There are a lot of beekeeping videos online. Some are excellent, with factual and sound information featuring good, knowledgeable and experienced beekeepers. Unfortunately there are many of dubious accuracy, giving poor advice that may be inappropriate for our conditions. As there is no vetting procedure to display educational material online, what is the inexperienced beekeeper to believe?
BIBBA strongly believes that beekeeping information should be high quality, so we have made it easy by asking an experienced practical beekeeper to recommend a selection of videos. We have listed them below by topic. Those that are not of U.K. origin are still appropriate for our conditions, those in the “Advanced” category may need the viewer to take into account regional variations and make adjustments based on their own knowledge and experience.
Randy Oliver presents “Reading the Combs: Understanding Bee Biology Over the Course of a Season
Beekeeping knowledge is something we should all be familiar with. Knowledge is universal, the more you learn the more you realise how little you know.Peter Jenkins
UoG Honey Bee Research Centre – “Protective Clothing“
This one is only five minutes from the University of Guelph in Canada. It’s about protective clothing and suitable dressing. Our present fashion of putting beginners into suits of armour prevents them from learning how to listen to what the bees are saying. Dress appropriately.
Pests and Diseases
Dr Samuel Ramsey – Varroa feed on Fat Body
This is a brilliant presentation which breaks new ground on how Varroa feed from the host bee whilst phoretic.. It blows apart a few assumptions we have been told over the years, such as Varroa feed on bee blood.
I learnt so much about from it which makes sense of some what I have found in practice. Watch and learn.
Randy Oliver – Varroa Management
This updated video from Randy Oliver is a “must watch” for every serious beekeeper. Varroa is THE biggest enemy our bees have and this explains how to effectively monitor, manage and control it. Thus minimizing the associated viruses and pathogens that it vectors. Healthy bees are productive bees.
Dr Sammy Ramsey – The Tropilaelaps Mite: A Fate Far Worse Than Varroa
As recommended by Roger Patterson during one of his webinars.
Randy Oliver- “Tips for Working Bees”
A must watch for the “suited and booted” blue gloves brigade. An hour twenty minutes but contains much.
Queen rearing and bee improvement
UoG Honey Bee Research Centre – “The Cell Builder”
Here is another from the University of Guelph on their version of using the Cloake Board. They start by uniting two strong colonies as it is crucial to have plenty of young bees with ample resources to feed the grafts. My own method that is successful in marginal West Wales is to harvest a comb or two of brood and nurse bees from several strong colonies during hive inspections, bring them home and unite them with a strong colony here. I don’t use pollen patties or get the bees to prepare the cells for 24 hours. Pollen is not an issue here and I find that polishing the plastic cups makes no difference. I think this method as described in the video could suit a group as they could pool labour and resources.
UoG Honey Bee Research Centre – “Mini Nucs”
Below is a link to how they produce and use mini nucs for mating queens through the season at the University of Guelph in Canada. Admittedly the conditions are different to ours, but the system would still work here with our Groups and it is what we need to aim for if we are to minimize the need for Queen bee imports.
Mike Palmer – “The Sustainable Apiary”
The sustainable apiary talks at length about the folly of importing bees from warmer climates to the frozen north. “Bees from faraway places never do as well as local bees, the best bees for you are in your yard or in your neighbour’s yard, raise queens from them”. If it works for him why do we need imports? Is it because those importing aren’t capable of raising their own queens? Watching this is an hour well spent.
UoG Honey Bee Research Centre – “Re-queening Colonies”
I like the way this guy handles bees, calmly without drama without excessive smoke or exiting the bees too much; hence no need for full suits, gloves or boots. He uses the old fashioned wooden cages, which I also prefer to the plastic Chinese ones we seem to get these days, but that is a personal choice. He is in a part of Canada where they have strong flows through the summer but long hard winters. Note that he recommends bees that are acclimatised to the local area, not bees from areas with softer climates. A bit like our logic in using hardy dark bees in Wales.
Marla Spivak – Benefits of Propolis
This is an excellent research article on the benefits of Propolis. There is very little written on the subject elsewhere, but the liberal use of it by bees in the wild, and its antibiotic properties, is one reason why free living bees are healthier that bees kept in hives. The sound quality isn’t brilliant in places, but the content more than makes up for it.