We are located in a village in the south of the Bergisches Land (North Rhine-Westphalia) in Much. Our region is surrounded by the water protection area of the Wahnbach, which flows into the river Sieg and into the Rhine near Bonn. We consider ourselves very lucky to be able to experience an amazing amount of biodiversity in fauna and flora around us. Our currently 110 bee hives, which we have set up for our CrowdFarmers, are located at several carefully selected sites around the village of Much-Roßhohn. Due to the mountainous relief of our area, the elevation difference of the apiaries at the largest scale is about 200 meters.
The welfare of the bees is a matter of the heart for us, therefore we reject stressful migrations with the bee colonies for the purpose of maximising yields or the unnatural feeding of sugar for the winter. Instead, we take only the portion of honey produced by the bees in excess of their needs. If the winter lasts longer, we give the bees their honey back. For this purpose, we keep a winter reserve at all times.
We run organically certified beekeeping and dedicate the proceeds to the protection of wild bees: We actively organise regular project weeks with children from our local primary schools - here we can rely on two teachers who are active in beekeeping. We let the children actively experience our honeybee stand in order to arouse their interest in the wild bees worthy of protection. In addition, during the project week, each child makes its own wild bee nest aid from a kit. All costs incurred within the framework of the project are covered by us.
As a registered association (e.V.) we are committed to our self-defined goals. In our statutes the promotion of nature conservation, landscape conservation, animal protection with special consideration of bees as well as all insects of the hymenoptera family and the advocacy for the interests of environmental protection including educational and research work in the mentioned areas are stipulated.
Although I am the only permanent employee, when there is a lot to do in the apiary I can always rely on the help of all my family and friends. Without my hard-working helpers Dirk, Dolfi, Calvin, Bertil, Jana, Donka and Hermine the apiary would not be complete. We organise the work on the bee colonies after the so-called bee year:
In winter we prepare our materials and especially the recycled wax. We have a closed wax cycle with our own preparation and mid-wall press and actively recycle the wax produced by our bees. The beehives are also renovated in winter, if necessary. As we do not feed sugar, we pay special attention to the supply of the colonies in winter by weighing them regularly. This method is very gentle for the bees, as the bee house does not have to be opened for this. If there is not enough honey in a colony, which has never happened before, we give some back to the bees from the reserve.
Spring is the time of abundance for the bees, a lot of nectar and pollen is flown home. Here we make sure that the colonies can live out their swarm instinct by placing swarm cells together with some bees in new bee houses. This way the colonies multiply. At the end of spring and summer we harvest the honey of our bees. We make sure that there is always enough honey left to supply the colony and we plan this in advance with regard to the amount of honey for your adoption.
At the end of the summer, we ensure that the bees can hibernate and feed on fresh honeycombs. To do this, we remove old honeycombs - already abandoned by the bees - and replace them with recycled beeswax of our own. This process is carried out as a closed wax cycle. To reduce the varroa mite - a parasite up to 1.6 mm in size that attacks the bees and transmits dangerous viruses - we use only organic acid (formic acid) at the end of the summer. Unfortunately, the colonies can hardly survive the winter without this treatment. In autumn the cycle closes and starts all over again.