Posted: 07/06/2015 at 17:19
It's something I'm thinking about Jo47.
I would keep the bees mainly to provide them with a warm & safe home and, hopefully, to fill my garden with pollinators. I would not be looking to produce honey (I'm not that fond of the stuff) & would leave it for the bees to feed on over the winter. I would not be looking to disturb the hive / smoke the bees / remove queen bee cells / clip the queen bee's wings - or do anything else to disturb their natural cycle. They would be allowed to grow their honeycombs in a natural way - downwards (I think). Monty mentioned a 'top bar hive' so I imagine that is intended to be a more natural hive.
I live out in the sticks and swarming (part of the natural bee cycle for producing new colonies) would not be a problem here (lots of trees etc around for them to make new homes in). Swarming is much more of a problem for urban bee keepers where they are highly likely to come into contact with people and their houses. There has been a bit of press coverage about that recently - not good for bees to be getting a bad press...
I've done a bit of research - loads more to do before I make decision. Quite a bit on the internet if you Google 'natural bee keeping' or similar.
Are you thinking about it too Jo?