OUR TEACHING APIARY
What is better than one beehive? Several beehives, of course!
Our multi-purpose teaching apiary was initially established in 2012 on 7 acres between Austin and Dripping Springs, starting with a single Waré hive.
Today, it is located at VISTA BREWING in the beautiful Texan Hill Country, and features a broad mix of hive styles thriving without the use of any pesticides as treatments, for a truly unique configuration and breadth of llearning experience in sustainable beekeeping and modern beekeeping options in Central Texas; giving our students a better, more educated understanding of the pros and cons of each option considering your own goals. We believe everyone has a different goal and beekeeping style, and insist on teaching about not just Langstroth of Top-Bar Hives as the only options available to you. Take a look at our Teaching Hive styles below for more details!
The Bee Mindful Teaching Apiary helps us meet the increasing demand for Natural Beekeeping courses, as well as the need to increase the number of locally bred, survivor bees: situated in the heart of Texas, it is used for practical, hands-on training from April onwards to supplement the theoretical courses which may start earlier in the year.
Thanks to its unique variety and breath of offering, the Bee Mindful apiary addresses the need for new and intermediate beekeepers to be able to handle and visually assess bees and their comb from various beehive configurations, offering them the invaluable opportunity of both theoretical and practical training.
We are mindful to keep our programs affordable, and offer a sliding scale as a way to give back to our community (ask us for more details).
The apiary also serves as a teaching/ demonstration apiary for the Hays County Beekeepers Association members, and as a facility for the many individuals attending our programs to become familiar with bee stewardship.
As a side benefit, the apiary provides a much-needed facility for collecting swarms and colonies rescued from various infrastructure: feel free to contact us as a refuge for rescued colonies as we will make sure to give them a good, mindful and healthy home: (512) 699-0605.
The precious honey harvest (collected only when the bees have produced a surplus) is sold in the shop, with the understanding that established hives are not fed sugar syrup, and no colonies are ever treated with pesticides, as is common in most beekeeping operations: our goal is truly to have naturally healthy and resilient bees, while making sure their (and our) honey is not ever tainted with in-hive chemical treatments like it is too often the case.
There has been an upsurge of interest in beekeeping in recent years due to publicity about the bees’ contribution to the environment and the threat to bee stocks caused by pests and diseases, a sign that pesticides, fungicides, neonicotinoids, climate change and lack of forage are taking a significant toll on on our beloved bees. To help improve the plight of all pollinators, the Bee Mindful teaching apiary helps to raise awareness of the role bees play in our everyday lives and the natural environment. Teaching a higher standard, mindful style of beekeeping also aims at providing a broad range of benefits to hobbyists, urban beekeepers, farmers as well as honey producers of all backgrounds. Classes are taught in English, Spanish or French, to adults or children 10+.
OUR TEACHING HIVES
Long Lang Hives
Horizontal Top-Bar Hives
We prefer using horizontal Top-Bar Hives for a more natural approach and so the bees have plenty of natural comb to grow onto. As a nice side benefit, they are easy to work for people of all ages and physical ability, which makes them a great tool to keep bees mindfully. Nothing heavy to lift, no bulky equipment to store, less complexity and less stress for the bees makes for happier bees and happier beekeepers.
A horizontal top-bar hive is a single-story, frameless beehive in which the natural comb hangs directly from removable bars and the bars form a continuous roof over the comb. Top-bar hives usually include one box only, and allow for beekeeping methods that interfere very little with the colony.
Initially designed in Ancient Greece, the modern version of those hives have been around for amost 60 years. They are the main ones used in Africa because of their ease of use and cost effectiveness, and are great for backyard beekeepers.
Vertical Langstroth Hives
We also use modern Langstroth Hives, mostly for rescues and teaching purposes. We prefer to use no foundation with these, for a more natural environment for the bees, but will use both foundation and foundation-less for teaching purposes.
A Langstroth hive is a vertically modular beehive that has vertically hung frames, a bottom board with entrance for the bees, boxes containing frames for brood and honey, and an inner cover and top cap to provide weather protection. This type of hive was first patented in 1852.
We also have a couple of Warré Hives for education purposes and for a most natural approach to beekeeping. Invented in 1948 as the People's Hive by Mr. Warré. The goal was to create a hive that was as close to the natural conditions for the bees while remaining practical for the beekeeper. It was also designed to be built economically by anyone with simple tools It features top bars and natural comb in a thicker, better insulated vertical configuration of boxes with a quilt box and special roof for maximum insulation, reproducing as much as possible what happens in a tree log.
We are bringing more Long Langstroth Hives, Layens hives and Flow-Hives to our apiaries, again for comparison and education purposes. Stay tuned!
Planting native trees, shrubs and wildflowers and avoiding the use of pesticides and fungicides on all our plants and crops are two critical components of how everyone can help our bees today. We are doing our part at the honey farm by planting for nutrition and extended foraging season, as well as transforming the land into a wildlife refuge with the help of the State of Texas guidelines.