Welcome to Oak Orchard Honey

We are a small beekeeping operation a short bike ride from the shore of Lake Ontario. Our hives are located in the heart of an old growth apple orchard planted by Ed Archbald back in the 1920s. A variety of apple trees were planted nearby in the 1990s that our bees visit, and we also have enough meadow with wild flowers to supply them with nectar and pollen through much of the season.

We are in the process of collectin feral bees and regressing our present bees back to the cell size of 4.9 mm. Cell size has been artificially increased since 1890s, and some members of the beekeeping community attribute many of today's bee health problems with this increased cell size.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Aristotle and the Honey Bee

Seems Aristotle lived from 384-322 B.C., and he is pretty much considered to be one of the greatest thinkers of the ancient world. He had a the cool job of educating the son of Philip, King of Macedon the famous Alexander.  Aristotle maintained a very close relationship with Alexander the Great and was in position to study much of what existed in Alexander’s Greek empire, along with the art of beekeeping.

A collection of his writings on the subject can be found at http://www.beeclass.com/DTS/aristotle_on_bees.htm

One interesting observation mentioned in Aristotle's writing is the use of Thyme:
...there is another disease, which is like a wildness in the bees, and causes a strong smell in the hives.  The bees should be fed on thyme, the white sort is better than the red.  They suffer the most when they work with materials affected with the rust.

Aristotle's remarks on drones is interesting. I wonder if they teach this at business school today?:
The drone is another sort: it is the largest of them all, has no sting, and is stupid. It is good for the bees to have a few drones among them, for it makes them more industrious.