Thursday, September 03, 2009

Friends of the Bees launched

Those of you who have been visiting the Natural Beekeeping Network site at will know that a new charity has been formed to help protect the interests of bees, and to promote more natural beekeeping methods.

We are pleased to announce our official launch today, and invite you to visit our website at Friends of the Bees

Friends of the Bees is a new, UK-based charity founded to conserve and protect bees, to educate people about bees and to research and promote more natural beekeeping methods.

Friends of the Bees was inspired by the Natural Beekeeping Network – a growing, worldwide movement of over 1500 beekeepers in 160 countries who are developing more natural ways to look after their bees. Nearly half the membership is in the UK.

Many of these beekeepers started down the path of 'natural beekeeping' after reading The Barefoot Beekeeper, a book written by Friends of the Bees director Phil Chandler.

He says, "The recent stories of honeybees being in decline have made many beekeepers look more critically at the way they treat their bees. We don't want to have to medicate them or put synthetic chemicals into our hives – it goes against all our instincts and detracts from the public's perception of honey as a natural, unadulterated product."

"We are working with the Soil Association to match organic farmers with local, natural beekeepers, so farmers will have the benefit of bees on their land, and the bees will have the benefit of the greater biodiversity found on organic farms."

"Where we differ from traditional beekeepers is that we are less concerned with honey yields and more with the wider implications of helping to maintain a valuable species in the best possible health. You cannot do that by making them dependent on drugs."

Friends of the Bees is a way that everyone can become involved with bees – and not just honeybees, but also the other native species, including bumblebees and mason bees, which are also very important pollinators.

"We expect to be promoting the work of other organizations working along similar lines, such as Bees for Development, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and the Global Bee Project, who have all expressed support for our aims. Co-operation is important if we are to make a real impact."

Natural beekeeping events and courses will be available from spring 2010 in a number of locations, starting with Embercombe in Devon.

Please help us make this a big success by becoming a Friend of the Bees for as little as £1 per month - please see our website for details.

You are also welcome to print and distribute - or better still, pass around by email - the introductory leaflet here

Thank you for your help and support!
Phil Chandler


Susan Humeston said...

Just a quick note. I live in urban South Florida and have a relatively small back yard. However, in one back corner is a natural honeybee nest. The bees found an empty gourd from North Carolina that we had hung in a tree to attract nesting birds. The bees liked it and proceeded to build on the OUTSIDE of it. They have incorporated branches of the bush into the honeycombs, and have built many combs hanging from the gourd. We have had this bee "hive" for over 4 months now and have no plans to disturb them. We can mow our lawn and even trim bushes next to their nest - and they are not bothered by our presence. Just thought you'd like to know that there are still honeybees in the wild that are welcomed and protected.

Unknown said...

hi, can't find contact details on your blog but I was wondering if you might link to my beehive micro business in the peak district. the address is thanks and sorry for posting in the comments.

Unknown said...


I'm an urban beekeeper in Seattle, Washington USA. I just stumbled upon the "Barefoot Beekeeper" book today (and purchased it), as well as this blog. I'm very inspired to hear about the launch of Friends of the Bees. I'm on the board of a non-profit that educates people to garden organically, conserve natural resources, and produce their own food in small urban spaces. We just started offering beekeeping classes. I look foward to learning more from your site and book and promoting natural beekeeping in my community. Thank you for sharing all this great information!

The Barefoot Beekeeper said...

Thanks for your comments.

If you want to make contact with other beekeepers in your area, or just want advice about natural beekeeping, use our free forum at

Deb said...

I am a beekeeper from Southern Ontario (in Canada) and was just wondering what "natural" beekeeping does to prevent Foul Brood. Or do you not have this problem in the U.K.?

The Barefoot Beekeeper said...

We do have both AFB and EFB in the UK, but both seem to have declined somewhat recently. Whether that is due to bee inspectors being over-worked and not able to check everyone's hives, or a genuine decline, I have no way of knowing.

As a general principle, the 'natural beekeeper' focuses on maintaining healthy bees, rather than on using prophylactic 'treatments' - in the same way that you might focus on eating healthily and avoiding chemicals in your diet rather than consuming medications on the offchance of getting sick.

Anonymous said...

This is wonderful. I am excited to have been passed on this website.I am in the West Kootenays,Canada.In the mountains,forest and living with bears as my neighbours.I hope to get some hives in the spring.And I will check out the Natural Bee keeping website. And I will look for your book as well.You know, I think I just may become a barefoot beekeeper my self. I love those little fellows..Thank you for your dedtcation.

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