Bentley Gold is devoted to developing a new beehive and management system for the benefit of the Bees and the Beekeeper.
This is a website under development please either read "The Bentley hive story" or follow our news on the Facebook link above.
The Bentley Hive Story (so far)!
Why am i writing this?
Having kept bees as a hobby for many years I have been inspired and motivated by recent good and bad developments in the beekeeping world to devote my knowledge and skills to creating a new modern way of keeping bees and enjoying the fascinating world of the honey bee.
My primary aims are to make it easier for the beekeeper and less disruptive for the bees.
Over many years I have researched and learned from beekeeping methods and equipment from all over the world and have used the knowledge I have gained to create the Bentley Hive and The Bentley system of beekeeping.
Chapter 1: Honey Bees and Humans.
Honey Bees have lived on earth far longer than humans. They were here when dinosaurs roamed the planet. They survive by collecting and storing plant pollen and nectar mainly from flowers and trees this forms the bulk of their dietary needs and the stored food will help them survive when no forage is available. Many tasks are performed by the bees dependant on their age, housekeeping, feeding young, attending to the queen, guarding and foraging. Honey bees can not survive alone for more than a few hours, they are each a small part of a colony of thousands that administers to a single queen bee who also could not survive alone.
Bees are a true super-organism!
Honey bees in their natural environment are pretty versatile in where they choose to live, they prefer to be above ground and anything from hollow tree or a sheltered crevice in a cliff face will often suffice. They will build multiple wax combs within their chosen home and use this for everything from rearing new bees to storing food reserves.
The natural way bees propagate is by swarming. If the bee colony is strong in numbers and healthy and food is bountiful the colony will produce new queens. Shortly before the new virgin queen emerges from her wax cell, the reigning queen will depart the hive with thousands of her followers, this is a swarm. She rarely flies far but will settle on a nearby perch and wait, this is a signal for the scout bees (female) to go in search of a suitable new home. The rest of her entourage will gather around her in a swarm cluster. Once a suitable location is found the queen and cluster will follow the scout bees to their new home.
Meanwhile back in the old nest the newly hatched queen will be fed and groomed by the remaining house bees (female) in readiness for her mating flights, when she has successfully mated she will return to the hive to start laying eggs, laying up to 2000 eggs per day she will soon become the mother of all, she will not leave again until the colony decides again to make a new queen.
Humans have lived on this planet for a mere 6 million years compared to bees of over 100 million, however with our insatiable curiosity and ability to change the environment to suit ourselves we have become the dominant species and biggest threat to all life on earth! We have meddled with evolution and natural selection (survival of the fittest) and in all probability we are even changing the very atmosphere all life needs to survive! We are also slowly waking up to the fact that globally because of our proliferation we have taken control of the natural world and all its abundant life. It is within our power, indeed it is our duty now to carefully manage our world rather than destroy it!
To use a thought provoking quote "I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road." Stephen Hawking
We humans are hunter gatherers and have robbed bees of their food for many thousands of years, just as we have robbed birds of their eggs and trees of their fruits. It is only relatively recently that we have learnt to intensively farm honey bees.
In 1852 Rev Langstroth, USA patented his design of suspended wooden frames "for the wax comb that the bees build" suspended in vertically stacked boxes. He did this after many years of taking observations and critical dimensions of honey bee colonies. As I see it this in essence was the start of intensive bee farming and the vast majority of beehives in use today are based on Rev Langstroth's design. Here in England we commonly use the "UK national" which follows the same principle but non critical dimensions differ from the Langstroth hive.
As bee farmers we still take their honey but we now do our best to ensure the bees survive and prosper with us so that we can enjoy the fruits of their labours year on year! As a result of our successful farming of bees we have probably vastly increased the worlds honey bee population. Because of the intensive nature of bee farming and global trade in bees we humans have also managed yet again to break natures rule of natural selection! I am not saying this is a bad thing I am however saying as beekeepers we have to manage the bees in our care to the best of our understanding and ability.