ route and this blog is a continuation of that journey.
Robin Morris: Robin is a natural beekeeper south of Bristol and founded YABeeP, the Yatton Area Bee Project, mentioned above. More on Robin’s background in bees can be found here.
John Haverson: I live near Stockbridge in N. Hampshire where I have had my own apiary since 2003, starting with 2 Nationals hives. Since 2006 I have been the Swarm Liaison for Andover District and seen bees in a variety of wild and feral situations, where some colonies have survived for many years. I began adopting Demeter ‘organic’ standards in 2007 and stopped using any chemicals or medication to treat bees in 2008. Since 2009, I have supported about 10 colonies in Warré hives in near-natural conditions.
If you are a member of the blog, and would like a bio, please post it on the forum and an admin will move it here.