This course offers complete instruction on keeping honey bees using organic, natural and traditional beekeeping techniques.
Beekeeping 101 was created over the course of a summer in order to capture a full season with the bees including lots of hands-on time in the hive. The course is intended to be a thorough introduction to keeping bees so that upon completion, the student can confidently start their own treatment-free honey bee hive. Taught from a permaculture perspective, this course will teach you a holistic approach to beekeeping that considers the natural ecology of honey bees and agriculture. Jacob's techniques are bee-friendly and bee-centered vs. beekeeper-centered.
Beekeeping 101 covers it all from basic honey bee physiology and biology to extracting honey and preparing your hive for winter. In this course you will learn about different kinds of honey bees and equipment and where to get it. You'll learn about bloom and brood cycles, swarms, hive site placement, queens and re-queening, planning your honey harvest, extracting honey and crushing comb, combining hives and much more. In addition Jacob will share with you his philosophies on feeding only honey and pollen, using locally adapted stock, never using plastic or treatments, mimicking nature's patterns. As this course was filmed over the course of the summer season, lesson topics follow the flow of the season.
This course was filmed over the course of the summer on 5 different days. Each day's topics strays somewhat from the agenda as Jacob addresses student questions.
In this lesson, Jacob talks about the many benefits of the bees. He talks about the pollination services of the bees and the benefits of honey as well as other products from the hive such as bee pollen, beeswax, propolis, and royal jelly.
In this lesson, Jacob discusses different approaches to hive management. He talks about the pros and cons of ‘getting into’ your hive frequently or minimally. Jacob also answers some student questions regarding having a hive in bear country.
This lesson is a continuation of the preceding lesson, Hands on in the Hive I.
In this lesson, Jacob talks about the connection between bloom cycles and honey flow. He talks about some locally significant flowers for honey bees and honey flow. Jacob also shares some thought on ways the ecology of bloom cycles has been disrupted by modern monoculture agriculture and conventional rangeland management.
In this lesson, Jacob sets you up for success when opening up a hive. He talks about how to approach and work around the bees so as not to anger them. He talks about how to do a hive inspection and what to look for. Then Jacob walks you through the process including use of the smoker, taking the top of without crushing bees, pulling out frames and how to recognize capped brood, green brood, honey, nectar and pollen in a frame.
In this lesson, Jacob continues the exploration of the hive. He walks students through opening up a hive, pulling out frames, and inspecting for brood, nectar and honey.
In this lesson, Jacob answers questions about aggressive bees and explains how aggression is tied to genetics. He shares some techniques and behavior that you can employ so as not to anger your bees. He also talks about the behavior and role of drones in the hive. Lastly, Jacob talks about allowing a hive to raise their own queen – rather than buying a queen and introducing it to the hive – and why this is beneficial to the hive.
In this lesson, Jacob introduces the topics he plans to discuss on Day 3: knowing when to harvest honey, queen problems, re-queening, and recognizing nature’s patterns. Day 3 was filmed on July 18, 2015.
In this lesson, Jacob shares his knowledge and experience regarding knowing whether or not to harvest honey. Jacob talks about how much honey bees can produce, how much honey they need to get through the winter, and how to decide whether or not your hive has enough honey to spare some for your own harvest. In addition, Jacob talks about his methods for saving honey in case a hive runs out of honey before the next bloom cycle begins.
In this lesson, Jacob talks about what a ‘problem queen’ is and how to recognize when your hive has one. He introduces the idea of open-mating. He talks about the benefits of open-mating and walks you through naturally re-queening your hive.
This lesson is a continuation of the preceding lesson, Queen Troubles, Open Mating part I
In this lesson, Jacob introduces the concept of small-cell beekeeping. He teaches you what it is and why this method of beekeeping allows for treatment free hives.
This lesson is a continuation of the preceding lesson, Hive Diseases and Treatments part I
This lesson is a continuation of the preceding lesson, Hands on in the Hive I.
This lesson is a continuation of the preceding lesson, Hand on in the Hive III.
In this lesson, Jacob introduces the topics he plans to discuss on Day 4: honey extraction and crushing comb, bottling honey, and working brood down. Day 4 was filmed on August 29, 2015.
In this lesson, Jacob continues inspecting the hive and pulling out frames of honey. He walks students through the process and answers questions as he goes.
In this lesson, students continue harvesting frames of honey from the hive. Jacob talks more about inspecting the hive for health and hardiness including more details on how to distinguish between ripe honey, unripe honey, capped brood, flat brood, and pollen in a frame. He also gets the opportunity to show you the best way to remove a stinger!
In this lesson, Jacob extracts honey from the frames he just pulled out of the hive! He talks a little about equipment and his preferred method for setting it up. Jacob shows you how to prep the frames for extracting, how to load the extractor, and how best to operate the extractor. And then the honey flows! Jacob answers some questions about how to separate the beeswax from the honey.
In this lesson, Jacob continues with honey extraction. He talks some about how to collect and prep beeswax for use. Jacob also answers a number of questions regarding the commercial beekeeping industry and the practice of hauling honey bees to California for almond tree pollination.
This lesson is a continuation of the preceding lesson, Introduction to Day 5 part I.
In this lesson, Jacob talks about how much honey the bees need to get through the winter. He talks about to know if they have enough. Jacob also shares his thoughts on best practices regarding saving honey in frames in case the hive needs more honey at some point during the winter or spring. In addition, Jacob talks extensively about the whys and hows of insulating hives for the winter.
In this lesson, Jacob talks about diseases in the beehive. He shares his philosophies regarding disease and disease treatment. Jacob talks more about going treatment-free through small-cell beekeeping. Jacob answers a number of student questions about disease transfer between hives in the commercial beekeeping industry as well as more details regarding the logistics and business of transporting bees to California for almond tree pollination.
In this lesson, Jacob continues the conversation about small-cell beekeeping. He talks about what it is, why it is beneficial to the hive, how cell-size has evolved industry-wide over the years, and how to regress your hive to a small-cell hive.
This lesson is a continuation of the preceding lesson, Winterizing, Bear Fencing II part I.
In this lesson, Jacob finishes building his bear fence. In addition he offers some tips to ensure your fence works properly.
In the final lesson, Jacob goes over some final things he wanted to cover and answers a number of student questions. He talks about the tools he thinks are the most useful to have around when working the hive. He talks some about where to purchase beekeeping tools and equipment as well as the bees themselves. Jacob answers some student questions about the details of re-queening and letting a hive raise their own queen. He talks about some local beekeeping clubs as resources for beekeepers in Montana. Jacob also answers some student questions about baiting swarms using empty hives.
This lesson is a continuation of the preceding lesson, Concluding Thoughts and Questions part I.
Jacob Wustner is a second-generation beekeeper from Missoula, MT. He operates Sapphire Apiaries in Stevensville, MT where he produces honey bee products, produce, and mushrooms using the highest principles of Permaculture. Jacob keeps honey bees using natural farming methods such as selecting for disease resistance, raising naturally-mated queens, and only feeding honey.
The mission at Sapphire Apiaries is to “cultivate fruit and nut trees and shrubs, edible and medicinal mushrooms, nutrient dense polyculture produce, pastured poultry and pork, and harvest the purest comb honey from hardy, disease-resistant honey bees.”
Jacob has amassed an amazing breadth and depth of knowledge regarding keeping honeybees. He grew up within the commercial, conventional beekeeping industry; later ventured into organic beekeeping with his brother at Wustner Brothers Honey; then recently launched into a Permaculture approach to keeping honey bees with Sapphire Apiaries. His knowledge of ecology and Permaculture allows him to teach from a holistic perspective that is very informative, very interesting, and very helpful when it comes to understanding honey bees.